By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
A 12-2 run late in the first half propelled the Lady Colonels (9-6, 3-1 OVC) to a convincing 62-52 win over rival Morehead State (5-12, 1-2 OVC) Saturday in McBrayer Arena.
Senior Jade Barber was a one-woman wrecking crew, dominating the Lady Eagles, scoring 21 points and pulling down 19 rebounds.
Barber almost had her seventh double-double of the season in the first half, scoring 12 points and grabbing nine rebounds before halftime.
Fellow senior Brittany Coles had 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while junior Marie Carpenter also finished in double figures with 10 points.
EKU trailed most of the first half before Carpenter tied the game at 22 with a three-pointer with 5:31 to go before halftime. The three was the second of three consecutive threes in the midst of the decisive first-half run.
After the slow start in which they missed their first five shots, the Lady Colonels continued their hot shooting to begin the second half.
Coles hit two more three pointers and a short jumper in the lane and Barber scored in the paint as the Lady Colonels outscored the Lady Eagles 10-4 to build their lead to 43-30 to open the half.
EKU maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half before Morehead made a late run to cut the lead to five at 59-54, but the Lady Colonels were a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw lane down the stretch to seal the win.
EKU coach Chrissy Roberts said she knew her team could play through the slow start.
“I have a lot of confidence in this team and I knew that once we settled down our shots would start to fall,” Roberts said. “Even when they made that run, just hearing our kids on the sideline saying, ‘We’ve got this, we’re OK, lets just settle down and focus.’ And that is just what they did.”
Barber, who had six points during an 8-0 Colonel run that gave them a short-lived 12-11 lead, said it took the team a little while to settle down.
“Coach Roberts told us during the early timeout to just keep shooting because the shots would begin to fall and to just keep playing hard,” Barber said. “We were getting shots they just wouldn’t fall. I don’t know if it was just nerves because it was a rivalry game or what. But she was just encouraging us and we finally settled down and started hitting.”
The Lady Colonels dominated the scoring in the paint and also outrebounded the Lady Eagles 45-33. They also had 17 assists in the game, a statistic that brought a smile to Roberts’ face.
“I’m extremely proud of our team’s effort. We made hustle plays tonight and got big rebounds down the stretch that we needed. Anytime you can get those 50-50 balls and go after the boards and protect the basketball, your chances are pretty good,” Roberts said. “Seventeen assists is huge. You always want to set your teammates up to be successful and our guards did that tonight. We are looking out for each other m ore.”
Alex Jones had seven points, six rebounds and two assists, while Raechelle Gray added six points, six assists and two steals, and Pilar Walker had two points.
The Lady Colonels return to action Saturday at Jacksonville State.