MARTIN, Tenn. – Kevin McMillan, the head women’s basketball coach at The University of Tennessee at Martin, has an analytical mind. He knows what numbers mean. That’s why when the fourth-year head coach saw his Skyhawks commit 16 turnovers and give up 23 offensive rebounds he saw his team’s 66-63 loss to SIU Edwardsville coming.
“If we do not solve this soon we are going to lose again,” McMillan said Saturday afternoon after the Ohio Valley Conference game in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, if we give up 23 offensive rebounds and commit 16 turnovers we are going to lose.”
Juniors Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome led the Skyhawk scorers with 18 and 15 points respectively. Freshman Katie Schubert hit a trio of 3-pointers and finished the game with 11 points.
SIU Edwardsville was paced by Raven Berry with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Michaela Herrod with 16 points and 10 boards and Tierny Austin with 11 points and 10 caroms.
“That’s ironic we talked about 10, 10 and 11 rebounds. We even circled them on the board in the locker room and said we cannot let that happen again,” McMillan said.
After overcoming an 8-0 SIU Edwardsville lead, the Skyhawks claimed a 16-14 advantage when Butler drained a 3-pointer with 9:29 to play in the first half. The Skyhawks led three other times by two points, and even stretched its lead to five points, 23-18, with 5:21 to play in the first half.
In the second half the Skyhawks led 45-33 with 14:24 to play. Butler hit another 3-pointer.
SIU Edwardsville’s Berry made it a one-point game, 52-51, when she canned a free throw with 7:15 to play. With 6:37, Berry made a layup and SIUE led 53-52 and never looked back.
With :54 to play in the game, Butler made it a two-point contest, 65-63, but that is as close as the Skyhawks could get.
The Skyhawks will close out their three-game homestand against Southeast Missouri State on Saturday, Feb. 16. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
McMillan cautioned his team about future success by borrowing a line from Albert Einstein.
“This is the definition of insanity when you do the same thing over and over and you expect a different result.”
Game time has been set for the UT Martin game at Murray State on Fb. 23. Murray State officials set tip for 2 p.m. in the CFSB Center.
The Skyhawks set a new record for most blocks in a game (12). The old record was 11 set against Lambuth in 1986. Senior Rickiesha Bryant led the way against SIU Edwardsville with a career-high six blocks.
Senior Heather Butler has now made at least one 3-pointer in 71 consecutive games and scored in double-digits in 88 games.