MARTIN – The University of Tennessee at Martin rallied from an early first-half deficit to crush Austin Peay 84-57 in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center Monday afternoon.
“There was life in us that I haven’t seen this year,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “If we continue to play with the effort we did tonight, win or lose, I can’t complain.”
Junior Heather Butler led all scorers with 32 points and is now UT Martin’s second all-time leading scorer with 1732 points. Jasmine Newsome poured in 22 points, while Sydney Vanlandingham and Rickiesha Bryant scored 10 points each.
“You saw a look you haven’t seen from us this year,” McMillan said. “You saw pep in the step, chirping at teammates and potential. Our ultimate goal is to play a solid 40 minutes of basketball by March.”
The Skyhawks opened the second half with a 15-2 run and built a 53-30 lead with 15:12 to play in the game.
However, Austin Peay claimed an early advantage in the game and led 26-17 with 7:48 to play in the first half. Nicole Olszewski led the Lady Govs with 20 points and nine rebounds.
UT Martin answered with a 21-2 run to close out the first half. Newsome chipped in 16 first-half points, while Butler tossed in 13. Both players each drained a pair of 3-pointers.
McMillan said his team’s 1-3-1 defense made the biggest difference in the game. “It led to five, six, seven, and eight consecutive stops.”
With the victory the Skyhawks improved to 7-10 overall and 2-1 in the Ohio Valley Conference standings. The Skyhawks will return to action Saturday, Jan. 12, when they play at Belmont. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Curb Events Center.