Salt Lake • Murray's 47-43 victory over West was the Spartans' first test of the year and forward Brittany Golder's finest hour.
The 5-foot-10 forward scored 24 points in a game with five lead changes and sealed Murray's win with four timely free throws.
"It was a really tough, physical game," Golder said. "They played really well, but we were able to fight through for the win."
Golder scored 14 of Murray's 18 points in the first half, and the Spartans trailed 25-18 at halftime. In the locker room, Murray coach Lisa White challenged her players to match Golder's intensity.
"I told them that Brittany was working her tail off out there and they needed to match her drive," White said.
Described as being "clutch" for the Spartans, Golder turned in a performance that her team will remember in future games, White said.
"We have never trailed in a game like this," White said. "To fight back showed how hard Brittany worked."
Golder was sidelined last season with an ACL injury, so being able to come back and play well was important to her. Finishing with 24 points, Golder complained that her knee was sore at the end of the game but that the end was worth it.
"I love being back on the court and making an impact," Golder said. "I like pushing through it [the pain]."
Golder's clutch free throws for Murray happened in the fourth. After Jordan Strah drove for a layup to give the Spartans the lead, Golder went to the line and dropped 4 of 6 free throws to put the game out of reach.
"I work hard to make those shots," Golder said. "I know how important closing a game out can be."
While it took the Spartans a quarter to wake up and play the physical basketball that gives them a 4-1 record on the season, White believes that the experience of playing from behind will give them an advantage through the season and into the playoffs.
"We're not looking at other teams we're only looking within," White said. "We need to do things better than great and hope they carry over throughout the year."