MURRAY -- Murray State suffered its fifth-consecutive loss and fell to 1-6 in conference play on Thursday, as the Belmont Bruins pulled away for an 86-56 win against the Racers in the CFSB Center.
MSU (8-10, 1-6 Ohio Valley) -- enduring even more growing pains with the loss of sophomore guard Sadie Hill (MCL surgery) and lone senior forward Cekeya Mack (left the team for academic focus) -- got balanced scoring, led by Macey Turley (11 points, three assists, four rebounds) and a season-high 10 points from reserve guard Ashley Hunter.
But the shooting woes continued for the Racers, who went 1-for-10 from the arc in the second quarter and 7-for-27 from deep in the game.
Belmont, meanwhile, avoided its 3-point shooting struggles (28.7% in 17 games) to bomb away, going 12-for-27.
MSU trailed just 43-31 at halftime when the Bruins opened the third quarter by going 3-for-4 from the arc, and the Racers wouldn't get close again.
Belmont's size advantage -- and depth -- played a critical role in MSU's defeat. Preseason OVC Player of the Year and Bruins forward Ellie Harmeyer unleashed for 26 points, 18 rebounds and two 3-pointers, while six Belmont players made a 3-pointer.
The Racers weren't just limited from the arc, but also struggled near the basket -- going just 14-for-37 inside 18 feet.
"This is a team made up mostly of kids who are not used to losing, not used to living up to expectations, and they're certainly not used to disappointing what they feel like is their coach, or the fans, or whatever," noted third-year MSU coach Rechelle Turner.
"I have to make sure the losing isn't on them. They go out, they do everything they can do to help his win, and the losing is on me. That's why good players get you wins, and coaches get losses. I've always been that, I'll continue to be that way, and I will never put it on them, ever.
"This is the hand we've been dealt, and we're going to continue to fight with it. But I'm going to make sure every day that we love them, we're here for them, and it's going to be OK. It's just going to take time, and patience is not something that very many of us are good at."
Belmont 86, Murray St. 56
Belmont 24 19 24 19 - 86
Murray State 17 14 14 11 - 56
BRUINS - Ellie Harmeyer 26, Conley Chinn 20, Maura Muensterman 8, Maddie Wright 7, Kiki Britzmann 7, Cam Browning 6, Jamilyn Kinney 4, Allison Luly 4, Nikki Baird 2, Maddie Cook 2.
FG: 29-69. 3PT: 12-27 (Chinn 4, Harmeyer 2, Muensterman 2, Kinney, Wright). FT: 16-24. Reb: 51 (Harmeyer 18). PF: 11. Ast: 18. TO: 10. Stl: 7. Blk: 1. Record: 11-7 (6-1).
RACERS - Macey Turley 11, Ashley Hunter 10, Macie Gibson 9, Alexis Burpo 7, Laci Hawthorne 7, Lex Mayes 6, Raegan Blackburn 6.
FG: 21-64. 3PT: 7-27 (Gibson 3, Blackburn 2, Hunter 2). FT: 7-10. Reb: 39 (Hawthorne 14). PF: 18. Ast: 10. TO: 14. Stl: 6. Blk: 3. Record: 8-10 (1-6).