WOMEN'S HOOPS BEGINS ROAD SLATE AT NEW OVC MEMBER BELMONT ON SATURDAY
The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team will venture away from the friendly confines of the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center for the first time in 2013. The destination Nashville and host Belmont. Action is set for 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 12, at the Curb Event Center.
The Skyhawk women enter the game after winning two of their first three conferences game. The victories over Jacksonville State and Austin Peay were convincing, while the setback over Murray State show the team could be beat.
Junior guard Heather Butler has averaged 25.2 points the last two games and scored a season-high 32 points in the 84-57 victory over Austin Peay.
“There was life in us that I haven’t seen this year,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “If we continue to play with the effort had against Austin Peay, win or lose, I can’t complain.”
Butler is now UT Martin’s second all-time leading scorer with 1732 points. Junior Jasmine Newsome poured in 22 points, while Sydney Vanlandingham and Rickiesha Bryant scored 10 points each against the Lady Govs.
“You saw a look you haven’t seen from us this year,” McMillan said. “You saw pep in our step, chirping at teammates and potential. Our ultimate goal is to play a solid 40 minutes of basketball by March.”
After closing the first-half with a 21-2 run against Austin Peay, the Skyhawks opened the second half with a 15-2 run and built a 53-30 lead with 15:12 to play.
McMillan said his team’s 1-3-1 defense made the biggest difference in the game. “It led to five, six, seven, and eight consecutive stops."
Belmont enters the OVC battle with a 3-1 OVC slate and an 8-8 overall worksheet. The Lady Bruins have won three of their last four league games, with the lone setback being a 58-52 loss at Tennessee Tech.
Senior Katie Brooks led the team in scoring in both road games. She netted 19 points and shot 57 percent from the field in the victory at Jacksonville State.
Sophomore Jordyn Luffman, the league’s defending Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week, put up 10 points against Tennessee Tech and added eight points against Jacksonville State.
This is an East vs. West showdown with Belmont sitting in second place in the East and UT Martin tied for first in the West.
Fans can catch all the video action live on the OVC Digital Network at this link: http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/showcase/#Live/403. Chris Brinkley will be on the call locally on Star 95.1 FM, while live stats will be provided here: http://livestats.prestosports.com/belmont/wbkb/?e=dt58gw8nau8mc23l .
- Junior Heather Butler extended her games with at least one 3-pointer to 63. Butler is closing in on the NCAA Division I record for most games (69) with a 3-pointer made. She also extended her streak of double-digit scoring games to 80.
- Junior Jasmine Newsome is 24-of-27 at the free throw line in her last six games.