It seemed Monday night would be another one of those games for Murray freshman Maddie Waldop.
The 6-foot forward committed two first-quarter fouls and headed to the bench, something that has happened from time to time. As difficult as it may be, Lady Tigers coach Rechelle Turner wants her to fix that.
Because when she plays, Waldrop's talent is apparent. She scored 22 points after her early rest to finish with a game-high 25 in a 72-41 road win against McCracken County. She finished with four fouls, managing to play smart while playing well for the remainder of the game.
"She's big, and she's going to be in the action," Turner said. "She's going to get fouls. Playing through those is something she'll have to learn how to do. She didn't go out and get a silly foul early in the second half. That's just a sign of maturity for her."
Added Waldrop: "I come down on people. I need to work on that."
The Lady Tigers (25-3) led by nine points at halftime, 27-18, but Waldrop scored 13 of her team's 23 third-quarter points to help build a 50-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Lady Mustangs coach Joshua Barnett believes a game plan change hurt his team.
"We felt like we should try to force some turnovers, force the issue," he said. "They handled that pretty well. They have an answer for a lot of stuff you do. We took ourselves out of the game. Maybe we should've kept on keeping on with the man-to-man (defense)."
They've struggled offensively of late, failing to reach 45 points in six of their last eight games. The Lady Mustangs (14-14) are missing Maddye Rice, who has a broken right foot and wore a walking boot at the game Monday. Barnett declined to comment whether Rice would return this season after being one of their best scorers early in the season.
Two players, Jacqueline Roof and Alex Smith, scored 36 of the team's 41 points. Roof finished with 21, including the 1,000th of her career on a second-quarter layup.
"I'm thrilled she can experience that," Barnett said. "I think Jacqueline's the type of person who deserves that type of result for her hard work and dedication. She's a great player and great athlete."
Murray carries a five-game winning streak into its matchup Thursday night against Paducah Tilghman, which has the third-best record in Region 1. The Blue Tornado can match the Lady Tigers' size, an advantage the Lady Tigers usually hold.
A win Thursday and another Friday against Carlisle County, Turner said, would give the Lady Tigers their first unbeaten season in region competition under Turner.
Without Waldrop, they can rely on Julie Thiede, Hannah Clark and Kayleigh House in the paint. But Turner would rather not have Waldrop run into foul trouble and have to test that depth.
"When she goes out, it takes out a lot of size on defense and one of our best scorers in the paint," Turner said. "Of course, you want her on the floor as much as possible because of what she brings to the team. But we feel like we're deep enough we can go to the bench. We feel we have an eight-person rotation that can play at any time."
McCracken 74, Murray 60 - Despite losing junior Caleb Stonecipher to an ankle injury and a poor defensive first half, the McCracken County boys team pulled away late for a home win Monday night.
The Mustangs (19-8) trailed 41-39 at halftime but allowed the Tigers (14-10) just 19 second-half points.
"We just didn't defend well the first half," Mustangs coach Burlin Brower said. "We weren't in good position. We were in foul trouble. That has a lot to do with us not sliding our feet and reaching and grabbing."
They also lost Stonecipher, who appeared to injure his left ankle right after play resumed in the second half.
"He was in a lot of pain," Brower said. "That worries me. Caleb's a big part of our offense. He allows us to keep three scorers on the floor at the same time. We hope it's a speedy recovery. You hate to see an injury right before the postseason."
Murray 14 27 50 72
McCracken County 4 18 28 41
MURRAY â “ Ma. Turley 8, Mo. Turley 5, Waldrop 25, House 4, McDowell 3, Thiede 6, Grogan 12, Clark 9.
Field goals 19. 3-pointers 3 (Grogan 3). Free throws 31/37.
MCCRACKEN COUNTY â “ Baer 3, Smith 15, Roof 21, Weir 2.
Field goals 12. 3-pointers 6 (Smith 2, Roof 4). Free throws 11/21.
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Murray 14 41 53 60
McCracken County 17 39 50 74
MURRAY â “ English 9, Curtis 3, D. Boone 11, J. Boone 9, Sheppard 14, Miles 2, Stubblefield 4, Clark 2, Hornbuckle 6.
Field goals 19/47. 3-pointers 4/4 (English 3, Curtis). Free throws 18/20. Fouls 22. Rebounds 20.
MCCRACKEN COUNTY â “ Jared Burnett 16, Chumbler 22, Armstrong 12, Telfair 6, Stonecipher 3, Rodgers 13, Weir 2.
Field goals 25/45. 3-pointers 6/12 (Burnett 2, Stonecipher, Chumbler 3). Free throws 18/27. Fouls 17. Rebounds 14.
Call Daniel Paulling, a Sun sports writer, at 270-575-8662, or follow on Twitter @DanielPaulling.
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