MOREHEAD, Ky. (EIU) -- The Panthers led by 16 points heading into the second half but gave up 29 third quarter points to Morehead State collecting their 13 loss of the season. The Eagles defeated EIU 89-81.
The Panthers fell to 1-13 overall and 0-3 in the OVC while MSU improved to 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the OVC.
"We played our best first half of the year. We didn't have Carmen (Tellez) and to be up 16 at half, I was proud of the team," EIU coach Matt Bollant said. "Morehead stepped up and made plays and we got caught up playing not to lose. Give Morehead credit, they were good in the second half. I thought we grew tonight. We didn't get the results we wanted, but we will continue to grow."
Tellez missed the game with an ankle injury.
Jennifer Nehls set the offensive pace for EIU early with 10 first quarter points. By halftime, the Panthers had two players in double figures as Taylor Steele scored 10 points the the second quarter. EIU shot 63.3 percent from the field and 70 percent from beyond the arc in the first half of play.
"I am really proud Jenn and how she played and (Danielle Berry) played with a lot of heart and effort as well," Bollant said. "We started three freshmen and two sophomores."
The Eagles scored 29 third quarter points to ultimately take the lead at the 9:41 minute mark of the fourth quarter. The Panthers were held scoreless in the final quarter until a jumper from Nehls at the 3:40 mark. MSU finished with 53 second half points to defeat the Panthers by eight points.
Nehls set a new career-high with 24 points. She was 10-of-11 from the field shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range. She also had a team-leading six rebounds. Taylor Steele finished with 15 points while Grace McRae and Karle Pace each added 12 points. Danielle Berry had a team-high four assists.
Five players scored in double-figures for the Eagles. Erin Blaine finished with a team-high 19 points while Tierra McGowan recorded a double-double with 14 points and 15 boards.
The Panthers return to action Saturday Jan. 6 at Eastern Kentucky. Tip-off is set for 1 pm.