MURRAY, Ky. – Nakiah Bell scored a career-high 23 points Saturday as SIUE women's basketball downed Murray State 85-76 at the CFSB Center.
SIUE improved to 8-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference and 12-16 overall. Murray State dropped to 15-12 overall and 7-7 in the OVC.
Bell hit five three-pointers and finished 9 of 15 from the field.
"Nakiah hit some big shots tonight," said SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher. "And her shots were in rhythm. It wasn't forced or rushed."
Murray State got off to a good start with a six-point lead midway through the first period. SIUE made a 14-3 run in the second period to take control of the game.
The Cougars led 35-32 by halftime and extended its lead to double digits in the third period. SIUE never trailed in the second half.
SIUE dominated the boards with a 50-27 advantage.
"I thought we did a great job of keeping them off the boards," said Buscher.
SIUE shot 45.8 percent (33-72) from the field as a team, including 55.9 percent in the second half. The Racers shot 47.5 percent (29-61) from the field, including 53.3 percent in the second half.
The Cougars also had 14 assists and 12 turnovers.
"As a coach you love to see that you have more assists than turnovers," said Buscher. "You like that the team is aggressive. You also like to see they are unselfish."
Murray State's Ke'Shunan James led all scorers with 28 points.
"Our defense was good," said Buscher. "You don't want to give up that many points, but you have to give a lot of credit to James."
SIUE now has a week for prepare for senior day when it takes on Eastern Illinois in a 2 p.m. contest Feb. 25 at the Vadalabene Center.