UTM women fall to border rival Murray State at home
MARTIN, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team had its best shooting night since Dec. 3, but was unable to outlast Murray State, which claimed a 71-52 win Saturday night at Skyhawk Arena. Phyllisha Mitchell led UT Martin with 13 points and eight rebounds and was aided by Crystal Fuller’s 12 points and six boards, but the Racers were able to out-rebound the Skyhawks and take advantage of 13 turnovers to claim the win.
With the loss, UT Martin falls to 4-15 on the year and 1-8 in Ohio Valley Conference action. Murray State continues to climb up the OVC standings, improving its conference mark to 6-3 and to 12-5 overall.
Both teams opened the game at a frantic pace, scoring on almost every possession. Mitchell netted the first Skyhawk points with a layup on the opening possession. After only four minutes had ticked off the clock, a total of 24 points had been scored by both teams with Murray State taking a 13-11 advantage on an Angela Brown layup at the 16-minute mark.
UT Martin tied the game at 13 apiece, on a putback by Mitchell, but the Racer’s Amber Guffey was able to answer with a layup a minute later in addition to drawing a foul on Marie Goyette to convert an old-fashion three-point play. Crystal Fuller then answered on the following possession with a jumper and the trend continued for a majority of the first half. Each time the Racers took an advantage, the Skyhawks were able to answer right back. UT Martin tied the game on six occasions in the first half, but was never able to take a lead other than the 2-0 advantage at the start.
The second half saw Murray State clamp down defensively. After allowing the Skyhawks to shoot 46.2 percent in the first half, the Racers held the UT Martin scoring attack to only 34.5 percent shooting from the field in the second frame.
Murray State’s Shaleea Petty netted the first basket of the second half to give the Racers an eight-point lead and A.J. Adams answered the next time down the floor with a 3-point bucket. The Racers’ Ashley Hayes nailed a jumper, only to have it answered with a 3-pointer from Jennifer Angler, cutting the lead to four two minutes into the second half. It seemed the scoring frenzy would continue for the rest of the game as well.
At that point, though, is when the Racer defense settled in and allowed Murray State to go on a 21-4 run over the next eight minutes; the run featured 15 points from the duo of Hayes and Amber Guffey. With 9:49 left in the game, Murray State had pushed its lead to 21. The Skyhawks cut the lead to 17 two times down the stretch, but it was as close as they would come the rest of the evening. A late layup by Fuller cut the margin to 19 and set the final score at 71-52
“We flat out didn’t play well in the second half. There just wasn’t any consistency and they took it to us,” said Skyhawk head coach Tara Tansil. “We did a better job in the first half of not giving up the ball and finding a way to score. We need some more production from our guards right now and have to find a way to get that before the next game.”
Hayes led the scoring for Murray State with 22 points. Guffey added 16 points and Shaleea Petty chipped in 10. The Racers out-rebounded the Skyhawks, 36-31, and were able to force 13 turnovers, while giving the ball up only nine times on the night.
The Skyhawks will next make the Alabama swing of the OVC schedule as they face Samford on Thursday night and Jacksonville State on Saturday. Samford took the contest in Skyhawk Arena earlier this year by a score of 62-46. The Bulldogs were led by Monica Maxwell’s 14 points and seven rebounds. UT Martin will look to extract some revenge on Samford in their first trip to the newly opened Pete-Hanna Center on the Samford campus. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
UTM women fall in Clarksville on Lady Govs’ late charge
What began as a very slow-paced game ended with a late surge from Austin Peay’s Ashlee McGee, who netted nine points in the last two minutes to propel the Lady Govs to a 58-52 victory over UT Martin Thursday night in Clarksville. Crystal Fuller’s 19 points and Phyllisha Mitchell’s 18 rebounds were not enough to contain the Lady Govs’ second-half push.
Austin Peay snapped a nine-game skid to improve its record to 5-12 overall and 2-6 in Ohio Valley Conference play. Meanwhile, UT Martin fell to 4-14 on the year and 1-7 in league play.
UT Martin’s Victoria Carlile opened the game with a three-point bucket from the top of the key only 15 seconds into the action. The Lady Govs answered back with a pair of free throws from Ashley Herring, before Fuller rattled off six consecutive points for the Skyhawks over the next five minutes.
Fuller’s basket gave UT Martin a 9-6 advantage mid-way through the first half and the Skyhawks stretched it to a 14-8 lead with only eight minutes left in the half on a Mitchell old-fashion three-point play. However the Skyhawks did not score again until six minutes later when there were two minutes left in the half, allowing Austin Peay to chip away at the lead. The Lady Govs continued to cut into the Skyhawk lead until they took a one-point advantage off a 3-pointer from Alex Bivens at the 5:17 mark.
Austin Peay continued to build on its lead, until Fuller ended the UT Martin scoring drought with a jumper to cut the lead to 19-16. To end the half, both teams exchanged buckets to set the halftime score at 21-18.
A pair of Mitchell buckets and a layup from Fuller propelled the Skyhawks back into the lead, 24-23, only two minutes into the second half. UT Martin held that lead and pushed it to as much as 7 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Marie Goyette and Whitney Malone.
Austin Peay again began to chip away at the Skyhawk lead, pulling the score even on an Bivens jumper at the 10-minute mark. The Lady Govs and Skyhawks then swapped the lead three more times before McGee went on her two-minute assault to end the game. A Mitchell free throw gave UT Martin a one-point lead with 2:04 left in the game. McGee answered with a 3-point bucket on the next possession followed by a jumper from the paint the next time down the floor. After a Mitchell foul, McGee knocked down a pair of free throws to seal the game and set the final margin at 58-52.
In addition to Fuller’s 19 points and seven rebounds, Mitchell added 17 points to go along with her 18 rebounds. This was Mitchell’s sixth double-double of the season. Jennifer Angler led the Skyhawks in assists with six, only one short of her season high.
“We didn’t do a very good job closing out the game tonight,” said Skyhawk head coach Tara Tansil. “We had problems with their zone defense and turnovers really hurt us. We can’t give opportunities away like that and expect to win.”