Postgame Press Conference
MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team got Ohio Valley Conference play started on the right foot on Thursday afternoon, outmatching league foe Tennessee State 80-68 in the Elam Center.
The Skyhawks (5-8, 1-0 OVC) snapped a three-game losing streak with a strong performance in the OVC opener by never trailing before securing an 80-68 victory. With the win, UT Martin improved to 94-21 in OVC play dating back to the 2010-11 season and 54-5 at home in league play during the span.
UT Martin would have four players score in double figures led by junior guard Emanye Robertson who tallied 18 points, eight assists and three steals in the contest. Senior Janekia Mason (18), junior Myah Taylor (15) and freshman Maddie Waldrop (12) would also score in double figures. Meanwhile, the duo of Kendall Spray and Ashton Feldhaus would also approach double-digits with nine points each.
“I thought that early we played some of our best defensive basketball of the season” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “I give our kids credit though because they came back from some runs and handled the pressure well down the stretch. I’m not one of those people that say ‘a team needs a win’ but maybe this bunch did.”
Tennessee State (2-8, 0-1 OVC) was led by Tia Wooten with 22 points – including 19 points in the second half alone – while pulling down nine rebounds and five steals. Wooten was joined in double figures by four-time OVC Freshman of the Week Taylor Roberts with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The Skyhawks would jump out to a quick lead, scoring just 11 seconds into the contest after receiving the opening tip. UT Martin would string together an 11-5 run midway through the period to push its margin out to as large as 11 points with 1:31 to play in the quarter. Following a three-pointer in the final minute by the Lady Tigers, the Skyhawks would take a 19-11 advantage into the second quarter.
The margin would fluctuate in the second quarter as Tennessee State would trim the deficit to as close as six points on a pair of occasions early in the period. UT Martin would respond however with a 7-0 run which gave the squad a 13-points midway through the period. From there play would level off as neither team found much offensive firepower as the Skyhawks took a 34-26 lead into halftime.
The third quarter would mark the highest scoring effort of the contest as both squads combined to score 46 points in the period. UT Martin would hold a lead as large as 14 points in the quarter before a Tennessee State run cut the margin down to six points following a jumper by Wooten with 1:22 to play in the third. While the Lady Tigers would look to build momentum, the Skyhawks would answer back with four points down the stretch to take a 10-point lead into the fourth.
Tennessee State would continue to bring the pressure in the fourth quarter with yet another run. The Lady Tigers strung together an 8-0 run to cut the margin from 12 points down to four following a free throw by Jade Wrightsell with four minutes to play. The Skyhawks would hold tight down the stretch however, pushing the margin up to double figures in the final minutes before securing an 80-68 home victory.
UT Martin will return to action on Saturday, Dec. 29 when playing host to defending OVC champion Belmont. Tipoff from the Elam Center is scheduled for 4 p.m.