Postgame Press Conference
MARTIN, Tenn. – University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball sophomore guard Kendall Spray notched a piece of program history on Thursday afternoon, knocking down a school single-game record with 11 three-pointers en route to a 90-49 victory over Rhodes College.
The Skyhawks (4-5) closed out the home portion of the team’s non-conference schedule with an offensive outburst behind the sharpshooting Spray. After posting three performances which finished just shy of the program record of nine three-pointers set by former Skyhawk greats Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome, Spray finally surpassed the mark by knocking down 11-of-18 three-point attempts while scoring a career-high 35 points.
While the career outing stole the headlines for the Skyhawks, UT Martin played a well-rounded game on defense. The Skyhawks would notch a season-high with 58 rebounds while forcing 27 turnovers, 16 steals and seven blocks to round out the contest. Turnovers proved to lead to offense as UT Martin scored 35 points off said turnovers while notching 29 points in transition.
In addition to Spray, junior guard Emanye Robertson also eclipsed the 20-point plateau with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals. Today’s game marked the first time this season in which the Skyhawks had a pair of scorers eclipse the 20-point mark while improving to 73-5 under head coach Kevin McMillan when scoring 80 points or more. Filling out the stat sheet was Janekia Mason with nine points while freshman Chelsey Perry flirted with a double-double with nine points and a career-high 11 rebounds.
“Anytime Kendall is knocking down shots, our team is pretty good and she can certainly put them up in bunches,” said McMillan. “Most teams won’t leave her open so we are always trying to get her open looks and you saw what she was able to do. I thought our kids came out with a little bit of Louisville left in them but picked it up nicely in the middle quarters and we were able to pull away. I think our depth and speed had a lot to do with it but I give them a lot of credit though because in the first quarter they were able to handle the ball well, make shots and their effort was really good, I just think they ran out of gas.”
Rhodes College (5-1) – a Division III foe out of Memphis - snapped a four-game winning streak in the exhibition contest. The Lynx placed two players in double figures led by Alyssa Owens (14 points, seven rebounds) and Jessie Ustick (11 points).
UT Martin would jump out to a quick seven-point advantage in the first quarter before going cold from the floor and opening the door for Rhodes College. The Lynx would take advantage, not only overcoming the seven-point margin but ultimately take a four-point lead of their own with just over two minutes to play in the first quarter. Despite the nice run by the Lynx midway through the period, a 40-foot three-pointer by Spray at the first quarter buzzer would give the Skyhawks a 20-17 lead heading into the second.
UT Martin would come out of the second quarter looking to stretch out its advantage. The Skyhawks would do just that as they strung together a 21-0 run while holding the Lynx without a field goal for over seven minutes. The guard duo of Spray and Robertson would play a big part in the run, tallying 18 points in the second quarter alone as the Skyhawks took a 51-28 lead into halftime.
The Skyhawks kept up the pressure in the third quarter by shooting over 63 percent from the floor. Spray would tally three trifectas in the quarter to tie the program single-game record with nine in a contest. Behind a barrage of three-pointers, the Skyhawks would outscore the Lynx 29-13 in the quarter to take a 39-point lead into the fourth.
Momentum would slow down in the fourth as both teams combined for just 18 points in the period. While the final score was the only part of the decision left to finalize, Spray put the finishing touches on a career afternoon with a pair of three-pointers to set a new single-game record. With the record in the bag, the Skyhawks pulled away for a 90-49 victory.
UT Martin will now turn its focus to finals week which is quickly approaching before returning to action in the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational on Dec. 17-20.