By Bob Flynn
Register Sports Writer
Marie Carpenter was simply on fire for the Lady Colonels Thursday.
The senior matched a single-game school record, draining nine three pointers on her way to 41 points in EKU’s (2-1) 89-69 win over Alabama A&M (0-2) in McBrayer Arena.
The effort was three points shy of the all-time EKU single-game scoring record of 44 points set by Kim Mays in 1994 against Western Michigan.
A humble Carpenter credited her teammates for her big night.
“I wouldn’t have been able to make those shots without my teammates, so I’ve got to give credit to them,” Carpenter said. “They were the ones who saw I was open and they got me the ball in the open court and in transition they found me.”
Lady Colonels coach Chrissy Roberts said it was a very unselfish 41-point performance by her senior captain.
“Marie is very a unselfish player. She is just playing under control and taking what the defense gives her and she’s playing relaxed,” Roberts said. “The result is 41 points, but you also have other players with eight and 12 points and we had 21 assists in the game so we were sharing the ball as well.”
Thanks to some smothering defense and Carpenter’s outside shooting, the Lady Colonels overcame a slow start to blitz the Lady Bulldogs, going on a 24-0 run after a Roberts timeout.
EKU trailed 13-8 six minutes into the game when Carpenter scored eight-straight points in just more than a minute to put the Lady Colonels on top 16-13.
Freshmen Nicole Bowers and Michaela Hunter came off the bench to jump-start the defense, which held the Lady Bulldogs scoreless for more than eight minutes as the Lady Colonels built a 32-13 lead.
After Carpenter’s quick scoring outburst, the Lady Bulldogs put a chaser on her to try and slow her down. Instead of trying to force the issue, Carpenter just dished the ball off to open teammates as EKU built a 45-28 halftime advantage.
The start of the second half was more of the same as the Lady Colonels extended their lead to 59-41 before Carpenter got on the board for the first time with her seventh three pointer of the game eight minutes into the half.
EKU led by as many as 23 points and never let A&M get closer than 17 the rest of the way.
Carpenter said she has a lot of confidence in her teammates so she doesn’t have to force the issue when teams key on her defensively.
“We’re going to see that all year. A lot of teams are going to face guard me and try not to give me any open looks. When they do that there is no weak-side help so I just move back and pull that player out and the lane is wide open for my teammates,” Carpenter said.
While Carpenter was the offensive story of the game, she got plenty of help from her teammates. Miranda Maples scored a career-high 12 points, pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, had one assist and one blocked shot, most from in the paint thanks to the space afforded by Carpenter’s play on the outside.
Shelly Harper finished with eight points, six rebounds and a block, Jasmine Stafford had seven points, seven rebounds and three assists, while Pilar Walker finished with six points, six rebounds and six assists and freshman Mariah Massengill had six points, four assists and two steals.
“Miranda Maples is another player who has slowed down and relaxed. I can’t say enough about these players. The kid brings it every day in practice. She works extremely hard, she works on her shot and her game and the result is a nice 12-point effort tonight,” Roberts said.
Carpenter said she was told she was in reach of the record, but not getting it was no big deal because the team winning was the most important thing.
“Breaking records and tying records is all good, but at the end of the day I’m just appreciative that the team got the win. That’s what’s most important for me,” she said. “I had a couple of good looks at the end, but I just didn’t make it. I just wasn’t in God’s favor tonight for me to break it.”
The Lady Colonels will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Asheville N.C. to take on UNC-Asheville in a 7 p.m. game.