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Skyhawks beat Colonels in historic fashion

By Bradley Stringfield
On February 5, 2013

In a night that saw several records broken the Skyhawks beat Lady Colonels 75-60. 

Ever since the end of the Eastern Illinois game people were talking about a certain streak. Everyone was asking about junior guard Heather Butler whether or not she would hit the shot to give her the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a 3-point shot. This was evidently on Butler's mind throughout the first half as she and her teammates played a very uncharacteristic first half.

The Skyhawks appeared to be a shell of their usual self as they missed shots repeatedly. Efficient shooting put the Lady Colonels up 19-17 with 7:46 remaining in the half.

Then, as if someone flipped a switch, with 3:36 left Butler hit a 3-pointer that engraved her name into the record books. Her 70th consecutive game with a 3-point shot and the NCAA record did not only eased her nerves, but it was just what the team needed to get rolling. After that the Skyhawks took a 31-24 lead to the half and never looked back.

While the Lady Colonels tried to battle back throughout the second half, the scoring onslaught led by Butler and her fellow junior guard Jasmine Newsome was too much for them to handle as the Skyhawks cruised to a 15-point victory.

The real stories that came out of this game were those of the record setting duo of Butler and Newsome.  

"Honestly, I was nervous. I was like, okay, get this three out of the way. Once I hit it I was like, okay, I got it done," Butler said.

Her nervousness was evident throughout the first half, but after she hit her shot the nervousness was gone and her confidence shown through for the rest of the game. Butler also extended her streak of consecutive games of double-digit scoring to 87 games, now only trailing Baylor's Brittney Griner by 12 games.

While Butler's record 3-point shot was the talk of the Tom and Kathleen Elam Center, Jasmine Newsome set a record herself by recording her 459th assist, a UTM school record, with 4:59 left in the second half.

"We can be better than we've ever been and we can drop off and be worse than we've ever been. That's immaturity, not being able to handle adversity and stuff like that, and we've got to be able to figure out how to sustain a level," said head coach Kevin McMillan.

He is still a little hard on his team because he knows they can be better.

"We've got to have one more scorer, and I don't know who it's going to be or what night, but we got to have one more kid that comes out and gets us points. If we've got two more double figure kids to go with Newsome and Butler we're a much better team," said McMillan.

Newsome would lead the Skyhawks with 27 points, followed by her partner in crime Butler with 24 points. Newsome also went 15-16 on free throws and had a team high of nine assists. Senior forward Rickiesha Bryant also had an exceptional game with team high eight total rebounds. She also scored 12 total points.

The Skyhawks will stay at home and face SIU Edwardsville Saturday, Feb. 9. Tipoff is at 2:30 p.m. To follow the game, follow The Pacer on Facebook and Twitter, @thepacer

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