UT MARTIN WOMEN'S HOOPS SET TO HOST DEFENDING OVC CHAMP BELMONT ON SATURDAY

December 29, 2017

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The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team will play host to defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Belmont in a matchup of league titans on Saturday, Dec. 30. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and serves as the front-end of a doubleheader with the Skyhawk men scheduled to play at 6 p.m.

Saturday’s matchup will pit two of the league’s perennial championship contenders in UT Martin and Belmont against each other. The Skyhawks won four OVC regular season titles and four OVC tournament titles over the course of five seasons while the Bruins finally broke through with a perfect 16-0 campaign en route to its first OVC championship and second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth last season. Dating back to the 2011-12 season, UT Martin (94-21, 81.7 percent) and Belmont (61-20, 75.3 percent) have combined to post a 155-41 overall record against conference foes.

The Skyhawks (5-8, 1-0 OVC) moved back into the win column after snapping a three-game losing streak with a home victory over OVC foe Tennessee State, 80-68, on Thursday afternoon to seal a victory in the team’s league opener. Four players scored in double figures for the Skyhawks in the contest while six players scored nine points or more. The squad was led by the play of junior Emanye Robertson who tallied 18 points and eight assists while the trifecta of Janekia Mason (16 points), Myah Taylor (15 points) and Maddie Waldrop (12 points) trailed close behind.

For the second consecutive game, Saturday’s contest pits one of the league’s veteran head coaches against a league rookie. UT Martin is under the direction of Kevin McMillan who has posted a 159-110 overall record in nine seasons – including a 102-31 mark in OVC play - to rank as the league’s fifth winningest coach in OVC history. Belmont is led by first-year head coach Bart Brooks who has posted an 11-3 mark.

Belmont (11-3, 1-0 OVC) enters the contest having won seven of its last eight contests, including a 67-57 road victory at Southeast Missouri on Thursday evening. The Bruins have won 20 consecutive regular season games against conference opponents dating back to the 2015-16 season, with the squad’s last OVC loss coming at UT Martin, 81-79, on Feb. 15, 2016. As a team, Belmont boast three Preseason All-OVC selections in Kyle Smith (19.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg), Darby Maggard (16.4 ppg, 5.4 asp) and Sally McCabe (14.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 23 blocks).

The game will mark the 32nd meeting between the two programs in series history – dating back to both school’s Division II days. Belmont holds a 20-11 series advantages after sweeping the season series last season, meeting in both the regular season and in the OVC Basketball Championship semifinals. Despite last year’s results, the Skyhawks have won seven of the last 10 meetings – including three consecutive in the Elam Center where UT Martin has posted a 54-5 record against league foes since 2010.

The game will be broadcast live, free of charge, courtesy of the OVC Digital Network. Fans can also tune into STAR 95.1 FM to hear Chris Brinkley (play-by-play) and Tom Britt (color) provide analysis. Links for both the OVCDN feed and radio broadcasts, along with live stats can be accessed through their respective links above. For in-game updates, follow the Skyhawks on twitter @UTM_Gameday.  



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