Missed chances spoil UTM upset bid

Missed chances spoil UTM upset bid

By RANDY CAVIN
Special to The Messenger
Purdue got all they could handle from UT Martin’s women’s basketball team on Sunday as the No. 14 ranked Boilermakers won 68-60.
The Boilermakers (9-1) used a 15-point run to begin the second half to put some distance between themselves and the Skyhawks (4-7), who started the second half with a 29-25 lead.
The Skyhawks shooting went cold and did not score a field goal until Jasmine Newsome’s layup 6:55 into the second half. The Skyhawks had three good looks at the basket within the first four minutes of the half but could not get the ball to drop through the hoop.
That was pretty much the way the game went for UTM. The Skyhawks had plenty of good look at the basket in the first half but only shot 30.3 percent and finished the game shooting 28.6 percent.
Purdue did not shoot any better than UTM in the opening half with a 30.8 shooting percentage. The Boilermakers made up for it in the second half by shooting 53.8 percent and ended up shooting 42.3 percent for the game.
Skyhawks head coach Kevin McMillan said after the game that those first four minutes of the second half were the turning point of the game.
“Our margin for error against a Top 25 team in the country is tiny,” McMillan said. “You are not going to get good looks very often. When you get them, you got to knock them down. I thought there were looks in the first half that we should have knocked down.
“But even with that, we are up at the half. That caught up with us in the first four minutes of the second half when we got three good looks and we did not make any of them, and they scored nine straight points. That was basically the difference in the ball game.”
McMillan said he has told his team each game will be decided on three possessions. Those three possessions without getting a basket in the second half proved to be the difference makers against Purdue.
“I tell our kids all the time the game is going to basically hinge on three possessions, and you will never know where they are,” McMillan said.
The Skyhawks stayed right with the Boilermakers in the second and took a 17-16 lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Katie Schubert and Heather Butler with 7:48 left in the first half. The lead reached seven points, 27-20, after 3-pointers by Newsome and Schubert with 2:29 to play in the first half.
The shooting woes haunted UTM all through the game — especially from 3-point range. The Skyhawks hit eight 3-pointers but misfired on 24 shots for long range. Heather Butler hit 4-of-9 3-pointers, Newsome hit 1-of-4, Schubert missed four of her six shots and Megan White only hit 1-of-8.
Butler scored 28 points to lead all scorers, and Newsome scored 21. The rest of the team only scored 11 points, with the two points coming from the bench. Purdue got 31 points from its bench players, led by Manuel Taylor scoring 16 and April Wilson getting 11.
Wilson and starter Sam Ostarello led the Boilermakers with 16 points.
The Skyhawks kept up with Purdue on the boards in the first half by grabbing 21 rebounds to Purdue’s 22. Rebounding by the UTM post players has been a problem for the Skyhawks during this non-conference part of the schedule, and it showed up in the second half with Purdue outrebounding UTM 24-11.
“It is still (post play) a question for us,” McMillan said. “If our posts come out and play a great game, we are probably going to win because you know what our guard play is going to be. We are still looking for those posts to step up and make the difference. They did not tonight and I thought Purdue’s posts were the difference.”
The Skyhawks’ tough non-conference schedule continues on Sunday when Indiana State visits the Elam Center. UTM will also host Southern Mississippi on the 18th and then play at UAB on the 22nd before opening conference play at Southeast Missouri on the 29th.
“It isn’t getting any easier,” McMillan said. “It is not like we are dropping down. We are dropping down out of the top 25, but are dropping to two of the best conferences in the country. UAB was picked to win it (Conference USA) and Southern Miss beat Mississippi State the other night. Indiana State has beaten us every year. So we have got three really good tests left.”

Published in The Messenger 12.10.12

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