PG-rated effort puts UTM in title game
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 12:01 am
Freshman Perica Glenn’s career-best 18 points and 10 rebounds helped propel the Skyhawks to a 79-69 victory over Morehead State Friday afternoon in the second of two tourney semifinal games.
The win vaulted UTM to the conference title game where they beat top-seed Tennessee Tech 82-76 on Saturday for the program’s first-ever OVC championship and a likewise history-making berth in the NCAA Tournament (see related story on Page 1).
Glenn, part of a widely-celebrated UT Martin freshman class that also includes more-heralded teammates Heather Butler (Freshman of the Year) and Jasmine Newsome (Co-Defensive Player of the Year), couldn’t have picked a better time for her most productive outing on the collegiate level.
An all-stater at Milan during her prep playing days, Glenn gave perimeter-oriented UTM the post presence it so desperately needed against the Lady Eagles — especially during a telling 17-2 flurry midway through the second half when she scored eight of those points after MSU had closed to within 48-47.
It was Glenn’s second straight strong effort vs. Morehead, following an 11-point, eight-rebound showing in 18 minutes six nights earlier when UT Martin beat the Lady Eagles 88-69 to lock up the second seed in the tournament and a double-bye into the semifinals
“Perica was a major factor,” second-year Skyhawk head coach Kevin McMillan understated afterward when discussing Glenn. “That’s the most minutes (25) she’s played all season. A lot of people don’t know it, but she had knee surgery at the beginning of the year and missed two or three weeks worth of practice. In fact, there was a time when we didn’t know whether she was going to play this year or not.
“I hope she is (the answer to the question if this is the post player we have been looking for). We know this: You better have a post game in the postseason or you’re not going to go very far. It doesn’t have to be the best post game all season, just the best post game on one particular night. Perica stepped up and was the best post player on the floor today even though she hasn’t been all season.”
The backcourt tandem of Butler (21) and Newsome (20) — who teamed to combined to make 18-of-21 foul shots — combined with Glenn to give the Skyhawks a perfect outside-inside tandem and three players in double figures.
Equally telling, though, was apparent fatigue that plagued Morehead (21-10) offensively after they had to expend extra energy in rallying from a 21-point deficit to beat Jacksonville State in a quarterfinal game just 24 hours before.
The Lady Eagles shot just 32 percent (25-of-77) from the field, including 10-of-35 (28.6 percent) from behind the 3-point line.
Conference Player of the Year Chynna Bozeman did score a game-high 25 points, but needed 25 shots to do so, while teammate Courtney Lumpkin finished with 20 markers, but made just 6-of-20 shots.
A zone defense that McMillan claimed his players devised and coaxed him into employing was the difference, according to the coach.
“We finally figured out how to play them in the second half (of the second game we played),” McMillan insisted. “We got away from it a couple of times and allowed them to make a run or two, and I had to remind them of what we wanted to do.”
MSU managed to stay within striking distance despite its cold shooting by scoring 18 points off Skyhawk turnovers in the first 29 minutes and closed to within one point with 11:20 to play on the strength of a 16-6 run that included a pair of Boseman treys.
Glenn then became a force on the interior, though, scoring six of UTM’s next eight points with a pair of strong moves inside and two made free throws after missing two charities. Newsome was also a factor, scoring three times, while Jaclissa Haislip buried a 3-ball.
The Lady Eagles, meanwhile, missed nine of 10 shots and committed three turnovers from 11:20 until the 4:07 mark.
UT Martin, which made 26-of-34 charities for the game, hit 10-of-12 over the final 1:13 to prevent any serious Morehead rally after taking its largest lead at 65-49 with 4:19 left.
A 9-0 run in the first half that included a Taylor Hall 3-pointer and Newsome’s transition bucket gave the Skyhawks the first of two nine-point cushions (29-20), their largest of the opening 20 minutes.
• Editor’s Note: Mike Hutchens, the sports editor at The Union City Daily Messenger, may be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.
Ohio Valley Conference Tournament
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