Strong first quarter not enough against No. 18 Wildcats

Story by Gage Johnson

Senior writer

gjohnson17@murraystate.edu

In spite of a spectacular performance from junior forward Evelyn Adebayo, Murray State’s women’s basketball team couldn’t quite slay the No. 17 University of Kentucky Wildcats.

The Racers came charging out of the gates, looking to go toe-to-toe with the Wildcats. After one quarter of play Murray State had done just that, with the score knotted up at 20 thanks to a 5-for-6 shooting performance from junior forward Evelyn Adebayo. Adebayo would end the game a rebound shy of a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds.

For the second game in a row, a rough second quarter stint would come back to haunt the Racers. UK would go on an 18-3 run to outscore Murray State 22-8 in the second quarter, thus taking a 42-28 lead into the locker room.

Head Coach Rechelle Turner attributed turnovers to being a big part of their offensive struggles, as the Racers had 18 going into the second half.

“In the first half we had 18 turnovers and they got 18 points off of it,” Turner said in her post-game radio comments. “Some of it is because of their pressure and length, but some of it’s unforced, and that’s just not mentally being tagged in on what we’re trying to do. We’ve got to find a way to get more possessions.”

From there on it would be all Wildcats. UK controlled the game on both ends of the floor outscoring the Racers 46-21 in the second half to claim an 88-49 victory.

The Wildcats showed just why they are one of the top 25 teams in the country, shooting just over 50 percent from the field with 10-for-21 shooting from beyond the arch. UK would also turn 27 turnovers into 25 points throughout the game.

Turner believes Murray State has yet to hit its peak and is excited for the challenge of taking on the University of Tennessee. Despite the inevitable outcomes, she hopes that these two tough contests will be confidence boosters and help her team grow going into its opening conference game on Jan. 3.

“We’re in a process right now,” Turner said. “In the long run it’s going to make us a better program. Getting a new locker room and helping our facilities for our locker room and helping our players feel ownership in our program is part of the process. So if we have to take some losses along the way then so be it.”

The Racers will now have a week to rest before heading to Knoxville, Tennessee, to take on the No. 9 Volunteers at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 28, at the Thompson-Boling Arena.

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