MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team posted its highest scoring output of the season en route to a 78-62 victory over Saint Louis Thursday night at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
The Skyhawks (4-6) trailed by four points before going on a 12-0 run with 2:34 remaining in the first half to regain control of the game. Three field games by junior Heather Butler in the final two minutes of the half, including a jumper at the buzzer, sent the Skyhawks into the locker room with a 37-29 advantage. Butler led UT Martin by tying a season-high with 28 points (10-for-25 shooting) and seven rebounds, while Jasmine Newsome built off her recent OVC Player of the Week selection by tallying 24 points (8-for-15 shooting), nine assists, three steals and no turnovers. Shelby Crawford posted a career-best 10 points while wrangling five rebounds.
For Saint Louis (4-5), Mallory Eggert posted a career-high 17 points along with eight rebounds, while Lorreal Jones tallied 11 points and eight rebounds. Courtney Webb and Desirae Ball rounded out double-digit scoring with 10 points each.
“Our experienced players were the difference tonight,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “They did not allow us to put the game away. You earn what you get and you have to fight for what you want but Heather and Jasmine will continue to keep coming at you time after time.”
After four lead changes in the first six minutes, UT Martin went on a 6-0 run over the course of 1:56 to take a 13-10 lead at the 12:39 mark of the first half.
UT Martin found its stroke from range at the 11:25 mark as Butler, Crawford, Newsome and Megan White made four consecutive threes to push their lead out 11 points with just under 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
However, then the Billikens countered with a 15-0 run to reclaim and extended their lead out to four with 3:27 left in the half.
A 3-pointer by White at 2:34 began a 12-0 run for the Skyhawks, giving the home team an eight point lead going into halftime, 37-29.
Newsome’s 13 points led all scorers at the break, while Butler chipped in 10 points in the first half.
The second half began with back-and-forth baskets by both teams, with UT Martin winning the battle of the first media segment 12-11 with a basket by Butler at the 16:33 mark.
Senior forward Rickiesha Bryant set a career-mark at the 6:41 mark of the second half when the defender rejected Eggert’s layup opportunity, marking her fifth block of the night.
A pair of free-throws by Butler at the 3:11 mark gave the Skyhawks their largest lead of the night at 19. She capped of her 18-point second half with a jumper at the 1:27 mark to bring the game’s scoring to a close.
The Skyhawks will host Big Ten powerhouse No. 14 Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, Dec. 9. Tipoff from the Elam Center is scheduled for 2 p.m.
“We want to bring the top-25 teams in the country to our fans so they can experience them live. The caliber of teams are incredible and I’m eager to see how we play,” McMillan said.