MARTIN, Tenn. – A costly fourth quarter proved to be too much to overcome for the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team on Saturday afternoon, dropping its first Ohio Valley Conference home game since the 2013 season in an 89-68 setback to Morehead State.
The Skyhawks (4-11, 1-1 OVC) snapped their 27-game conference home winning streak which previously ranked as the fourth longest streak in the nation. The game also marked the worst conference loss in the Elam Center for the Skyhawks during the Kevin McMillan era – dating back to the 2008-09 campaign.
UT Martin was led in scoring by sophomore Myah Taylor who tallied 16 points along with four rebounds. Freshman Ansley Eubank tallied a career-high with 13 points while junior Janekia Mason joined the pair in double figures with 12 points of her own.
Morehead State (12-3, 2-0 OVC) capitalized in the contest by shooting 56.1 percent from the floor while scoring 58 points in the paint. The Eagles pushed their winning streak to seven games while placing five players in double figures – led by the play of Eriel McKee (18 points) and Shay Steele (17 points and 10 rebounds). Brianna McQueen (17), Miranda Crockett (14) and KayK Tate (13) also scored in double figures.
The game would go back and forth in the opening quarter of play with neither team leading by more than one possession at any moment in the period. Morehead State would see both Crockett and McKee open the game with six points in the opening quarter while UT Martin was led by Taylor’s seven points. Despite seeing the lead change hands six times along with five ties in the opening period, the Eagles would hold a narrow 20-18 advantage going into the second quarter.
Morehead State would never trail in the second quarter despite both teams scoring 18 points each in the period. While the lead never switched sides, the Skyhawks would tie the contest on four different occasions with the Eagles pushing its advantage out to as high as five points following a jumper by Tate with just over a minute to play in the half. The Skyhawks would ultimately trim the deficit back down to two points heading into the break as Taylor scored on a putback just before the buzzer to make it a 38-36 contest.
The third quarter would play much like the first two with neither team finding much breathing room on either side of the scoreboard. UT Martin would eventually take a lead for the first time since the opening quarter behind a pair of layups to give the home squad a four-point advantage midway through the period. After watching the contest reach its 11th tie following a layup by Crockett, Morehead State would string together an 8-0 run to push its margin out to six points on three different occasions in the period before ultimately taking a 62-58 lead into the fourth quarter.
Entering the fourth with a four-point advantage, Morehead State would look to put the game away in the fourth quarter and snap UT Martin’s conference home winning streak. The Eagles would open the fourth quarter on a 13-0 run capped off by a three-pointer by McQueen. A quick push by the Skyhawks would trim the margin back down to 15 points down the stretch before Morehead State put the game in cruise control to pick up an 89-68 road victory.
UT Martin will return to action with a nationally televised contest against preseason OVC favorites Belmont on Thursday, Jan. 5. Tipoff from the Curb Evens Center is scheduled for 4 p.m. and can be seen on ESPNU.