MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team looked to have control of the contest in the fourth quarter before a costly nine-minute stretch without a field goal proved to be insurmountable, falling 81-76 to Morehead State in an Ohio Valley Conference overtime matchup.
The Skyhawks (7-11, 3-3 OVC) would hold a six-point lead with 4:53 to play in the fourth quarter before being held without a field goal until just over 90 seconds to play in overtime. Over the course of the dry stretch, Morehead State would outscore UT Martin 15-7 to ultimately pull away with the overtime victory.
UT Martin saw four players score in double figures, including a career-high from freshman Chelsey Perry with 21 points and nine rebounds to lead all scorers before fouling out in regulation. Sophomore Kendall Spray would overcome a brief ankle injury to score 17 points while Ashton Feldhaus (14 points) and Janekia Mason (11 points) would round out four Skyhawks in double figures.
“We are back to the team we were four games ago,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “We had control of the game and our leaders found a way to give it away. When the game gets close, you need someone to step up and have some guts. Tonight we just didn’t have anyone who wanted to step up and make a play to win the game. Sadly, we invent ways to lose and tonight we found yet another way.”
Morehead State (13-6, 4-2 OVC) would pick up its second win on the road trip behind a balanced scoring offense which boasted five players in double figures. Miranda Crockett would pace the Eagles with 19 points while Tierra McGowan posted a huge double-double with 17 points and 20 rebounds. The trio of Darianne Seward (14 points), Breuna Jackson (11 points) and Brooke Todd (10 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks) each eclipsed double digits.
The first quarter would go back and forth throughout as it featured five lead changes and four ties. Morehead State would hold a lead as high as five points in the opening quarter, finishing the first on a 7-0 run, resulting in a 24-19 lead heading into the second.
The Eagles would continue to stretch out their lead to open the second quarter, beginning the period of an 8-0 run resulting in a called timeout by the Skyhawks. With the Eagles’ lead out to as large as 13, the Skyhawks would string together a 9-2 run of their own to cut the margin to five points with two minutes to play in the half, forcing MSU to call its first timeout. Both teams would play even down the stretch with Morehead State taking a 42-37 advantage into halftime.
UT Martin used a 9-0 run midway through the third quarter to take its first lead at 51-50 since the first period following a layup by Robertson at the 4:15 mark. The lead change would be one of three in the period as the Skyhawks flipped the script to take a 56-54 lead into the fourth quarter.
The lead would change hands a pair of times in the opening five minutes of fourth quarter. The Skyhawks would string together a 9-0 run over the course of three minutes to not only retake the lead, but push their margin out to six points following an and-one by Feldhaus. UT Martin would be held without a field goal for the final five minutes of action which would prove costly as Morehead State tied the contest with 14 seconds left on a jumper by Seward to force overtime at 69-69.
Morehead State would continue to benefit from UT Martin’s inability to shoot from the field, stringing together a 7-0 run in overtime to take a five-point margin. The Skyhawks finally scored their first field goal since the 4:53 mark of the fourth quarter with a putback layup by Maddie Waldrop with 1:25 left to play in overtime. The Skyhawks would knock down a three-pointer late but the team’s offensive struggles would prove costly as UT Martin dropped the overtime contest 81-76.
UT Martin will hit the road for the first of its next four contests with a matchup at OVC foe Eastern Illinois on Thursday, Jan. 18. Tipoff from Lantz Arena is scheduled for 5:15 p.m.