By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
The Lady Colonels picked up their first road win of the year Monday with a 69-49 wire-to-wire blowout of Murray State in their Ohio Valley Conference opener.
Big runs at the beginning and the end and strong defense throughout the contest allowed the Lady Colonels (7-5, 1-0 OVC) to win going away.
EKU scored the first seven points and 14 of the first 16 points of the game to take control early and withstood a Murray State run to take a 30-24 cushion into the half.
After the Lady Colonels built their lead back to 12 in the second half, the Lady Racers (7-5, 0-1) made one more run to cut the lead to 50-43 with 7:36 remaining, but the Lady Colonels went on a 19-6 run at the end to seal the victory.
“It was just an overall team effort from top to bottom,” EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said in a radio interview. “Defensively, we held a very good offensive team to 49 points. Coming in they were averaging 70. We stayed strong defensively from top to bottom. That’s where it started and that’s where it ended.”
EKU got strong performances from several players in the game and scoring from nine players.
Raechele Gray had 13 points, on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 three-pointers, two assists and two steals.
Brittany Coles and Alex Jones also had 13 points each. Coles also pulled down four rebounds and handed out a career-high seven assists. Jones also had four rebounds.
Jade Barber collected her 16th career double-double with 12 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, two assists, three steals and four blocks and was a disruptive force for the Racer offense all night.
Roberts said she was especially pleased with the Lady Colonels’ 15 assists in the game, which led to a lot of open shots.
“Fifteen assists are big. That’s looking out for each other. I was impressed and I’m pleased,” Roberts said. “We made some great reads in our offense and I’m proud right now of the overall team effort and our looking out for each other, not just on the offensive end, but on the defensive end as well.”
The swarming Lady Colonel defense held the Lady Racers to just 11.1 percent shooting from the three-point line in the first half, with the only three coming in the final two minutes.
On the other end EKU hit 4-of-8 threes in the half, with Bryant and Gray getting one each and Coles hitting two.
Eight players scored for the Lady Colonels in the first half, including Marie Carpenter, who saw her first action since breaking her hand in the first game of the year. Carpenter played 11 minutes and had two points.
Jasmine Henshaw and Miranda Maples also had two points each off the bench and LaRa’e Allen had three points.
The Lady Colonels finished the game shooting 48.3 percent from the field and 47.1 percent from behind the three-point line.
They held The Lady Racers to 32.1 percent shooting from the field and 26.3 percent from behind the arc. EKU outrebounded Murray State 37-34 and committed 22 turnovers while forcing the Lady Racers into 25 turnovers.
The Lady Colonels return home for the next three contests beginning with a 4 p.m. game against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday.
Roberts said it was nice to get that first OVC win under their belts, but the Lady Colonels know there’s still a tough road ahead in the conference.
“This one was good. But we’ve just got to maintain our focus and know that night-in and night-out it is going to be tough and it’s going to be a battle,” Roberts said. “We’ve got to stay together as a team and continue to work hard and everything else will take care of itself.”