MURRAY -- Less than 48 hours after a rough conference-opening loss against UT Martin, Murray State (8-5, 1-1 Ohio Valley Conference) responded with a gritty win against league-leading Southeast Missouri State (9-4, 1-1) on Saturday, 70-62 in the CFSB Center.
The Racers moved to 7-0 this season when holding an opponent to sub-40% shooting, as SEMO went 25-for-82 from the floor and just 3-for-17 from the arc. And they navigated a massive offensive rebounding deficit (27-12) and 22 turnovers by owning a 33-24 defensive rebounding edge, shooting 37.7% from the floor and 24-for-31 from the stripe.
And they also got 19 points, five rebounds, five steals and zero turnovers from sophomore guard Sadie Hill, who earned her first start of the season and delivered all of her points in the final two quarters.
"Sadie's always been capable," noted third-year MSU coach Rechelle Turner. "We recruited Sadie out of high school, and I knew what the kid could do. She's a guard and one of the best shooters we have. And she's tough. But she's been injury prone since she got here, and is just now coming back from that. She's still not 100%, and she's still having to wear the brace with the ACL.
"But tonight just gave people a glimpse of why we wanted her on this basketball team. Because she can do those things. And if she continues to play that way and gives us that extra weapon, then that opens up some things for us."
MSU trailed 5-2 early after a triple from SEMO's Carrie Shephard before a 12-2 run flipped the script. Macey Turley scored six points in a row before a Lex Mayes triple and a Macie Gibson jumper gave the Racers a 14-7 lead.
Shephard, however, would go 0-for-8 from the arc the rest of the way, and just 2-for-17 from the field.
With SEMO shooting 2-for-11 to start the second quarter and the Racers toting a 21-18 lead, Turley (19 points, 5-for-14 shooting) was able to take a short break on the bench.
But with her absence came the Redhawks pressure, mostly in a trapping 2-2-1 zone. MSU would finish with nine turnovers in the frame alone, and SEMO would tote a 31-26 lead into the locker room behind a 13-5 run. Redhawks guard Jessie Harshberger (18 points) scored eight of her 12 first-half points in the spurt.
Down 31-28 early in the third quarter, it was eight straight points from Hill recapturing the lead, coming on back-to-back 3-pointers and two free throws.
And down 40-38, it was three straight offensive rebounds getting the Racers back out in front. Mayes rebounded an Alexis Burpo free-throw miss, and Turley hit a jumper. After a Cekeya Mack block, Hill got an offensive board and rewarded her with an entry pass for a layup. Mack picked up a steal on the next possession, and Turley was left open for an offensive putback for the 45-40 lead.
Tied 46-all early in the fourth quarter, Hill and Mayes hit back-to-back triples to recapture the lead for good. SEMO's Tesia Thompson (21 points) would tie it 54-all with a layup, but Hill's fourth 3-pointer made it 64-56 and put things out of reach.
"I've actually been trying to work on it a lot," Hill said of her 3-point shot. "Especially in practice. Making sure that my feet are set and they're under me, and my release is good. It's been hard, though, with the brace on, and it's been an adjustment that I had to go through from high school to now. And I think I'm getting the hang of it."
SE Missouri 14 17 12 19 - 62
Murray St. 16 10 19 25 - 70
REDHAWKS - Tesia Thompson 21, Jessie Harshberger 18, Jocelyn Taylor 6, Carrie Shephard 5, Taelour Pruitt 4, Sophie Bussard 3, Roshala Scott 3, Latrese Saine 2.
FG: 25-82. 3PT: 3-17 (Harshberger 2, Shephard 1). FT: 9-15. Reb: 51. PF: 22. Ast: 12. TO: 17. Stl: 8. Blk: 2. Record: 9-4 (1-1).
RACERS - Sadie Hill 19, Macey Turley 19, Lex Mayes 10, Laci Hawthorne 7, Cekeya Mack 6, Alexis Burpo 5, Raegan Blackburn 2, Macie Gibson 2.
FG: 20-53. 3PT: 6-18 (Hill 4, Mayes 2). FT: 24-31. Reb: 45 (Burpo 13). PF: 16. Ast: 9. TO: 22. Stl: 11. Blk: 8. Record: 8-5 (1-1).