MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team was hampered by a poor shooting performance as they fell to Northern Kentucky, 70-61, in the Robert Morris Thanksgiving Classic.
The Skyhawks (5-3) shot below 30 percent on the afternoon and were outrebounded 47-39 before falling to the Norse. Jasmine Newsome tallied a game-high 28 points on the afternoon, earning an all-tournament team selection. Heather Butler was the other lone Skyhawk to score in double figures. Ashia Jones finished with a team-high 12 rebounds to go along with six points.
“Today’s loss was two-fold,” said UT Martin basketball coach Kevin McMillan. “We didn’t have the effort in which we come to expect and suffered from a poor shooting day. Anytime you have that type of mixture, you are usually going to come out on the short end of the stick and you saw that today.”
Northern Kentucky (4-3) was led behind 23 points and a game-high 14 rebounds by Melody Doss. Joining Doss was Kaitlyn Gerrety and Christine Roush with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Much like the day before, neither team began the game with a torrid pace as the Skyhawks held a slim 6-5 lead at the 15:25 mark of the first. Three Skyhawks jumped into the shot column early.
Northern Kentucky opened the next break with a 4-0 run of its own before Newsome began to leave her mark on the game. Newsome went on a personal 5-0 including a reverse layup and a three-pointer off a pick-and-roll to give the Skyhawks the lead back at 11-9 going into the 11:01 break.
The Norse responded with a big 7-2 run over the next three-plus minutes to take the 16-13 lead into the 7:57 media timeout. NKU tallied all seven points from Roush including a four free throws and a three-point field goal.
Newsome and the Skyhawks responded quickly as the senior guard tallied the game’s next eight straight points, as the Skyhawks retook the lead by a 21-16 margin. Northern Kentucky would regroup by putting together a 7-2 run of their own, bringing the game into a 23-23 tie with 3:48 to play in the first.
Northern Kentucky would end the first half on an 11-7 run over the final four minutes of the first half, taking a 34-30 lead into the halftime break. Newsome led all scorers with 15 points while Butler trailed with seven points for the Skyhawks. The Norse were led with Roush’s 10 points and five rebounds while Gerrety tallied eight points.
The second half began with a steal and a pair of field goals for Masengil to bring the Skyhawks into a 34-34 tie. A layup by Katie Schubert capped off the Skyhawks 6-0 run before the Norse responded with a 6-2 run of their own to retain the 40-38 lead.
The Skyhawks looked to Megan White for a three-pointer to regain the lead before a Masengil layup capped the quick 4-0 run. A three-pointer by Butler pushed the run out to 7-2 before the Norse responded with a 6-0 run of their own to retake the lead 48-45 lead with 10:18 to play.
Northern Kentucky expanded their margin with a 5-2 run, leading 54-49 with 3:58 left to play in the game.
The Skyhawks would threaten in the closing minutes of the game, but could get no closer than five points in the final two minutes. Ending the game on a 16-12 run, the Norse were able to secure the 70-61 victory.
UT Martin will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 4 when they travel to Southeastern Conference foe Alabama. Tip-off from Tuscaloosa, Ala. is schedule for 7 p.m.