Tech women hang tough but fall to league-leading Lady Racers

MURRAY, Ky. – Murray State shot lights-out on its home floor and the first-place Lady Racers needed every basket to withstand a sensational effort by Tennessee Tech Thursday night, downing the Golden Eagle women 91-84 in Ohio Valley Conference play in the Regional Special Events Center.

Tech had just four turnovers in the first half and six in the game, and the Golden Eagles hung tough with the league leaders, getting within five points in the final minute, but Murray State (16-6/11-1 OVC) had too many weapons.

Ashley Haynes played all 40 minutes and led the way with a 31-point, 17-rebound double-double, going 12-for-19 from the field. Amber Guffey added 18 points and six assists and Paige Guffey had 17 points and six rebounds.

The Golden Eagles (6-19/4-10) got extremely balanced scoring in their bid to win three straight. Vivian Nwosu topped Amy Brown’s squad with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Jasmine White added 14 points and nine rebounds. Meagan Lyons and Blair Bowens each scored 12, Krystal Stirrup 11 and Allison Price nine points with six assists.

Price played 34 minutes without any turnovers, and has now played the last 109 minutes with just one turnover.

Murray State shot 52.3 percent for the game, including 50 percent (9-for-18) from long range. The Racers took advantage of that dead-on shooting, including 63.3 percent in the second half, to overcome a Tech squad that protected the basketball and just kept fighting back. The Golden Eagles shot 38.5 percent and finished the contest with a season-low six turnovers.

Rebounds were virtually even (43-40 for MSU). The Lady Racers had a nine-point advantage at the free throw line, going 24-for-30 (80 percent) compared with 15-for-22 (69 percent) by Tech.

The Golden Eagles came to do business, and cashed in early with a quick 8-2 lead just two minutes into the contest. The Lady Racers returned the favor and tied things up, then went on to take a four-point lead. Murray State held four-point leads three times, before Tech managed an 8-1 run to regain the lead.

A jumper by Ashley Hayes at the 4:49 mark pushed Murray ahead by five, 32-27. The largest MSU lead of the first half was seven points, before freshman Rachel Glidden scored the final five points of the half for the Golden Eagles to cut the deficit to three points at halftime, 41-38.

Paige Guffey opened the second half with the first basket and Hayes hit a 3-pointer to bump the MSU lead back to eight points, 46-38. With 13 minutes to play, the lead grew to 13 points on a 3-pointer by Amber Guffey, 61-48.

With MSU up by 10 with 5:21 remaining, the two teams slugged their way through nearly two minutes of scoreless ball before Hayes hit two free throws with 3:45 left to make it an 85-73 margin. A free throw by Angela Mullins made it a 13-point lead with 2:46 to play.

Tech scored the next six at the free throw line, two each by Nwosu, White and Lyons, and pulled to within seven, 86-79, with 1:38 to go. After Hayes hit one free throw, Nwosu made a layup to slice the MSU lead to just six points with 41 seconds remaining.

A 3-pointer by Bowens with 24 ticks on the clock made it 89-84.

The Golden Eagles take the short jaunt to Martin, Tenn., where they will meet the UT Martin Skyhawks Saturday at 4 p.m.