UTM ladies again score in bunches
Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2012 12:00 pm
By KEVIN WEAKS
UT Martin shot the lights out … literally.
A transformer outside the Elam Center blew out during the second half of the women’s game on Saturday, stopping action with the Skyhawks holding a 30-point lead on SIU-Edwardsville.
UTM didn’t skip a beat when the lights came back on, either, pulling away to a 91-59 win.
“The thing I was most impressed with was that we defended,” UTM head coach Kevin McMillan said. “After giving up 105 points (114-105 win vs. Tennessee State on Jan. 2), I was worried where our mindset would be. I thought it was, overall, the best team defense we’ve had all year. They (SIUE) do a great job of screening and rolling and going high-low, and I think our kids did a great job defending.”
UTM improved to 3-0 in the conference and 9-6 overall
At the time of the blowout, which had all the lights out for a few seconds and still too many off to resume play for 18 minutes, UTM had hit on 23-of-40 field goals, including 8-of-15 3-pointers, and 3-of-4 free throws on the way to a 64-34 lead by the 11:56 mark of the second half.
UTM finished the game at 53.7 percent from the floor, hitting 36-of-67 field goals (14-of-27 threes) and 83.3 percent (5-of-6) at the line.
“I think when you shoot better, your defense is better, you pass better, everything is better,” McMillan said. “I don’t know why that is.”
Jasmine Newsome had the best shooting night, connecting on 10-of-13 field goals overall, including all three of her 3-point tries, for a game-best 26 points.
Heather Butler (8-of-17 field goals) had 22 points, while Perica Glenn added 12 points and nine rebounds and Jaclissa Haislip scored 11 and grabbed seven boards.
“Newsome found open people and made shots,” McMillan said. “Newsome and Butler are hard to handle, and when you get shooters around them and put in a post player like Perica, you give yourself a chance.”
A third straight win to open Ohio Valley Conference play was pretty much wrapped up by the time the game was two minutes and 20 seconds old.
Newsome hit a pair of 3-pointers and Haislip added another for a 9-0 lead.
“I was a little shocked at the quick start because we usually don’t do that,” McMillan said. “So it was good to get some points on the board early.”
The Skyhawks never trailed, led by as much as 20 in the first half despite a comeback attempt in the middle of the quarter by the Cougars and eclipsed 90 points for the second time in league play and third time overall this season.
While UTM’s outside shooting was prominent early, Glenn was just as important in setting the tone, getting a pair of layups as the Skyhawks pulled out to a 17-2 lead at 14:16.
“What Perica’s done is make people have to respect her,” McMillan said. “If you leave her down there one-on-one, she’s liable to get 20 points and 15 rebounds. Our season is going to hinge on her play. If she starts having bigger games, we’re going to have bigger games. She’s averaged a double-double the last six games. If you know you’re going to get double figures in points and rebounds from a player every night, that gives you another weapon in your arsenal. She’s stepped up and separated herself from everybody else.”
SIUE (8-6, 2-1) made a charge of its own in the middle of the first half, a 13-7 run getting the difference to within eight points at 25-17 with 9:01 remaining.
Glenn, Butler and New-some quickly popped the Cougars’ bubble, though, with consecutive baskets to push the margin to double figures again, 31-17 at 7:14.
UTM raced out to a 48-28 halftime lead, and the only drama after that came when the lights went out at 5:10 p.m.
It was 18 minutes later when enough lights had come on resume play. It then took only two possessions for UT Martin to turn the lights out on any remaining glimmer of hope for the Cougars, converting back-to-back steals into layups.
“I don’t think it helped us,” McMillan said. “I think it hurt them more than it helped us because we got two steals right out of there. If there was any fight left in them, that probably took it out of them.”
The margin never dipped below 30 points in the second half and reached as high as 39, Butler’s 3-pointer at 6:26 making it 81-42. Published in The WCP 1.10.12