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UTM barely out flies Southern Mississippi

By Kristen Harrelson
On December 19, 2012

UTM's Skyhawks Women's Basketball had a rough start against Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles. Within the first five minutes of the game, they were down 15-3. It seemed that the Golden Eagles were going to shut down the Skyhawks.

But the Skyhawks weren't going to take that sitting down. At 13:33, the Golden Eagles were leading 17-6 when Heather Butler found Rickiesha Bryant for a layup. The Golden Eagles' Jamierra Faulkner missed a jump shot, on which Bryant capitalized. She passed to Jasmine Newsome, who hit a jumper in the paint. The score was 17-10.

With ten minutes left in the first half, Sydney Vanlandingham passed to Newsome who turned and fired a shot from the 3-pointer line. The shot was good, bringing the score to 20-13. The talent kept flowing.

"We haven't had this much talent on the team since I've been here," junior guard Heather Butler said. "We just need to bring out that talent."

Bring out the talent they did. After assisting for most of the first half, Vanlandingham nailed her own 3-pointer at the 9:12 mark, bringing the game within two points. Fellow freshman Chelsey Hall hit another 3-pointer, making that her third in two games.

Even with the talent, it seemed the game slowed down as the minutes ticked off the clock.

By the end of the first half, UTM was trailing once again 42-33, but the Skyhawks weren't done yet. At the start of the second half, the team decided to kick it up a notch. They really kicked in to overdrive when Butler passed to Newsome, who in turn nailed a 3-pointer.

With their heads in the game, the Skyhawks held the Golden Eagles until the end of the half. With the score 71-all, the game was headed into overtime.

The first three minutes of overtime were a messy affair. Both teams missed shot after shot. It turned in favor of the Skyhawks when Newsome nailed another 3-pointer. But that was the last UTM three of the night.

With 55 seconds left on the clock, Heather Butler stepped up to the foul line and claimed her two free throws. From then on the Skyhawks held the Golden Eagles until time ran out. They won 87-80.

Even with this win under their belt, the team feels that they can do better.

"We're not playing the full forty minutes. In the first half, we come out slow. In the second half, we have to turn it up and really get going. We have to play the fully forty minutes," said Butler.

Coach McMillan agrees with his junior guard.

"We didn't play for thirty minutes. Then we decided to play for ten. We didn't deserve the Indiana State win and we didn't deserves this," said McMillan.

The coach knows his team can do better.

"We're a good enough basketball team to get lucky like we did. But until we get serious about being great, games are going to be like this," said McMillan.

During the entirety of the game, there were 35 attempted three point shots, of which 12 were completed. The leading scorer of the game was Heather Butler with 34 points. Jasmine Newsome came in a close second with 31 points.

The next game will be away against University of Alabama at Birmingham. For updates on the game, follow UT Martin Athletics on Twitter, @UTMSports. The next home game will be against Jacksonville State Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. in the Elam Center.

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