MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team picked up its third win of the season behind an overwhelming crowd of over 4,000 students from local Obion and Weakley County schools en route to a 68-63 victory against regional rival Arkansas State on Wednesday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (3-7) snapped a two-game losing streak while defending the team’s home court – stringing together 44 consecutive games without dropping consecutive home contests. The squad shot 46 percent from the field while leading for nearly 36 minutes of the contest – trailing for a total of 24 seconds. The Skyhawks would lead by as much as 18 early in the third quarter before holding on down the stretch to secure the victory.
UT Martin saw four players score in double figures for just the second time this season, led by the play of sophomore guard Myah Taylor who tossed in a game-high 17 points. Sophomore Emanye Robertson filled up the stat sheet as well, tallying 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals. Junior Janekia Mason also posted a career-high for the second straight game, notching 15 points and four rebounds in the contest. Freshman Ansley Eubank joined in the action by tallying a new career-high, eclipsing double figures for the first time in her career with 11 points.
“I thought it was a great crowd with a lot of kids here,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “The atmosphere was great and it was fun. The kids fed off the energy and came out to build off of it. The way we came out of the gates was one of the best starts to a game we have had this season. Our problem is that with the youth and inexperience, we are going to have highs and lows. Hopefully we can take this game and build on it. With the road trip we have ahead of ourselves, it will be hard on us but hopefully we continue to grow.”
Arkansas State (1-8) dropped its eighth game of the season despite posting a near comeback attempt behind a strong fourth quarter performance. Much like the Skyhawks, the Red Wolves also shot 46 percent from the field while placing four different players in double figures. Jada Ford led the team with 17 points while Brittany Fowler chipped in 16 points of her own. Tahlon Hopkins tallied a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds while Dominique Oliver scored 11 points as well to round out the team’s top contributors.
UT Martin would come out of the gates looking to make a statement. After seeing the game stay tight early, the Skyhawks would push the lead out to seven points following 7-0 run capped off by a layup from Breanna Boggs. The lead would fluctuate down the final minutes of the quarter before a jumper by Emily Eubank with 54 seconds to play gave the home squad a 17-14 lead heading into the second.
The Skyhawks put some distance between themselves and the Red Wolves in the second quarter. After watching the lead dwindle down to an eventual tied score of 25-25 with 4:49 to play in the quarter, UT Martin would finish the period on a 13-3 run behind a trifecta of three-pointers. Following the run, the Skyhawks would take a 38-28 lead heading into the break.
The home squad would waste little time in the opening minutes of the third trying to stretch out the team’s advantage. A quick 8-0 run would give the Skyhawks a lead of 18 points – the highest of the game – just under two minutes into the half. The lead would hover around the same mark before the Red Wolves began their comeback attempt in the final minutes of the third. With the deficit back out to 17 point, Arkansas State would finish the period on an 8-2 run of its cut the margin down to just 11 points going into the final quarter of play.
Much like in the final minutes of the third, the fourth quarter proved unfriendly to the Skyhawks who posted a stretch of over five minutes where they were held scoreless while missing their first seven shots. Arkansas State would officially complete its comeback attempt by taking its first lead of the game off a free throw by Ford with 3:02 to play in the fourth. With the team’s lead in the past, UT Martin would charge back down the stretch, finishing the game on a 7-1 run to get back into the win column.
UT Martin will now turn its sights to Southeastern Conference foe Missouri to begin a three-game road trip to conclude non-conference play on Saturday, Dec. 17. Tipoff from Mizzou Arena is scheduled for 11 a.m.