MARTIN, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team will look to extend its two-game Ohio Valley Conference winning streak Saturday afternoon when it plays OVC West rival Murray State at the CFSB Center in Murray, Ky. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
The Skyhawks are coming off a 77-58 victory over host Tennessee State Monday night at the Gentry Center in Nashville. Junior guards Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler scored 31 points each in the game.
For the fourth consecutive season, UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillian said the Tennessee State game will mark a turning point in the season for the Skyhawks. The first year, under the direction of McMillian, the Skyhawks went to Nashville and suffered an embarrassing loss (51-38). “Two years ago we were down by 10 points at the half and came back to win (70-64). And then last year we were down by 12 points and we scored 70 in the second half to win,” McMillian said.
After all four games, the Skyhawks made the best of the remainder of their regular season. During the 2009-10 season the Skyhawks suffered a loss at TSU, but responded by finishing the regular season with a 9-6 worksheet.
For the past two years the Skyhawks have won at TSU. In 2010-11, the Skyhawks went 6-1 after the TSU game, and this past season the Skyhawks were 13-2. Both years, the Skyhawks have won the OVC Tournament and have advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Skyhawks are a combined 28-9 in the regular season after playing at TSU.
For McMillian and the Skyhawks it was the first 15 minutes of this year’s game at Tennessee State that stood out. After a 10-all tie, the Skyhawks went on a 14-0 run and never looked back.
“If we can play this way (in the first 15 minutes of the game) we are going to be the team nobody wants to play in the tournament,” McMillian said.
UT Martin led 44-28 at the half. The defense forced 12 TSU turnovers and outscored TSU 11-2 off those turnovers.
Murray State suffered a 79-68 loss to red-hot SIU Edwardsville Monday night at the Vadalebene Center in Edwardsville, Ill. Freshman Erika Sisk scored 15 points and led Murray State with eight rebounds.
Fans can tune into the OVC Digital Network for a free live stream of the game at this link: http://www.ovcdigitalnetwork.com/showcase/. Live stats will be available here: http://www.statbroadcast.com/events/statmonitr.php?gid=tsu. Tom Britt will call all the action on WCMT 101.3 FM.