MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball used a strong second half to knock off Winthrop, 79-74, on day one of the Robert Morris Thanksgiving Classic.
The Skyhawks (5-2) shot an impressive 51.7 percent in the second half while forcing 11 of the Eagles’ 16 turnovers in the period. Jasmine Newsome led the way for the Skyhawks, tallying a team-high 24 points on the afternoon. Newsome was one of five Skyhawks to score double figures on the afternoon as Elizabeth Masengil tallied 17 points while Heather Butler, Katie Schubert and Ashia Jones each scored 12 points of their own.
“I thought it was a real good second half and a pretty good game,” said UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan. “They zoned us but we were able to make the adjustments that we haven’t been able to do in the past. If you are planning to zone us, we have the ability to do just what we did tonight, put five players in double figures. The difference in the game is that we were able to get in a rhythm against their zone. This is a very good win, over a very good Winthrop team who is looking to be an NCAA Tournament caliber team. I think we’re inching closer, closer and closer to where we really want to be.”
Winthrop (4-2) was led by Schaquilla Nunn who tallied a career-high 30 points while notching 14 rebounds. The Eagles looked to Dequesha McClanhan for 15 points while Samiya Wright tossed in 14 points to round out double-digit scorers for Winthrop.
In a game in which figured to be a high-scoring affair, it began with neither team seeing much fluidity, as Winthrop went into the first break with a slim 6-4 lead. Things continued to linger over the next several minutes as the Eagles led 10-7 at the second break of the first half with 11:52 to play.
The Skyhawks used an 11-6 run over the next four minutes to overtake the Eagles, leading 18-16 at the third media timeout of the first half with 7:36 to play.
Winthrop exploded for 18 points over the next six minutes, retaking the lead with 1:50 to play. Despite the Skyhawks scoring 12 points of their own over the stretch, the Eagles held a slim 34-30 lead.
Winthrop would outscore the Skyhawks 3-2 over the final two minutes of the first half, taking a 37-32 lead into the break. The Skyhawks were led with Newsome’s 12 points while Schubert trailed with nine points, including three three-point field goals. The Eagles were led in scoring by Nunn who tallied 15 points while McClanahan tossed in nine.
The Skyhawks came out in the second half shooting 60 percent from the floor, using a 13-4 run to retake the 45-41 lead. Masengil tallied six points while Newsome added five over the four minute span.
UT Martin outscored Winthrop 8-7 over the next four minutes as Butler and Masengil both chipped in three-point field goals. The Skyhawks held the five point advantage, leading 53-48 with 11:59 to play in the second.
Winthrop used a slim 9-8 advantage over the next five minutes to narrow the UT Martin lead to four. Butler tallied four points to give the Skyhawks the 61-57 lead with 7:19 to play.
The Eagles used another 9-8 run over three minutes to cut into the Skyhawks lead. UT Martin clung to a three point lead, leading 69-66 with 3:47 to play in the game.
The Skyhawks would end the game by holding off Winthrop, outscoring the Eagles 10-8 over the game’s final three minutes of play. Despite two late three-point field goals by Winthrop, the Skyhawks earned the hard-fought 79-74 victory.
UT Martin will be back in action tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 30 when they play Northern Kentucky in the final game of the RMU Thanksgiving Classic. Tip-off from the Sewall Center is scheduled for 12:30 Central time.