December 17, 2016

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The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team cashed in from distance against Southeastern Conference foe Missouri on Saturday afternoon, draining 17 three-pointers on the day before ultimately suffering an 80-69 loss.

The Skyhawks (3-8) kicked off the team’s three-game road swing through Missouri and Illinois by hitting 17 three-pointers - ranking as the most this season and just one behind the program record of 18 set on a pair of occasions. Freshman standout Kendall Spray led the Skyhawks in scoring while knocking down 5-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc with sophomore Myah Taylor hitting four of her own to total 14 points on the afternoon. Along with the team’s three-point attack, the squad tallied 19 assists on 24 made field goals while committing just six turnovers.  

As a whole the Skyhawks used the three-pointer stroke to keep the squad in the game and make up for just a 36.9 field goal percentage in the contest. Four players scored in double figures led by Spray and Emanye Robertson who each tallied 15 points in the contest while Taylor and Ashton Feldhaus (11) completed the quartet.

“I thought we came out and competed really hard from the start,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “Sadly we took the second quarter off and that proved to be the difference in the game. Give our girls credit though because they didn’t lay down or hang their heads. The team kept fighting, made some big shots and played hard. We had a shot to get a big win and just fell a little short.”

Missouri (9-3) improved to 7-0 at home after placing four players in double figures. Sierra Michaelis led all scorers with 23 points while Cierra Porter notched a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds in the contest. The Cunningham sisters combined to score 33 points in the contest with Sophie tallying 21 points and Lindsey tossing in 13 of her own.

The game would begin with both teams getting on the board early. At the first media break, Missouri would hold a slim 14-10 lead behind strong scoring from Porter and Sophie Cunningham with seven points each while Taylor scored eight points of her own. The margin would stay tight to end the period as Robertson scored seven of the team’s nine points down the stretch, despite trailing 25-19 heading into the second quarter.

Mizzou would open the second quarter with a big spurt to stretch a six-point deficit into an eventual 19-point lead later in the quarter. As a whole, the Tigers would outscore the Skyhawks 18-8 in the second quarter with Lindsey Cunningham pacing the squad with eight points in the period while Porter and her sister Sophie each tallied five. With the big run, Missouri would take a 43-27 lead into intermission.

The Tigers would push the margin out to as high as 21 in the early moments of the third quarter following another three-pointer by Sophie Cunningham. Three consecutive three-pointers by the trio of Ansley Eubank, Feldhaus and Robertson would cut into the margin dropping the deficit to just 12 points midway through the period. Missouri would respond with another mini-run before back-to-back threes by Spray forced the Tigers to call a timeout facing an 11-point margin.

UT Martin would enter the fourth quarter looking for a final push after trailing by 17 through the first three periods. The Skyhawks would battle to trim the margin to as close as nine points down the stretch after holding the Tigers scoreless for over five minutes of play but would not get any closer before ultimately falling 80-69.

The Skyhawks will return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 20 with a matchup at No. 16 DePaul. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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