GREENSBORO, NC – The turnover bug bit the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team for the second time this season as 24 turnovers proved to be too costly before falling to North Carolina A&T 74-59 on Monday evening.
The Skyhawks (0-2) could not outshoot the team’s turnover woes for the second time in as many games. UT Martin shot just 39.2 percent from the field while converting 13-of-21 free throw attempts.
Shy Copney provided a spark in her season debut, tallying 12 points and four rebounds to lead the Skyhawks. Freshman Kendall Spray tallied 11 points in the contest while Janekia Mason tossed in six points, six rebounds and a pair of steals.
North Carolina A&T (1-1) picked up its first win of the season behind a hectic defensive approach. The Lady Aggies saw three players score in double figures while shooting 44.8 percent from the floor. The duo of Aliyah Kilpatrick and Quenswayla Story each tallied 15 points to lead all players in scoring. Dana Brown was close behind by tallying 14 points – including four three-pointers.
UT Martin would come out of the gates looking to make a statement in the opening minutes of the contest, leading by as many as eight points midway through the first. The Skyhawks would benefit from three key turnovers before taking a 10-2 lead with 5:16 to play. Following the big run, NC A&T would big its comeback attempt, taking its first lead at the 1:31 mark on an and-one by Michelle Fitzgerald.
The Skyhawks would look for some breathing room to open the second, starting the quarter on a 7-0 in the opening three minutes of play. Despite the strong push, a layup by Mason with 7:23 would mark the Skyhawks’ final field goal of the first half, giving the Lady Aggies an opening. With the Skyhawks leading by three with just over a minutes left in the first, the Lady Aggies would respond by taking an 8-0 run and a 34-29 lead into the break.
The second half would see North Carolina A&T push the tempo. Coming out of the locker room, NC A&T would score nine unanswered points to push the margin out to 14. The Skyhawks would look to get the score back to single digits, notching the feat following a three-pointer by Ashton Feldhaus and a layup by Emily Eubank to trim the margin to nine points on a pair of occasions.
Needing a quick start to the fourth, UT Martin would cut the 12-point third-quarter deficit down to six following a quick 6-0 run with baskets by Copney, Spray and Ta’Naisha Hill. Despite cutting the margin down to just two possessions, North Carolina A&T would not break, pushing its margin up to a high as 17 points in the final minute before cruising to a 74-59 victory.
UT Martin will have little time to recover before its next contest. The Skyhawks will take on Western Carolina on Wednesday, Nov. 16. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.