January 18, 2017

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Hampered by a short bench, the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team relied on a career night from Kendall Spray before ultimately dropping its ninth consecutive road contest at Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Illinois with an 80-70 overtime loss.

The Skyhawks (4-15, 1-5 OVC) dropped the team’s fifth consecutive OVC contest while playing in their second overtime contest in three games. Faced with an uphill battle before tipoff as the Skyhawks entered the contest with just eight players available, all five starters were forced to play over 34 minutes. The mixture didn’t prove well for the visitors as Eastern Illinois dominated the battle of the boards by 16 while scoring 26 second chance points.  

Faced with a 12-point deficit at one point, UT Martin would string together a strong third quarter to eliminate the margin and ultimately take a lead. The advantage would be short-lived though however as the Panthers rallied back to force overtime before ultimately outscoring the Skyhawks 12-2 in the extra period to secure the home victory.

UT Martin was led by the play of freshman sharpshooter Spray who flirted with both the conference and program single-game three-pointer record. Spray led all scorers with 33 points – including going 8-of-14 from beyond the arc. She completed her stat line by tying for the team lead with six rebounds and four steals. Supporting Spray on her career night was reigning OVC Newcomer of the Week Ashton Feldhaus with 19 points and six boards.

“Tonight we just weren’t able to get it done,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “We just couldn’t get a break down the stretch when we really needed one. We gave ourselves a chance to win the game but we just came out and couldn’t execute or rebound in overtime.”

Eastern Illinois (6-13, 2-5 OVC) snapped its four-game losing streak in the overtime victory behind a balanced scoring attack. Reigning OVC Freshman of the Week Allison Van Dyke led the team with 23 points while guard Grace Lennox battled foul trouble before tallying 19 points and nine rebounds. Forward Erica Brown rounded out the Panthers in double figures with a 13 point, 15 rebound double-double.

UT Martin will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 21 when playing OVC rival SIUE in a doubleheader. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and will include a recognition of last season’s OVC championship along with Alumni Night.