CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team knocked down 14 three-pointers to hold off a late comeback to secure an 82-73 Ohio Valley Conference victory at Southeast Missouri on Saturday afternoon.
The Skyhawks (10-17, 7-7 OVC) won their fourth consecutive victory and sixth in the last seven contest by shooting over 49 percent from the floor while knocking down 14 three-pointers. The win helped break a tie in the league standings with Southeast Missouri in the team’s push towards a berth in the upcoming OVC Basketball Championship.
UT Martin placed four players in double figures led by the play of freshman standout Kendall Spray who led all scorers with 26 points. Spray shot 9-of-13 from the floor while going perfect from beyond the arc by tying her previous career-high with eight three-pointers. Junior Ashton Feldhaus posted a well-rounded contest with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists while Myah Taylor notched 11 points and six rebounds. Junior Janekia Mason also notched her second career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
“We made some big plays and Kendall hit some huge threes for us,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “I don’t think we necessary played well because we didn’t execute and gave up too many easy baskets. There were stretches where we played really well and others where it was pretty rough. With that being said, they continue to find a way to win and there is something to that.”
Southeast Missouri (12-15, 6-8 OVC) dropped the contest despite a strong shooting performance themselves which equaled UT Martin with 14 made three-pointers. Ashton Luttrull led the Redhawks with 23 points of the bench, scoring all of her points in the second half alone to key the squad’s late comeback attempt. Bri Mitchell flirted with a triple-double, tallying 15 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds while Hannah Noe and Dolapo Balogun scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Both teams would play tight through the opening quarter of play which featured a pair of ties and six lead changes in the first 10 minutes of the game. Feldhaus and Spray would play a big part in the strong first quarter, combining to score 13 of the team’s 24 first quarter points. Southeast’s duo of Mitchell and Noe would each score six points each but it would not be enough as UT Martin took a 24-21 advantage into the second quarter.
After several lead changes in the first quarter, UT Martin would control the tempo of the second, pushing the team’s lead out to as high as 11 points midway through the quarter. The Skyhawks would start the period on an 8-3 lead before the Redhawks looked to slow the pace with a timeout. Despite the called timeout, UT Martin would stay aggressive, watching both Spray and Feldhaus reach double figures as the squad took a 42-33 lead at halftime.
Southeast Missouri would not go quietly however, turning up the pace in the third quarter behind a hot shooting performance from beyond the arc. The Redhawks would tally six three-pointers in the quarter, led by five trifectas from Luttrull alone. Behind the strong play and timely shooting presence, the Redhawks would outscore the Skyhawks 24-15 in the third quarter to send the game tied into the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw the lead change hands twice before UT Martin finished the game strong down the stretch. Spray tallied 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter alone while the Skyhawks outscore the Redhawks 25-16 in the period. With the strong play, UT Martin picked up its fourth straight victory by a final score of 82-73.
UT Martin will return to action on Wednesday, Feb. 22 when traveling to league foe Austin Peay. Tipoff from the Dunn Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.