February 22, 2018

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The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team saw its eight-game winning streak come to an abrupt end with an 88-75 setback at Ohio Valley Conference foe Morehead State on Thursday night.

The Skyhawks (16-13, 12-5 OVC) struggled to find much continuity on either side of the ball, shooting just 39.1 percent while committing 15 turnovers. Along with the team’s rough night offensively, UT Martin allowed 88 points which ranked as the highest scoring output for an opponent since early December against No. 5 ranked Louisville.  

Freshman Chelsey Perry paced the Skyhawks with a new career-high, scoring 24 points while flirting with a double-double with nine rebounds. Sophomore Kendall Spray chipped in 11 points while the duo of Ashton Feldhaus and Myah Taylor scored 10 points each.

“We simply looked like we weren’t ready tonight,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “We changed our strategies throughout the game but nothing worked. Morehead just looked like they wanted to win and we didn’t show up. I can live with us losing if we play hard, but tonight we weren’t ready to compete.”

Morehead State (20-10, 11-6 OVC) shot 53.2 percent from the floor while Eriel McKee paced all scorers with 26 points. Miranda Crocket (14 points), Darianne Seward (13 points) and Breuna Jackson (12 points) all scored in double figures while Brooke Todd approached a triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocks.

The game would go back and forth in the opening quarter of play as the contest featured seven lead changes in the first 10 minutes alone. The margin wouldn’t reach two possessions until three minutes left in the period as McKee knocked down a three-pointer to give the Eagles a four-point advantage. The Skyhawks would later trim the deficit down to two points at the end of the quarter on a trifecta by Feldhaus with less than a minute to play.

Morehead State wasted little time pushing its margin out to a sizable margin in the second quarter. The Eagles would ultimately post a lead as large as 15 points after opening the second period on a 15-2 run. With the strong play in the second quarter, MSU would take a 40-26 lead into the halftime break.

The theme of the second quarter carried over into the third as Morehead State continued to have its way with the UT Martin defense. The Eagles turned a 12-point halftime advantage into a 24-point lead off a three-pointer by Jackson at the 2:56 mark of the third – the home squad’s largest lead of the contest. With a sizable deficit, the Skyhawks battled in the final two-plus minutes to trim the margin to a 67-52 margin heading into the fourth, due in large part to the play of Perry who scored 13 points in the period.

The Skyhawks outscored the Eagles in the fourth quarter but it would not be enough as the squad could only get as close as 13 points on three separate occasions. With the team’s comeback attempt coming up short with increased full court pressure down the stretch, Morehead State would hang on to an 88-75 victory.

UT Martin will look to polish off its postseason résumé with the team’s regular season finale at Southeast Missouri on Saturday, Feb. 24. Tipoff from the Show Me Center is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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