CAPE GIRARDEAU – On the night when one junior guard became The University of Tennessee at Martin’s all-time leading scorer, the other junior guard, Jasmine Newsome, scored a season-high 36 points to lead the visiting Skyhawks to an 82-71 victory over Southeast Missouri State.
Heather Butler tossed in 23 points and is now UT Martin’s all-time leading scorer with 1772 points. The Skyhawks improve to 8-11 overall and move to 3-2 in the Ohio Valley Conference.
“This is definitely moving in the right direction,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “While it was a move in the right direction, it was clunky. Hopefully we will make it smooth.”
Senior Rickiesha Bryant came to life in the second half. She scored 14 points, a dozen in the half, and then grabbed eight boards. She finished the game with a career-high 14 rebounds and her second career double-double.
The UT Martin offense scored 55 points in the second half. Both Newsome and Butler scored 12 points each in the first half and accounted for 24 of the Skyhawks’ 27 first-half points.
“I thought the offensive effort in the second half was really good,” McMillan said.
Newsome said she doesn’t keep up with her stats or the team’s numbers, but she thought the team did a better job in the second half.
“We did pretty good,” she said. “We had freshmen out there with targets on their backs. They are not used to that pressure.”
The Skyhawks sealed the victory in the final three minutes of the game by going 9-for-9 at the free throw line. Freshman Sydney VanLandingham made four of the nine shots.
The Skyhawks made 22 of 27 free throws in the game.
In the first half Southeast Missouri State claimed a 13-4 lead early, but UT Martin used a 16-7 run to knot the game at 20-all with 4:31 to play in the half.
In the second half, Southeast Missouri opened with a quick run, but Newsome gave the Skyhawks a 38-36 lead with 17:12 to play in the game. The game was tied at 44-, 46-, and 68-all.
Southeast Missouri State was led by Brittany Harriel, Allyson Bradshaw and Olivia Hackman with 13 points each. Kara Wright and Ballie Roberts added 10 points each.
The Skyhawks will return to action Saturday, Jan. 19, when they host Morehead State at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on campus. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m.
Junior Heather Butler extended her games with at least one 3-pointer to 65. Butler is closing in on the NCAA Division I record for most games (69) with a 3-pointer made. She also extended her streak of double-digit scoring games to 82.
Junior Heather Butler became UT Martin’s all-time leading scorer when she scored in the paint with 9:46 to play in the first half. She now has 1772 points.