Ky. - Murray State
withstood Saint Louis' strong second-half comeback attempt and defeated the
Billikens 78-64 Saturday night at Murray State's CFSB Center.
"We knew this was a dangerous game," head coach Shimmy
Gray-Miller said. "It's extremely difficult to beat a team twice in a row,
especially a team like Murray State. They're dangerous because they take a lot
of shots and try to force a lot of turnovers.
"When Murray State isn't making shots, they're
beatable," Gray-Miller said. "When they are making shots, they're very hard to
beat. Tonight, they made shots when they needed them."
Webb scored 20
points, including a team-season-high four 3-pointers (4-of-6), to lead the
offensive effort for Saint Louis (2-5). Janisha Gearlds netted a season-high
14 points, including 10 in the second half, while Lorreal Jones recorded
her second double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high 11
rebounds, including four on the offensive glass.
"I continue to be impressed with Lorreal Jones,"
Gray-Miller said. "She continues to play with heart, toughness and a
willingness to do whatever the team needs. She brings a passion and energy to
the floor that at some point need to become contagious to her teammates.
"I also continue to be impressed with the job Pooh
Gearlds is doing," Gray-Miller said. "She is playing like a senior and giving
Murray State (3-5), which fell 59-49 to Saint Louis
last Saturday at Chaifetz Arena, got game highs of 21 points and four steals
from Erica Burgess. Mariah Robinson had 14 points and nine rebounds, Kayla Lowe
contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, and Tessa Elkins tossed in 12 points
to go with a game-high four assists.
The Billikens edged the Racers 47-45 on the boards,
giving SLU the rebounding advantage for a seventh time in seven games this
season. Webb grabbed a season-high seven, Desirae Ball had a career-high
six and Gearlds tied her season high with five.
Trailing 51-39, the Billikens put together a 14-5
run that made it a one-possession game. Gearlds banked in a 3-pointer, and Webb
got a kind bounce on a trey of her own. Webb's driving layup narrowed the
Murray State lead to 51-47.
After a bucket and two free throws by Burgess gave
the Racers a 55-48 advantage, Ball put back an offensive rebound for a basket,
and Gearlds made a free throw followed by a strong driving layup to whittle the
MSU lead to 56-53.
Unfortunately, that was as close as the Bills would
get as Murray State scored on five of its next seven possessions to pull out to
a 66-55 advantage. SLU scored five straight points to make it a 66-60 game with
2:06 left, but Robinson collected a loose ball and hit a 3-pointer to
re-establish control for the Racers.
The Billikens jumped out to a 12-4 lead with the
help of five early points from Webb, who scored 15 in the opening period, but a
10-0 run gave Murray State a 14-12 edge. After Webb's long 2-pointer knotted
the score at 14, Robinson's driving layup gave the Racers the lead for good and
sparked a 7-0 spurt that put the hosts on top 21-14.
Murray State expanded the lead to 30-18 before a
12-4 Saint Louis flurry narrowed the lead to 34-30. Gearlds ignited the run
with two free throws, and Webb hit a jumper in the lane. Jones recorded a
three-point play and followed with two free throws to make it 34-27, and Webb
punctuated the spurt with a trey from the right wing. However, Murray State
tallied a driving layup and a 3-pointer on its final two possessions to take a
39-30 advantage to the locker room.
Saint Louis stays on the road to take on Wisconsin
Monday, Dec. 5. Tip time at the Kohl Center is 7 p.m.
"You will see a
refocused Billiken squad Monday night against Wisconsin," Gray-Miller said.
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