Postgame Press Conference
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team forced 23 turnovers while shooting 46 percent from the field to push the squad to a 76-63 home victory over North Carolina A&T in the Elam Center on Thursday night.
The Skyhawks (3-3) picked up its second consecutive victory behind the nation’s 16th ranked turnover defense by forcing 23 turnovers. Along with the team’s steady defensive presence with talied 11 steals and three blocks, the Skyhawks knocked down 12 three-pointers in the contest while shooting 46 percent from the field.
Sophomore sharpshooter Kendall Spray tied a previous career high with eight made three-pointers, finishing just one of the program record en route to a season-high 30-point performance. Forcing the action throughout the contest, junior Emanye Robertson notched 14 points, four assists and three steals. Meanwhile freshman Maddie Waldrop tallied a career-high with 12 points while snagging five rebounds.
“I thought our kids were really in sync with each other,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “I saw a different level of focus while some players just started making plays. Defensively we played solid over 3/4th of the game. If we can just find a way to bottle that all together for a full game, I think you will see us start to turn the corner.”
North Carolina A&T (2-5) placed three players in double figures led by a dominating post performance by Alexus Lessears with 20 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks. The duo of Kala Green and C’Coriea Foy also scored in double figures, tallying 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The Aggies would jump out to an early lead in the contest, holding a five-point advantage at the first media break. Coming out of the break, the Skyhawks would catch fire with six consecutive made field goals to string together a 13-3 run. With the big momentum change building, UT Martin would take a 20-17 lead into the second quarter.
UT Martin would continue to punch the gas in the second period, not only posting a 7-0 run over the course of 47 seconds, but ultimately stringing together a 12-2 run midway through the quarter. The Skyhawks would use its defense to jump start their offense as they forced 10 turnovers and ultimately outscore the Aggies 20-6 in the quarter.
The Skyhawks would look to build upon their 17-point lead coming out of the half. Putting on a show in the period was Spray who kept her hot shooting going by scoring 18 of the team’s 24 points in the quarter off six three-pointers. With the shots draining from distance, the Skyhawks would push their margin out to as large as 26 points with just under a minute to play in the quarter.
NC A&T would fight down the stretch despite entering the final quarter trailing by 24. The Aggies would outscore the Skyhawks by 11 points in the fourth quarter while trimming the deficit to as close as 13 points in the final minutes. While it was a valiant comeback attempt, the Skyhawks would finish the game victorious by a final score of 76-63.
UT Martin will now travel across the Volunteer state to square off against system-member Chattanooga on Saturday, Dec. 2. Tipoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST and can be seen on ESPN3.