Preston Odam, Correspondent
The Jacksonville State women’s basketball team lost a tight game 67-60 last Thursday night on the road against a sound Murray State team, ending the five-game winning streak the Gamecocks were riding entering the game.
Fouls and turnovers stifled the Gamecocks’ attempts at cutting into Murray’s lead.
JSU turned the ball over a total of 16 times and committed 23 fouls during the contest that helped the Racers end JSU’s incredible and historically successful beginning to the season. The Gamecocks sent MSU to the foul line a total of 33 times during the game.
Murray State is one of the top free throw shooting teams in the league and they displayed why that is so by sinking 27 of the 33 and making 19-of-20 in the second half alone. This caused JSU attempting to get over the five, six, seven-point hump throughout the night but to no avail.
Foul trouble also kept many of the starters for the Gamecocks on the bench longer than normal. Along with this foul trouble, one of JSU’s biggest strengths, three-point shooting, was another factor as to why the Gamecocks struggled. The team only hit 13% of their three-point attempts going 3-for-23 from downtown. This poor shooting from long range ended a multitude of chances for the team to gain ground on the racers.
Junior guard Yamia Johnson led the way for the Gamecocks with a team high 23 points and 13 rebounds. Those 13 boards she gathered are also her career high and gave Johnson her second game in a row with a double-double.
Other Gamecock contributors include sophomore guard Nekiyah Thompson who put up nine points and led the team in assists with 2. Senior guard Taylor Hawks and sophomore center Winnie Kuimi each added 7 points respectively.
JSU staged a comeback right before the half going on an 11-6 run after going down by ten late in the second period. However, this comeback was halted in the second half due to more foul trouble for the Gamecocks.
Toward the end of the third, JSU had cut MSU’s lead to 48-43, but due to fouls key players were forced to be on the bench during this comeback. Yamia Johnson, Taylor Hawks, Kiana Johnson, Keiara Griffin and Jessie Day all had three fouls late in the third period and had to wait until the final quarter before being able to enter the game again.
JSU entered the fourth quarter only trailing the Racers by eight. Due to a slow start, in which JSU did not score the first five minutes of the quarter though, MSU was able to increase their lead to 12. The Gamecocks did not quit however, and eventually cut the lead to a mere four points entering the later minutes of the fourth quarter. This momentum was cut short because of the Racers free throw shooting late in the game that ended up being the demise of a hopeful late game comeback for the Gamecocks.
JSU is now 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play.
Three JSU women’s basketball games — Morehead State this evening, Eastern Kentucky on Saturday and Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Tuesday — were postponed due to OVC COVID-19 protocols, JSU athletics announced on Wednesday. No new dates for the contests have been announced.
The next game on the schedule for the Lady Gamecocks is against UT Martin on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 5 p.m., which will be streamed on ESPN+ and WLJS 91.9 FM, JSU’s student-run radio station.