MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team claimed a 72-48 victory over the visiting Central Arkansas Sugar Bears Saturday afternoon at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
“This is going to be a really good win for us,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. The fourth-year head coach said Central Arkansas is probably going to win their conference (Southland).
“The game you saw tonight was exactly the way last year’s game was played,” McMillan said. “They just wore us down.”
The Skyhawks battled this time around, winning the battle on the boards 31-28. Three players, Heather Butler,, Shelby Crawford and Rickiesha Bryant had four rebounds each.
“We played better defensively tonight,” McMillan said. “We just need to fix the rebounding effort.”
Jasmine Newsome led the Skyhawks in scoring with 25 points, while junior Megan White tossed in a career-high 13 points. Butler, a junior from Gibson County, added 11 points to run her streak of double-digit games to 71.
The Skyhawks went on a 33-8 run to claim a 20-point lead, 51-31, with 11:01 to play, and made three 3-points in the first five minutes of the second half to ignite the run. Freshman Katie Schubert made a pair of 3-pointers, while White knocked down her second trey of the game. Schubert scored a career-high eight points and had three rebounds in the game.
Newsome made two free throws with 1:45 to play in the first half and Bryant made a layup to give the Skyhawks a 28-23 lead at the intermission. Bryant had eight points in the game.
Newsome led all scorers in the first half with 14 points. She was 5-for-8 from the field with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Skyhawks a 20-14 advantage with 7:35 to play before the break.
Central Arkansas senior Megan Herbert made back-to-back 3-pointers to cut UT Martin’s lead to five points, 14-9, with 10:36 to play in the half. She finished the game with 18 points and seven rebounds. She had 13 of those 18 points in the first half.
The Skyhawks opened a 14-4 lead in the first half with a tenacious defense that recorded five consecutive stops. Offensively White and Newsome provided the spark. White knocked down a 3-pointer and then made a jumper to account for five of the Skyhawks’ points.
The Skyhawks will return to action Monday, Dec. 3 when they play at Southeastern Conference newcomer Missouri. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
“We got the pieces here,” McMillan said. “We just have to put the pieces together.”