EVANSTON, Ill. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball never led in its final non-conference contest of the season before suffering an 82-59 setback at Big Ten Conference foe Northwestern on Thursday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (3-10) concluded the squad’s rigorous non-conference slate with a three-game road trip against members of their respective Power 5 conferences. With an abundance of youth, the Skyhawks dropped its fifth consecutive road game after shooting just 33.9 percent from the floor while committing 19 turnovers.
Freshman Kendall Spray was the Skyhawks lone scorer in double figures, matching her previous career-high for the second straight game with 17 points. Fellow classmate Ansley Eubank ranked second on the team in scoring with seven points.
Northwestern (11-2) picked up its ninth win at home behind a strong performance from senior forward Nia Coffey who tallied 20 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks. Christen Inman also scored in double figures, tallying 14 points on the afternoon.
The Wildcats wasted little time getting on the board and taking an early 17-5 advantage in the first five minutes of the contest. After the early shell shock which featured a 10-0 run wore off, the Skyhawks would settle down as the squad was only outscored by three points down the stretch. With the strong first quarter by Northwestern, the Wildcats would hold a 29-14 advantage.
UT Martin would come out of the second quarter looking to show the squad deserved to be in the contest. After trailing by 15 after the first quarter, the Skyhawks would open the second by outscoring the Wildcats 13-5 – trimming the deficit to just seven points after knocking down a trifecta of three-pointers. Another 8-0 run by the Wildcats would stretch the margin back out before the half as the hosts took a 45-34 lead into the break.
Northwestern controlled the pace of the third quarter, holding UT Martin to just five points over the course of the 10-minute frame. The Wildcats would continue their impressive play in the fourth quarter with the margin reaching as high as 28 before eventually pulling off an 82-59 victory.
UT Martin will now turn its focus to Ohio Valley Conference play beginning on Thursday, Dec. 29 against Jacksonville State. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. as the front-end of a doubleheader.