Skyhawk women extend home win streak to 9 then 10

Skyhawk women extend home win streak to 9 then 10

Posted: Friday, January 14, 2011 12:42 pm

With wins over Tennessee State and Austin Peay, the University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team extended its home winning streak to 10 games.

UT MARTIN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAM RALLIES WITH ABSENCE OF FRESHMAN GUARD

MARTIN, Tenn. – For once, the Butler didn’t do it. The nation’s leading freshman scorer and five-time Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Week Heather Butler was not in uniform for The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball game Thursday night because she was at home battling strep throat.
But the host Skyhawks didn’t miss Butler and her 20.9 points per game against visiting Austin Peay. Instead the Skyhawks rallied around a trio of freshmen and a junior college transfer to claim a 78-54 OVC win over the Lady Govs.
The victory marks the ninth consecutive time the Skyhawks have won on their home court in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center and improves the upstart team’s OVC worksheet to 3-1 on the year.
UT Martin second-year head coach Kevin McMillan said he hopes his team grew up with the victory and Butler’s absence. “Whatever we think we did tonight it will take about a week for us to see it or realize what we did.”
While it was a 24-point win for the Skyhawks, Austin Peay made the first run in the game by jumping out to a 5-0 lead with 18:36 to play in the first half.
Taylor Hall, the junior college transfer from Roane State, drained her first 3-point attempt of the game with 16:29 to play and McMillan was pleased. “I thought that was the biggest shot of the game,” he said. “It did two things for us. It showed this team that we could score without Butler and I thought Taylor Hall stepped up and was our leader in the first half.”
Hall finished the game with 12 points on four 3-pointers and five rebounds. Freshman Jasmine Newsome from Millington led all scorers with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Freshman Beth Hawn, making her first start since Dec. 7 at Missouri, was 7-for-11 from the field and scored 14 points. Freshman Jaclissa Haislip from Murfreesboro netted 13 points and led the Skyhawks with eight rebounds.
McMillan said the key to his team’s success in the second half came when he put freshmen Grace Ann Swaim from Martin and Megan White from Ohio in the game.
Swaim replaced Hall, who was showing signs of fatigue, and two minutes later White came in for Swaim. “We scored eight points while Grace Ann was in the game and White hit a pair of 3-pointers and grabbed three rebounds. That short time period pushed us out there,” McMillan said.
“The girls (Swaim and White) know they have to make open shots, be hard-nosed and keep our team going and that’s what they did tonight,” he said.
UT Martin shot 46 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range, while Austin Peay shot 30 percent from the field.
The Skyhawks claimed a 33-28 lead at the half thanks to Hall who hit 4-of-6 3-pointers. The Skyhawks hit seven treys in the first 20 minutes. Newsome hit a pair and Weatherly added one.
Austin Peay’s Neika Smith hit back-to-back 3-pointers and sparked a 10-4 run that cut the Skyhawks’ lead to two points, 17-15, with 8:19 to play in the half.
The game was tied at 5-5, 17-all and 23-23 all in the first half. With the scored knotted at 23-all with 3:51 to play. The Skyhawks closed out the half with a 10-5 run. Newsome and Weatherly knocked down their 3-pointers while Haislip grabbed an offensive rebound and made the putback with one second on the clock.
UT Martin returns to action Thursday, when it travels to Cookeville to take on Tennessee Tech in an OVC contest. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

UTM WOMEN STORM AHEAD LATE TO KNOCK OFF AUSTIN PEAY

MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team (9-7, 4-1 OVC) weathered an early second-half flurry from visiting Tennessee State, but waged a storm of its own to claim an 83-67 victory Saturday night. The Skyhawks have now won 10 consecutive games in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center since Jan. 30, 2010, and four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference games this season.
The host Skyhawks shot 55 percent from the field and a red-hot 57 percent from 3-point range en route to a 43-28 advantage at the half. Freshman Jasmine Newsome led the Skyhawks’ charge with 14 first-half points and three treys. The Skyhawks drained eight 3-pointers in the first half.
“I told the team at the half I thought we let up and might have left the door open,” UT Martin second-year head coach Kevin McMillan said. “I said, ‘If we don’t go out and play we will be in a war.’”
McMillan was right. The Lady Tigers answered the Skyhawks’ sweltering first-half shooting performance with a 15-3 run to open the second half. Jasmin Shuler made a layup with 14:57 to play in the game and the Skyhawks saw their once comfortable lead dwindle to three points, 46-43.  Shuler led TSU with 17 points on the night.
“We didn’t call a timeout and you saw us dig a hole and get out of it,” McMillan said. “We might be maturing some, but that opens up another set of challenges.”
Not only did the Skyhawks dig out of the hole they answered with a 13-0 run and took control, 60-45, for good when freshman Heather Butler made a free throw with 10:52 to play in the game.
Junior college transfer Rickiesha Bryant finished the game with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
“We have been practicing hard and long because we are not up to par,” Bryant said. In fact, Bryant said a majority of Friday’s practice was focused on catching and passing. “We need to finish better and that’s what we have been working on.”
McMillan was pleased with Bryant’s effort. “Rickiesha did it tonight; Beth Hawn did it Thursday against Austin Peay. We need it and we have to have post play every night.”
Newsome, who picked up the slack from Butler’s absence due to illness Thursday with 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and five steals, finished the game against Tennessee State with 24 points, seven assists, four rebounds and three steals.
“The guard play has been very good the past two games for us,” McMillan said.
Butler added 13 points to the Skyhawks’ total, while junior college transfer Taylor Hall made four 3-pointers and scored 12 points.
Butler didn’t take her first shot until 5:30 in the first half when she knocked down a 3-pointer. “I think what you saw was Heather Butler not wanting to come back after being out sick and upset what we were doing,” McMillan said.
UT Martin returns to action tonight (Thursday) when it travels to Cookeville to play Tennessee Tech. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m.

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