MARTIN, Tenn. – The No. 6 Louisville Cardinals found out The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team was for real Monday night in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
Similar to the way UT Martin battled defending national champion Baylor and No. 4 Stanford in the Rainbow Wahine Classic in Hawaii last week, the Skyhawks rallied down the stretch and pulled within 11 points twice in the second half to undefeated Louisville. However, Louisville managed to post a 79-61 victory.
“Overall we had a good effort tonight, but we have a lot of things to work on,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “We are not defending well and we are not rebounding.”
UT Martin was out-rebounded by Louisville 40-22 and five Cardinals scored in double-figures. Shoni Schimmel and Bria Smith led the way with 16 points each, while Megan Deines finished with 15 points. Sara Hammond scored 14 points and Monique Reid tossed in 10 points.
The Skyhawks were led by junior guards Heather Butler with 17 points and Jasmine Newsome with 16 points. Junior Megan White netted a trio of 3-pointers.
Freshman Cortrice Golden led the Skyhawks with five rebounds. She had eight points and fouled out after 11 minutes.
“We can score against teams like Baylor, Stanford and now Louisville, but we have to learn to stop them,” McMillan said.
The Skyhawks averaged 78.3 points per game against Baylor, Stanford and Louisville. They played all three nationally ranked teams within 10 days.
With 7:20 to play in the game, White knocked down a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it a 16-point ballgame.
The Skyhawks cut the Cardinals lead to 15 points when Butler canned a 3-pointer from the right wing. The trey was part of the Skyhawks’ 21-19 run to open the second half.
At the half, UT Martin trailed 41-22, but the Skyhawks outscored the Cardinals 7-4 in the last 1:53 of the half.
Butler led the Skyhawks with nine points, while White knocked down a pair of 3-pointers. Louisville won the battle on the boards 23-9.
With 7:58 to play in the first half, the Skyhawks trailed 24-10. Louisville shot a blistering 72 percent from the field, while the Skyhawks shot 33 percent. Louisville scored 13 points off turnovers and out-scored UT Martin 8-0 on second chance baskets in the first half.
The Skyhawks will return to action Wednesday, Nov. 28, when they play at Evansville.