Fuller scores career high against Jax State, but lone warrior not enough for UTM victory
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. — Senior Crystal Fuller scored a career-high 35 points and made a career-high 15-of-19 free throws against host Jacksonville State Saturday afternoon to flirt with two of UT Martin’s most ominous school records.
While Fuller, from nearby Huntingdon, was just five points shy of tying the UT Martin record for most points scored in a single game and one point away from tying the school’s mark for most free throws in a game, the visiting Skyhawks couldn’t complement Fuller’s effort to pull out an Ohio Valley Conference win.
“Crystal played unbelievable,” said Tara Tansil, the Skyhawks head coach. “She was our only warrior out there on the floor today. We didn’t have enough bodies out there with her.”
Jacksonville State took advantage of double-digit scoring from four players and posted a 64-52 victory over the Skyhawk women in Pete Mathews Coliseum.
With the setback, the Skyhawks fall to 1-10 in the Ohio Valley Conference standings and 4-17 on the season. Jacksonville State is 6-6 in the league race and 9-12 on the year.
Jacksonville State opened the contest with a 14-4 run before Fuller and the Skyhawk offense could get on track.
Fuller scored the first 10 points of the game for the Skyhawks. She scored 20 of her 35 points in the first half and the closest UT Martin could get was nine points, 28-19, with 4:17 to play.
Shooting woes hurt the Skyhawks in the first half. The team shot just 33 percent from the field and was 0-12 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes of play.
“We had a lot of open looks in the first half where we had time to shoot,” said Tansil. “At the Division I level when that happens the ball has to go in. We have to step up and shoot better on a daily basis.”
Victoria Carlile knocked down the Skyhawks’ first 3-pointer of the game with 13:55 to play in the contest and the Skyhawks pulled to within seven points, 44-37.
Jacksonville State used a 10-2 run to stretch its lead back to 15 points and never looked back.
“When they made their run we gave up too many easy baskets,” said Tansil. “We are not very poised offensively to answer back. We rushed too many shots.”
The Skyhawks shot 44 percent from the field in the second half and 37 percent for the game. The Skyhawks managed to hit three 3-pointers in the game and shot 18 percent from behind the arch.
Jacksonville State’s effort was paced by Cierra Duhart, who scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Danielle Beneby and Zenobia Pitts scored 13 points each, while Cassi Stuart tossed in 10 points.
The Skyhawk women return to action Thursday, Jan. 31 when they host Tennessee Tech in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
Skyhawk women fall to Samford on road despite a near career night from Fuller
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team lost to Samford University for the second time this season when the Bulldogs were able to hold the Skyhawks to only 24 percent shooting from the field on Thursday night. UT Martin fell 56-41, despite bringing the score as close as six in the second half. Crystal Fuller led the Skyhawk scoring attack with 25 points, only one short of a career high.
With the loss, UT Martin falls 4-16 on the year and 1-9 in Ohio Valley Conference play. Samford moves to 14-6 on the year and continues to hover near the top of the conference standings with a 7-3 OVC worksheet.
After having their best shooting game since early December against Murray State last time out, UT Martin found itself in what has become an all too familiar scenario to start the game against Samford. UT Martin opened the first 10 minutes of action, shooting only six percent from the field on 1-of-16 shooting. The lone points in the first 10 minutes of the contest came from a Phyllisha Mitchell jumper two minutes into the game, but it would be Mitchell’s only points of the game.
An A.J. Adams layup ended the Skyhawks’ near eight-minute shooting drought at the 10:07 point in the first half, followed by a Fuller layup the next trip down the floor to cut the Bulldog lead to 12-6. While struggling to score early in the game, UT Martin’s defense was able to curtail the Samford scoring attack early and keep the game close.
At the half, Samford had pushed its lead to nine at 25-16 and they added to that right out of the gate in the second period with a layup from Emily London on the first play of the half. Fuller answered with a layup and would go on to score the first 12 points of the second half for the Skyhawks.
A Fuller layup at the 15:41 mark on the game clock cut the Bulldogs’ lead to only six, but that would be the closest the Skyhawks would be the rest of the night. After UT Martin cut the lead to six, Samford answered with a 12-0 run to push the lead out to 18 at the 9:34 mark. The Bulldogs would go on to increase their lead to as many as 21 in the second half, before having the final margin of victory set at 15 on an Adams jumper to close out the game.
In addition to Fuller’s 25-point output, Adams was the next leading scorer with six followed by Marie Goyette’s five points. Goyette lead the rebounding attack with nine, followed by Fuller with eight on the night. Savannah Hill netted a career-high 23 points to lead the Bulldogs.