WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM FALLS IN A TIGHT 84-79 CONTEST AT EASTERN ILLINOIS
January 28, 2013
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Junior guards Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler each eclipsed the 20-point mark this evening at Eastern Illinois, but the Skyhawks couldn’t complete their comeback attempt in an 84-79 loss at Lantz Arena.
UT Martin (10-13, 5-4 Ohio Valley Conference) led by 10 points in the first half before Eastern Illinois took the lead for good at the 7:42 mark in the first half. The Skyhawks would whittle their deficit to two points twice in the last 3:23 but that was as close as they would get.
Newsome ended her night with 28 points – 23 of which came in the second half – to go along with seven assists and three steals. Butler – who tied an NCAA record tonight with her 69th consecutive game making a three-pointer – compiled 25 points, canning five 3-pointers and tallying a career-best eight assists.
Skyhawk senior Rickiesha Bryant compiled 10 points and a career-high 15 rebounds for her fourth double-double in OVC play. Senior forward Shelby Crawford also added nine points and seven rebounds for UT Martin, who shot 45.5 percent from three-point range and 91.7 percent from the charity stripe.
Eastern Illinois (13-8, 7-2 OVC) was led by Mariah King, who tallied 23 points and 10 rebounds. Sydney Mitchell (17 points), Kelsey Wyss (14 points) and Ta’Kenya Nixon (eight points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds) also paced the Panthers.
A pair of three-pointers by Butler helped UT Martin jump out to an 8-3 lead in the game’s first four minutes. A Newsome trey from the right wing at the 13:17 mark capped off a 10-2 Skyhawk run and resulted in a double-digit lead (15-5) for UT Martin, who limited Eastern Illinois to 1-for-9 shooting in the first 6:24.
Eastern Illinois then scored 10 unanswered to knot the score at 15-all until a layup by Bryant put the Skyhawks back ahead midway through the first half. The Panthers took their first lead of the evening on a Wyss three-pointer at the 9:04 mark, but UT Martin answered with a Katie Schubert layup to surge back ahead 19-18 with 8:10 to play in the first half.
The Panthers then pieced together a 9-0 run over a span of 2:20 to take a 27-19 lead at the 5:22 mark. Eastern Illinois would lead by a dozen points on two different occasions, but the Skyhawks unreeled a 7-0 run – with Butler responsible for all seven points – to pull within five (36-31) with 28 seconds left before the break.
However, Wyss added another trey from the left corner with one second remaining to give Eastern Illinois a 39-31 lead at the half.
Butler’s 16 points led all scorers in the first half, as she connected on four of her six attempts from three-point range. For Eastern Illinois, Wyss tallied a team-high 11 points to pace the Panthers, who committed nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Eastern Illinois started the second half on a 6-2 run, but a Crawford three-pointer from the left corner got the Skyhawks back within single-digits at 45-36. The Panthers would soon go ahead by 14 but back-to-back treys by Butler and Sydney Vanlandingham capped off an 8-0 spurt that sliced UT Martin’s deficit to six (51-45) with 13:50 left to play.
The Panthers answered with a 7-2 run over the next 1:14, but UT Martin clawed back into the game behind the efforts of Newsome. The junior from Millington poured in 14 of the Skyhawks’ 16 points over a stretch of 4:34 to get UT Martin within four points on four different occasions in the latter portion of the second half.
A putback by Bryant and fast break layup by Newsome inched UT Martin within two points with 3:23 left to play. The Skyhawks also found themselves within one possession on three more occasions in the final 1:03 – including a two-point deficit with 15 seconds remaining – but Eastern Illinois was able to convert six of its final eight free throws down the stretch.
The Skyhawks kick off a three-game homestand on Monday, Feb. 4 when they host Eastern Kentucky. Tip-off time from the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center is set for 7 p.m.