NASHVILLE --- Despite getting off to a slow start, the Tennessee State University women’s basketball team defeated Murray State, 72-65, to pick up its fifth straight home win Monday night in the Gentry Center.
Tennessee State (10-14, 7-4 OVC) led by as many as 18 points and had to hold off a late Murray State (8-14, 1-9 OVC) rally in the victory.
Murray State was paced by Jessica Winfrey’s 17 points while Taylor Porter (14) and Janssen Starks (11) also posted double-figures.
Without its starting point guard the TSU offense was stagnant early on. Midway through the opening frame, the teams had played to an 11-11 tie.
Over the next six minutes there were three ties and four lead changes. TSU was trailing, 20-19, when the Lady Tigers used a 14-1 run, fueled by six points from Briana Morrow, to capture a 34-21 advantage.
With 34 seconds on the clock, Murray State scored after going five minutes without a bucket before TSU went into halftime with a, 36-24, led.
TSU opened up the second half with six unanswered points but MSU responded with a rally and cut the deficit down to 49-40.
On the next possession, Jemilah Leonard buried a triple to put the Lady Tigers back on top by double-digits. TSU went ahead, 63-47, when I’mani Davis scored on a break-away lay-up at the 6:21 mark but the visitors wouldn’t go away.
The Racers went on a 14-3 run to slice the Lady Tiger lead down to just, 66-61, with less than three minutes remaining.
TSU was leading, 68-63, when Murray State was forced to foul.
The Lady Tigers were able to make enough free-throws to keep the Racers at bay.
Tennessee State returns to action on Saturday, Feb.15 across town at Belmont. Game is scheduled for 5 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.