CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team put together a dominating second half performance to pick up the Ohio Valley Conference road victory over Southeast Missouri 102-70. With the victory, the Skyhawks clinched the OVC West Division championship and are ensured at least the No. 2 seed and a double-bye in the OVC Tournament.
The Skyhawks (18-7, 11-1 OVC) shot over 50 percent from the field on the afternoon, including 43 percent from beyond the arc. The Skyhawks forced 28 turnovers to outscore the Redhawks 57-32 in the second half.
Putting together yet another dominating performance was freshman Ashia Jones. Jones was highly efficient from the field, converting on 10-of-11 field goal opportunities while knocking down 7-of-9 free throw attempts. For the night, Jones tied a career high with 27 points while grabbing a personal best 15 rebounds. Tossing in a career night of her own was sophomore Katie Schubert. Schubert knocked down six field goals, including three from beyond the arc to score a personal best 19 points. Seniors Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome joined in the action, scoring 19 and 18 points, respectively.
“The first 10 minutes of the second half was exactly what we have been asking of our kids,” said UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan. “We are pushing our girls to play as hard as they can for 40 minutes. I thought after the first 10 minutes of the game, our effort began to intensify and came out of the break playing extremely well. Before the game I told the coaches that we had to have a big game from Ashia and I thought she was huge for us.”
“Right now winning the division doesn’t mean a whole lot to us. The best part about doing it so early is that we can begin to rest some of our kids down the stretch. At the end of the day, we have our sights set above just a division championship and keep our focus on being the best team which we can be.”
Southeast Missouri (8-17, 4-8 OVC) shot 48 percent for the game, but just 38 percent from beyond the arc. The Redhawks were led by Allyson Bradshaw who tallied 17 points while Olivia Hackmann tossed in 10 points to round out double figure scores.
UT Martin would strike first in the game with a three-pointer from Schubert. The Redhawks would respond by putting together a quick 5-0 run to take the lead before Jones ended the spurt with a 10-foot jumper. Schubert and Jordan Hunter would exchange back-to-back three’s as both teams would head into the opening media break tied at eight a piece.
The Redhawks would outscore the Skyhawks 12-10 over the next four minutes, led by the play of Bradshaw who tallied six points during the span. Jones led the way for the Skyhawks with four points.
Southeast Missouri continued their intensity coming out of the break, scoring four quick unanswered points before Chelsea Roberts knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing to end the run. Another trifecta by Shai Warfield-Cross tied the game at 24-all. The Skyhawks would outscore the Redhawks 8-6 before the media break.
Jones would lead the way for the Skyhawks through the next several minutes, tallying five points during the span to take the 35-33 lead into the final media time out of the first half. Connor King, Bradshaw and Hunter each scored for the Redhawks, but were outscored by the Skyhawks 9-7.
The Skyhawks would close out the first half on a 10-5 run, leading 45-38 at the break. Both teams would shoot an impressive 50 percent from the field in the opening half. The first half belonged to Jones who led all scorers with 19 points and eight rebounds in the first. Southeast Missouri was led in scoring by Bradshaw who tallied 11 points.
UT Martin came out firing in the second half as Butler hit a pair of three-pointers, causing Southeast Missouri to call their first timeout just 33 seconds into the second half. The Skyhawks would jump out to an 8-0 run to begin the second half before Kara Wright would end the run with a right wing jumper. Newsome and Butler both joined Jones in double figures during the opening minutes as the trio combined for all 15 of the team’s points to outscore the Redhawks 15-5.
With their foot still on the accelerator, the Skyhawks would continue their torrid pace. As the Skyhawks led 74-49 with 11:06 to play in the game, UT Martin scored the Redhawks 29-11 through the first nine minutes of the second period. Schubert knocked down another pair of three-pointers to move into double figures while Newsome and Butler scored four points each as the Skyhawks built another 14-6 run.
The Skyhawks put together an 11-0 run over the next several minutes. During the span which the Skyhawks extended their lead, Schubert hit back-to-back threes to eclipse double figures. At the next media break, the Skyhawks would lead 89-57 with six minutes to play.
Both teams would score 13 points each to close out the game, but the Skyhawks would be too much for the Redhawks. With the Skyhawks scoring 102 points on the afternoon, they notched their sixth 100-plus outing of the year and second against the Redhawks.
UT Martin will return to action after a quick break when they face Tennessee State on Monday, Feb. 17. Action from the Elam Center is set to get underway at 7 p.m. Monday’s game will be a collaboration with UT Martin’s Relay for Life as the Skyhawks Pink Out the Elam Center. UT Martin’s Relay for Life team will have a chili supper available for $6 per person will all proceeds going towards cancer research.