UT Martin rout of EIU serves notice on OVC
Posted: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 12:00 pm
By RANDY CAVIN
Eastern Illinois may be the Ohio Valley Conference front-runner this season, but UT Martin showed why it is the two-time defending Ohio Valley Conference champion.
The Skyhawks continued to roll toward the postseason league tournament with an 82-62 win Thursday night at the Elam Center.
The win extends the Skyhawks’ current winning streak to four and ends an eight-game win streak by the Panthers.
The Skyhawks were just two 3-pointers shy of tying a team record with 16 on the night. The Skyhawks made 10-of-19 threes in the first half to offset some missed easy layups in the early going of the game.
UTM head coach Kevin McMillan was excited about the way his team shot the ball against EIU, considering the Skyhawks have not been shooting well for much of the season.
“It has been a long time coming,” McMillan said. “We have not shot the ball well basically all year for our standards. Tonight we were able to put the ball in the hole, which is something we have not been doing like we thought we could.”
Seven Skyhawks connected on the long-range shot with Heather Butler leading the way by making 5-of-11 as she continues to add to her NCAA record for consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer made. She now has 75 consecutive games with at least one to her credit.
Butler also scored a game-high 21 points to give her 92 games with double-figure scoring for her career. Butler is just 14 points shy of scoring 2,000 for her career. No other Skyhawk, woman or man, has ever reached that total.
“What do you say about Heather Butler?” McMillan said. “She has not had a great season to her standards. But she is in the top 10 in the country in scoring. She deserves all of the accolades she gets.
“I promise you this; she would trade everything right now to be sitting in a No. 1 seed with two byes and a chance to defend the OVC. We still have got that opportunity going forward.”
Three other Skyhawks reached double-figure scoring to join Butler.
Jasmine Newsome scored 17 points on 7-of-17 shooting.
Freshman guard Chelsey Hall came off the bench and scored 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.
Shelby Crawford scored all 10 of her points in the first half as she found herself in foul trouble. She picked up her fourth foul of the game with 14:21 to play. She also made two big 3-pointers in the first half to give the Skyhawks a spark when the fast-break layups were not falling through the hoop.
Rickiesha Bryant pulled down 10 rebounds and blocked four shots. She now has 140 for her career and 72 on the season. The senior post player is on pace to lead the Skyhawks once again in blocked shots for the third consecutive year.
A 3-pointer by the Panthers Jordyne Crunk put EIU up 22-13 with 11:23 to play and then the Skyhawks went to work on the Panthers. Butler hit a jump shot in the paint to kick-start a 36-11 run to close out the first half.
The Skyhawks hit six 3-pointers in the final 11:23 of the first half, Butler with four of them. Katie Schubert made two of her three 3-pointers of the game during the run, and Sydney Vanlandingham made the other.
The Skyhawks went into the half with a commanding 49-33 lead. UTM’s shooting slacked off some in the second half as it made only 39.4 percent of its shots. EIU’s shooting helped the Skyhawks by only hitting 36.7 percent.
Published in The WCP 3.5.13