Led by a game-high 28 points from senior guard Terrice Robinson, the Morehead State women's basketball team erased an eight-point first-half deficit and defeated host Eastern Illinois 75-64 at Lantz Arena Saturday night (Jan. 4).
MSU won its Ohio Valley Conference opener for the seventh time in the last nine seasons and improved to 7-7 overall with its third consecutive victory. The Eagles also improved to 5-3 in road games after winning just four away from Morehead last season. EIU snapped its three-game winning streak and fell to 6-7 overall and 1-1 in the OVC.
"We are maturing so much and really growing up in front of everybody's eyes," Head Coach Tom Hodges said. "I was so proud of everybody's effort. To come back out of the (holiday) break and get our second road win this week and in the OVC opener is special."
Morehead State hit a season-best 57 percent (12-of-21) from three-point range and forced EIU into 23 turnovers.
"We have worked extremely hard on our half-court defense and making sure we are a tough team to play against," Hodges added. "We forced that many mistakes by them, and we didn't even press once. We have also put a lot of time in on offense and shooting the ball and executing and we certainly did that tonight."
Robinson hit 9-of-10 free throws and eight field goals while also dishing out four assists. She moved above 900 points for her career with her sixth 20+ game this season.
Junior guard Almesha Jones added 17 points, four assists and three steals off the bench. She drilled 4-of-5 three-pointers and all three in the final half. MSU's bench outscored the EIU reserves 33-8. The Eagles shot 49 percent (24-of-49) overall. Freshman forward Shay Steele grabbed a team-best nine rebounds, while senior guard Shanice Parker led the squad with a career-best five assists.
EIU forward Sabina Oroszova registered 18 points and 16 rebounds for the hosts, while Jordyne Crunk tied for team scoring honors with 18. The Panthers held a 39-25 rebounding advantage.
The Eagles fell behind 20-12 at the 12:02 mark of the first half, but junior forward Mackenzie Arledge's three-pointer at the 5:45 point capped a 10-2 MSU run. Morehead State held a 34-32 halftime lead and only trailed once in the final half. Jones' triple at the 14:19 mark pushed MSU to a 49-46 lead and it ballooned from there. Her free throw with 3:36 left allowed MSU to hold a double digit cushion for the remainder of the night. EIU only converted four field goals in the final 7:06.
The Eagles will look to sweep an OVC road trip on Monday (Jan. 6) at SIU Edwardsville. Game time at the Vadalabene Center is set for 8 p.m.