February 17, 2018

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MARTIN, Tenn. –
The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team controlled the tempo and lead from the start before posting a dominating 85-57 victory over Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Illinois on Senior Night.

The Skyhawks improved to 16-12 on the season while moving into a tie for second place in the league standings with a 12-4 record. UT Martin led in nearly every statistical category on the day, winning the battle of the boards by 11 while forcing Eastern Illinois into 23 turnovers.  

UT Martin saw five different players score in double figures for the fourth time this season as junior Emanye Robertson led all scorers with 17 points in the contest. Junior Myah Taylor wasn’t far behind with 14 points of her own while the trio of Kendall Spray, Chelsey Perry and Maddie Waldrop each tallied 11 points. Along with the game’s top scorers, the Skyhawks honored the pair of Ashton Feldhaus and Janekia Mason prior to the game during Senior Night festivities while the party took yet another twist after the final buzzer as Mason accepted an engagement proposal at center court.

“With what happened after the game, the final score really doesn’t mean anything as Janekia took the first step in her life after basketball, she now gets to start a new family of her own and we’re so happy for her,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “With the contest however, I was worried about this game because of how hard EIU played us last time. Tonight we played much better defensively and attacked the offensive boards. I feel good about our kids with the way we played defensively today. I just want to be playing our best heading into the tournament and we showed how to play for a championship.”

Eastern Illinois (2-25, 1-15 OVC) saw three players score in double figures despite shooting just 36.4 percent from the floor. Taylor Steele led the squad with 14 points while Karle Pace (13 points) and Grace McRae (10 points) weren’t far off the team-lead.

Both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first quarter as the score remained tied on three separate occasions. UT Martin would finally find its flow late in the period, closing out the first on a 7-0 run to take a 21-9 advantage into the second.

The Skyhawks would later push their run out to 17 unanswered points into the second quarter before the Panthers finally snapped a lengthy scoreless streak with a jumper by Steele at the 7:03 mark. UT Martin continued to build upon its lead in the final minutes of the half, pushing its margin out to as high as 19 down the stretch to take a 37-19 lead into halftime.

The third quarter would start out much like the second as UT Martin outscored Eastern Illinois 13-2 in the opening five minutes of action. With the margin reaching as large as 31 points in the quarter, play would level off as the quarter wore on and the Skyhawks would narrowly outscore the Panthers 12-11 over the final stretch of the period.

With the only thing in doubt being the final score, UT Martin saw its margin reach 36 points with 7:33 to play in the contest. With the reserves playing the bulk of the minutes down the stretch, the Skyhawks pushed their season-long winning streak to eight games with an 85-57 victory.

UT Martin hit the road in a matchup against OVC foe Morehead State on Thursday, Feb. 22. Tipoff from Johnson Arena is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. CST.

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