December 28, 2013

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team could not overcome the No. 20 ranked Florida State Seminoles on the road to close out the non-conference portion of the schedule, falling 76-53 at the Tucker Center.

Despite a slow start to the game, the Skyhawks (7-6) responded by forcing 12 turnovers in the second half and played to an even 33-33 second half score. The Skyhawks would shoot just 35 percent from the floor while the Seminoles shot 54 percent and won the battle of the boards, 41-20.

Senior guard Heather Butler led the Skyhawks once again with 16 points, all of which came in the second half to extend her career long streak of 110 straight games in double figures. Butler’s streak of 110 games ranks 21st in the NCAA record book. Chelsea Roberts joined Butler in double figures with 10 points. Jasmine Newsome and Ashia Jones both flirted with double figures, but finished with nine points each.

“I am tremendously proud of our second half,” said Kevin McMillan. “We were able to play a team in the top-25 even in the second half while forcing a tough, nationally ranked team to commit 19 turnovers. We are not looking for moral victories, but we made great steps in the second half towards being a good basketball team.”

Florida State (12-1) placed three players in double figures, led by senior Natasha Howard’s 26 points. Howard was joined in double figures by Morgan Jones and Ivey Slaughter. Jones tallied 17 points while Slaughter tossed in 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

Florida State opened the game by forcing five Skyhawk turnovers in the game’s opening four minutes of play. Outscoring the Skyhawks 13-6 at the 15:50 media break, the Seminoles were led by six points from Howard while Jones joined in with five points. Newsome kept the Skyhawks in the game early with a pair of three-pointers from the top of the key.

The Seminoles continued its offensive effort, putting together a 10-4 run over the next media break. Howard’s output continued with five of the team’s 10 points during the span. Roberts scored a three-pointer along with converting a free throw for all of the Skyhawks four points.

Florida State put together another pair of runs over the next eight minutes, tallying runs of 10-5 and 8-2 to outscore the Skyhawks 18-7 in 10 minutes of play.

The Seminoles would lead 43-20 at the half, placing a pair in double figures, led by Jones who tallied 15 points. Jones was joined by Howard with 11 points in just six minutes of play. The Skyhawks were led by Newsome with six points while Katie Schubert and Chelsea Roberts each registered five points each.

The Skyhawks would settle down in the second half, holding the Seminoles to just a 9-7 advantage in the second half’s opening minutes of play.

The Seminoles would hold a slim 6-5 advantage, leading to a 58-32 with 11:42 to play in the game. Florida State would place its third player in double figures during the stretch as Slaughter tallied her 11th point of the game, including four points during the span.

Howard would on a personal 6-0 run for the Seminoles as Florida State outscored the Skyhawks 9-6. Butler and Roberts would each tally three-pointers for the Skyhawks.

The Skyhawks would put together a slight 5-2 run over the game’s next three minutes. Butler and Roberts would both add field goals during the run. Florida State would lead 69-43 with 3:44 to play in the game.

UT Martin would outscoring the Seminoles 10-8 over the game’s final three minutes of play. Butler would reach double figures in the game’s final minutes, extending her streak while scoring eight of the Skyhawks 10 points.

The Skyhawks will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 30 when they open Ohio Valley Conference play when they travel to Jacksonville State. Tip-off from the Pete Mathews Coliseum is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.

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