MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team used an offensive explosion to down Ohio Valley Conference East rival Tennessee Tech 102-78 on Monday night.
The Skyhawks (14-6, 7-0 OVC) shot an impressive 60 percent from the field, including 59 percent from beyond the arc with 13 three-pointers made. Forcing 19 turnovers while tallying 12 steals on the night, the Skyhawks cruised to its second triple digit performance in three games.
The trio of Jasmine Newsome, Heather Butler and Ashia Jones stole the show for the Skyhawks on the night. Newsome led the way for the Skyhawks with a game high 36 points while notching seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Butler tallied 35 points while tying a career best with seven three pointers made, to go along with five rebounds. Jones returned to the lineup for the Skyhawks, scoring 19 points. The trio scored 76 consecutive points for the Skyhawks, spanning over 28 minutes of play, totaling 90 points on the night.
“We made a lot of shots and I thought our defensive effort and rebounding got better after the opening minutes of the game,” said UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan. “You cannot count on shooting this good every night, so we have to continue to strive towards finishing a complete game by doing all the little things well. If Ashia can keep putting together the numbers you saw tonight to complement Butler and Newsome, we can be incredible.”
Tennessee Tech (7-12, 4-2 OVC) placed three players in double figures, led by the play of Candace Parson. Parson led the way with 13 points while Molly Heady and T’Keyah Williams tallied 12 and 11 points, respectively. Mariah Dean tallied six points while snagging a game high 10 rebounds for the Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles came out with a furious start on both ends of the floor. Forcing the Skyhawks into two early turnovers while tallying eight rebounds, the Golden Eagles would jump out to a quick 8-4 lead. The Skyhawks would respond with back-to-back layups to cut the deficit to 10-8 at the first break.
The Skyhawks responded with a quick 9-5 run of their own to retake the lead with 11:25 to play. Both Butler and Newsome scored three points each while a rebound putback by Tiara Caldwell gave the Skyhawks the 17-15 lead.
UT Martin would use the next break to separate themselves from Tennessee Tech. Putting together a 16-3 run, the Skyhawks would take a 31-20 lead with 7:24 to play in the first. The Skyhawk defense forced four turnovers during the span, leading to nine points off turnovers.
The Skyhawks kept their foot on the gas, outscoring the Golden Eagles 13-7 over the ensuing four minutes of play. Forcing an additional three turnovers, the duo of Newsome and Butler would combine for all 13 of the Skyhawks points.
The Golden Eagles would look to slow down the Skyhawks’ offensive pace, forcing four turnovers in the final minutes of the first half. Ultimately UT Martin would finish the half with a 9-6 advantage, taking a 50-36 lead into the halftime break. Newsome and Butler would each lead the Skyhawks with 18 points. The Golden Eagles placed just one in double figures in the first half, led by 10 points from Heady.
UT Martin looked to add to its cushion to open the second half, outscoring Tennessee Tech 12-7 in the opening four minutes of play. The Skyhawks trio of Butler, Newsome and Jones each tallied four points during the span as Jones joined double figures. Three players scored for the Golden Eagles as Parsons joined double figures with a field goal.
Tennessee Tech would outscore the host 19-13 over the ensuing five minute span to trim the UT Martin to 75-62 with 10:43 to play. The Golden Eagles got five points from Cat Taylor and T’Keyah Williams each during the run. Butler, Newsome and Jones once against tossed in all of the team’s 13 points during the span.
The Skyhawks would put together a 10-4 run in response to the Tech’s strong play. Newsome tallied six points while Butler tossed in addition four to give the duo both 30 plus points on the night.
A three pointer by Katie Schubert at the 2:24 mark of the second half marked the first points by a Skyhawk other than Butler, Newsome or Jones since the 10:55 mark of the first. The span ranged 28:29 and saw the trio combine for 76 points.
The Skyhawks would reach triple digits for the second time in three games on a three-pointer by Megan White to cap the Skyhawks offensive night. UT Martin would wrap up the victory by a final score of 102-78.
UT Martin will be back in action on Saturday, Jan. 25 when they play host to SIU Edwardsville. Action from the Elam Center is schedule to get underway at 2 p.m. with the women playing in game one of the doubleheader.