MARTIN– Seniors Rickiesha Bryant and Shelby Crawford combined for more than 50 percent of The University of Tennessee at Martin’s rebounds Saturday afternoon against UAB at Bartow Arena in Birmingham.
It was enough for UT Martin to outrebound the host Blazers 43-42, but it wasn’t enough for the Skyhawks to wrap up their non-conference slate with a road victory. UAB claimed a 56-51 decision over UT Martin.
“We did some things well – we beat them on the boards and offensive glass and we didn’t turn the ball over very much,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “We just didn’t get to the foul line or make shots.”
The Skyhawks were 6-of-7 from the free throw line, while UAB was 17-of-23.
Junior guard Heather Butler finished the game with 20 points to lead UT Martin and all scorers. Butler scored 11 points in the final 3:26 of the game to keep the Skyhawks in the game down the stretch.
Bryant finished the game with 10 points and nine rebounds, while Crawford, who lives just two hours from Birmingham, led all rebounders with 11.
“We started to play with three minutes to go in this game,” McMillan said. “We took it from 12 points to four. We think we can come and play when we want to. We needed to learn from those games (Indiana State and Southern Miss) and we didn’t do it.”
The Skyhawks trailed by 12 points, 52-40, with 3:42 to play in the game.
Karisma Chapman led UAB with 17 points. Amber Jones, who didn’t play against Morehead State, finished the game with 12 points and Chelsee Black added 11 points.
With the setback, UT Martin will open Ohio Valley Conference play on Dec. 31 against Jacksonville State with a 5-9 worksheet. UAB, the second Conference USA team the Skyhawks have played in the last five days, is 8-3.
Both teams made five 3-pointers in the contest. UT Martin was 5-of-29 from behind the arc, while UAB was 5-of-13.
UT Martin enjoyed its largest lead of the game in the first half after weathering UAB’s 4-0 opening.
The Skyhawks answered UAB’s 4-0 game-opening lead with an 8-0 run which included 3-pointers by Butler and White. Crawford also added a layup.
Newsome added a pair of layups and the Skyhawks led 17-12 with 7:40 to play in the first half. However, UAB answered with a 14-0 run and claimed an 18-17 lead when Karisma Chapman made a layup with 5:54 to play in the half.
The Skyhawks scored for the first time in more than six minutes and cut UAB’s lead to four points, 24-20, when White made a 3-pointer with 3:14 to play.