MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team closed out the home portion of its non-conference schedule with a 93-77 victory over Missouri Valley Conference foe Evansville on Monday night. The win marked the fourth consecutive victory over the Purple Aces since 2010.
The Skyhawks (4-2) shot an impressive 50.7 percent from the floor, including 47.6 percent from beyond the arc. In addition to the team’s hot shooting, the Skyhawks won nearly every statistical category of the night, including winning the battle of the boards and forcing 17 turnovers.
UT Martin was led by senior guard Heather Butler who tallied a game-high 34 points, notching her third 30-plus point performance in the last four games. Classmate Jasmine Newsome flirted with a double-double, tossing in 14 points while tallying nine assists to go along with five steals.
The freshmen post duo of Tiara Caldwell and Ashia Jones tallied 12 and 10 points, respectively, to round out the four Skyhawks to score in double figures.
Evansville (3-4) looked to the duo of Sara Dickey and Mallory Ladd to lead the way for the Aces. Dickey led the Aces with 23 points while Ladd tallied 21 points and a game-high nine rebounds.
The Skyhawks looked to Caldwell early in the game, tallying eight of the Skyhawks first 12 points of the night on 4-of-5 shooting. Behind the solid play of Caldwell, the Skyhawks jumped out to a 12-9 lead at the 15:26 mark.
UT Martin would look to stretch their lead over the next three minutes, posting a 9-2 run to extend the game to a 10-point margin.
Newsome would begin to leave her mark on the evening over the next five minutes, tallying her 10th point just 11 minutes into the game. The Skyhawks would narrowly outscore the Aces over the five minute stretch, pushing the Skyhawk lead out to 33-21 going into the 7:28 media break.
Redshirt freshman Jordan Johnson made her career debut at the 6:10 mark for the Skyhawks, wasting little time leaving her mark on the box score. On the forward’s first possession, she drew a foul before sinking a pair of free throws. Just three possessions later, it was Johnson again who hit a three-pointer to extend the Skyhawk lead out to eight.
The Skyhawks closed out the first half on a 14-6 run and a game-high 16 point lead, going into the break on top 52-36. Butler led the Skyhawks with 13 points while Newsome tallied 12 points, six assists and five steals. Caldwell and the Aces’ Dickey rounded out double-figure scorers with 10 points each.
Evansville opened the second half with an 11-8 advantage going into the first media break. Butler scored six of the team’s eight points over the span of 4:33. Dickey led the Aces’ with four points of her own.
The Aces continued to scratch their way back into the ball game in the second half by going on an 11-5 run of their own going into the 11:55 media timeout. Ladd continued her impressive streak by scoring seven points over the four minute period. The Skyhawks held a slim 65-58 lead with just under 12 minutes to play in the contest.
UT Martin would look for a little space, using a 10-6 advantage to give the Skyhawks a 75-66 lead. It was Butler who once again spurred the Skyhawk offense with six points during the four minute span.
The Skyhawks would increase their lead to 83-73 with just under four minutes to play.
Evansville would make a final push in the game’s final minutes, but would get no closer than 12 as the Skyhawks cruised to a 93-77 victory over Evansville.
UT Martin will return to action over the Thanksgiving break when they take on Winthrop on Friday, Nov. 29 in the Robert Morris Thanksgiving Classic in Pittsburgh, Pa. Action from day one of the two-day tournament is set to get underway at 3 p.m. Central time.