MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball saw six players score in double figures to pick up the Ohio Valley Conference divisional victory over SIU Edwardsville, 111-72, on Saturday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (15-6, 8-0 OVC) continued their season-best eight game winning streak to remain perfect in OVC play while remaining 4-0 against West division opponents. The team’s 111 points ranked as the second highest in program history and most ever scored at home. The Skyhawks have scored 100-plus in two straight games while tallying their third triple digit game in the last four games.
Several players contributed for the Skyhawks offensive outburst in a game which saw 12 career highs be set or tied. A total of six players scored in double figures for the Skyhawks, led by freshmen Ashia Jones who tossed in 19 points and Elizabeth Masengil who tied a career high with 17 points. Senior guards Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler tossed in 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Freshman Tiara Caldwell finished with 12 points while Karisma Tyson tossed in 10 points of her own. Shai Warfield-Cross made the most of her second career start, tallying nine points to go with a game high 10 rebounds, four assist and three steals.
“I thought that the first twelve minutes of the game was a little clunky, and we wanted the game to get sped up,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “We began to push the effort both offensively and defensively, which led to good looks. Once we were able to create a lot of problems on the defensive side of the ball, it led to forcing 27 turnovers. We’re starting to put together good things, but we can’t settle for good as we move towards trying to be a great team.”
SIU Edwardsville (5-15, 2-6 OVC) placed two players in double figures, led by the play of Micah Jones who tallied team highs with 20 points and five rebounds. CoCo Moore joined Jones in double figures, scoring 12 points and tallying a team high six assists.
SIUE jumped out to a quick 4-2 lead before freshman Warfield-Cross made her presence known, knocking down a pair of three-pointers to give the Skyhawks the 8-4 lead. A forced turnover by Warfield-Cross, took the Skyhawks into the first media break with the lead.
The Cougars responded with a 9-5 run to tie the game at 13 at the next media timeout. Three players contributed to the Cougars run, while forcing three Skyhawk turnovers.
The Skyhawks would turn up the intensity over the next four minutes, forcing three turnovers while converting on those opportunities for seven points. Outscoring the Cougars 16-8 during the span, the Skyhawks jumped out to a 29-21 lead while making three trifectas. Masengil made her return to the lineup after missing two games with leg strain to tally five quick points.
UT Martin kept up the pace, outscoring the Cougars 13-7 to push their lead out to 42-28 with 3:27 to play in the first. Tyson knocked down a pair of three point field goals while senior Megan White tossed in her second trifecta of the afternoon to pace the Skyhawks.
Butler would score six points in the closing minutes of the first half to put her in double figures for the 118th straight game. The Skyhawks would put together a 15-4 run to end the first period, taking a 57-32 advantage into the break. The Skyhawks were led in scoring by Butler and Masengil who each tallied 10 points each. Warfield-Cross joined the duo with nine points and eight rebounds. The Cougars were led in scoring by Jones who had nine points.
The Skyhawks picked up where they left off to open the second half, outscoring their opponent 11-6. Hampered by foul trouble in the first, Newsome scored four quick points to open the second half while Katie Schubert knocked down her second three-pointer of the game to stretch the team’s lead.
The ensuing four minutes saw the Skyhawks outscore the Cougars 16-9 while forcing three additional turnovers. Newsome and Jones both joined the Skyhawks in double figures as the duo combined for 13 of the team’s 16 points during the span.
The Skyhawks would outscore the Cougars 21-14 over the next seven minutes of play to extend their 103-61 lead with 3:12 left to play in the game. The Skyhawks scored in triple digits for the third time in the last four contests, including in back-to-back contests.
UT Martin would finish with its high scoring output of the season with the 111-72 victory, falling just three points shy of the program scoring record of 114. The Skyhawks will be back in action on Monday, Jan. 27 when they host defending OVC champion Eastern Illinois. Tipoff from the Elam Center is schedule for 7 p.m.