Special to the Register
Four players scored in double figures as No. 5 seed EKU pulled away late to defeat No. 8 seed Murray State, 62-51, in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tourn-ament on Wednesday in Nashville.
With the win, EKU (18-10) advances to play the No. 4 seed UT Martin (16-14) at 1 p.m. today.
Senior LaRa`e Allen led the Lady Colonels with 13 points and eight rebounds, while senior Alex Jones notched her 13th double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.
In doing so, Jones broke the career rebound record at EKU, passing Laphelia Doss (1994-98) to reach No. 1 on the all-time list (1,033).
It was also Jones’s 37th career double-double, meaning she is one double-double shy of tying Doss for the EKU career record in that category.
Senior point guard Raechele Gray also had a big game, bouncing back from a rough outing in the season-finale against Tennessee State to finish with 12 points, eight assists and only one turnover. Junior Marie Carpenter scored 11 points, marking her 10th consecutive game in double-figures.
EKU committed a season-low 10 turnovers in the win.
The Lady Colonels’ stifling defense was also on display as they held Murray State to just 25 percent shooting (15-of-61) from the field and 24 percent shooting (5-of-21) from behind the arc.
Murray State led for much of the first 20 minutes, but EKU went on a 10-3 run to close the first half and a jumper at the buzzer by Jones sent the Lady Colonels into the locker room at halftime up by four, 29-25.
Eastern limited Murray State to just one-of-10 shooting to close the first half.
The Racers, however, battled back and took the lead, 36-34, when Mariah Robinson went in for a layup with 14:09 remaining in the game. From there, the game went back-and-forth until EKU used a 10-2 run to take a comfortable 56-47 advantage with just over a minute to play.
The Lady Colonels converted six-of-six free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.
It is EKU’s second postseason win in as many years. The Lady Colonels upended Tennessee State, 70-55, in the first round of last year’s OVC Tournament.
UT Martin defeated EKU, 75-60, in their only matchup during the regular season in Martin.