WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team took Big Ten member Purdue to the brink on its homecourt in the second game of the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational on Monday night before ultimately falling 60-58.
The Skyhawks (4-7) battled throughout the contest, leading for nearly 10 minutes in a contest which featured eight ties and eight lead changes each. UT Martin would have a shot at a potential game-winning trifecta as time expired by senior forward Janekia Mason but the shot attempt would draw contact and fall short.
UT Martin saw three players score in double figures led by sophomore sharpshooter Kendall Spray who tallied 18 points – including six three-pointers – while tallying four steals in the contest. Mason also posted a big game once again, tallying 15 points and a team-high eight rebounds while freshman Maddie Waldrop notched 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Purdue (8-5) picked up the hard-fought victory behind four players eclipsing double-digits, paced by Ae’Rianna Harris which tallied 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks – including the potential game-winner. Harris was joined on the scoresheet by the guard duo of Karissa McLaughlin and Andreona Keys which tallied 11 points each while Dominique Oden chipped in 10 points of her own.
Action would be limited in the first quarter of play as both teams came out of the gates slow, combining to score just 22 points. Purdue would lead by as much as six points midway through the period but an 8-0 run by UT Martin would not only dig the Skyhawks out the hole, but ultimately give the squad their first lead of the contest. A jumper by Maddie Waldrop with 90 seconds left to play in the quarter would give the Skyhawks a 12-10 advantage heading into the second.
The game would remain tight throughout the rest of the second quarter as the score became tied seven times and featured five lead changes in the first half alone. UT Martin would use another 8-0 run which was saw back-to-back three-pointers by Spray and a jumper by Waldrop give the team a four-point advantage late in the period. Following a three-pointer by McLaughlin with 45 seconds remaining, the Skyhawks would take a 26-25 lead into halftime.
Purdue looked to take control in the opening minutes of the third quarter. After entering the second half with a one-point deficit, the Boilermakers would rattle off a 12-4 run to push their lead out to as high as eight. The Skyhawks would answer however with a 7-2 run of their own to cut the margin back down to two points midway through the third. From there both teams would watch the margin hover around two possessions before Purdue took a 50-45 advantage into the fourth.
The Skyhawks would tie the contest back up in the opening two minutes of the fourth off a three-pointer by Spray to cap a 7-2 run and knot it up at 52-52. Purdue would embark on a cold stretch by going scoreless for five minutes of play before finally snapping an 8-0 run by the Skyhawks to cut the margin to one point just before the fourth quarter media break. Purdue would answer and hold a two-point lead with 16.3 seconds to play setting up the Skyhawks final attempt of the game, but a three-point attempt by Mason would fall short at the buzzer despite contact, to give the Boilermakers a 60-58 victory.
UT Martin will close out its appearance in the Basketball Travelers Inc. Invitational against Eastern Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 20. Tipoff is scheduled for 10 a.m.