UTM hoop teams open exhibition play with double home victories
Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008 12:58 pm
UT Martin women outlast Mid-Continent in exhibition
MARTIN, Tenn. — The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team opened the 2008-09 preseason with an exhibition win over nearby Mid-Continent University Monday night. The Skyhawks picked up the 66-56 win with double-digit scoring from four players, led by Kiara Smith’s 17 and 15 from Cali Cupples. UT Martin’s defense forced 24 turnovers, with every player on the Skyhawk roster picking up at least one steal.
“We learned a lot tonight and picked up some valuable experience that will help us as we open the season,” said UT Martin head coach Tara Tansil-Gentry. “We had a young team on the floor and made some mistakes that we will be working on in practice before the opener, but there were some positives too that we will build on as well.”
The Skyhawks set the tempo early with a quick basket from Yalonda Davis only 12 seconds into the game. UT Martin then used its pressure defense to push its lead to a 9-2 advantage before two and a half minutes had ticked off the clock. After a Mid-Continent basket, Cupples drove the lane for a layup and her first basket of the night to push the Skyhawks’ lead to seven. Davis then added an old-fashioned 3-point play to extend the UT Martin edge to double digits for the first time only five minutes into the game.
UT Martin held a 10-point lead a majority of the first half, pushing it to 13 on two occasions. The first of those 13-point leads came when Hailey Purcell connected on her only free throw of the game. Mid-Continent responded with a pair of Katie Mays threes, cutting the lead to seven, but UTM was able to push the lead to a comfortable margin of 12 with a Cupples 3-pointer from the corner.
A layup in the final minute of the opening half again put UT Martin up by 13 before a Kandi Knupp jumper for Mid-Continent cut the lead to 11 as the teams broke for halftime. Cupples recorded 10 of her 15 total points in the first half on 4-8 shooting from the floor.
Coming out of the locker room, UT Martin used back-to-back buckets from Smith to quickly extend the lead to 15, its widest margin of the night. UT Martin held at least a 10-point lead before Mid-Continent could mount a run. The Cougars cut the deficit to seven with 14:29 remaining in the game after consecutive baskets from Abbey McLeod. The next time down the floor Cupples found her way to the basket for a layup to end the Mid-Continent run and a Davis jumper pushed the lead back to 11 for the Skyhawks with 13:29 remaining.
Fatigue began to set in for the Skyhawks in the second half after having only six players available for the game because of disciplinary actions. The remaining players, none of which saw action for UT Martin last season, saw Mid-Continent cut the lead to six with seven minutes left. Smith then found her way to the charity stripe on consecutive trips down the floor, converting on 3-of-4, to push the lead back to nine for UT Martin. Mid-Continent’s Tyqea Butler connected on a three to again cut the lead to six with six minutes left, but that was the closest the Cougars came the rest of the game. Hailey Purcell laid one in for UT Martin, again building a 10-point lead which would eventually be the final margin.
Joining Smith and Cupples with double-digit scoring efforts were Davis with 13 and Samantha Wright with 11. Harper and Purcell each added five points to go along with their 12 and 11 rebounds respectively.
UT Martin will return to Skyhawk Arena for the regular season opener Monday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m., when it welcomes Texas-Pan American to town. The season opener will mark the first of 12 home dates for the Skyhawks and season tickets are still available by contacting the UT Martin ticket office at 731-881-7207.
UTM men cage Bethel in exhibition game
MARTIN, Tenn. – Senior Lester Hudson scored 26 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to lead the University of Tennessee at Martin men’s basketball team to a 90-71 victory over Bethel College Monday night in an exhibition game at the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
“The best thing I saw tonight were flashes of brilliance with our transition offense really pushing the ball and creating easy scoring opportunities,” Skyhawks head coach Bret Campbell said.
Djero Riedewald and newcomer Reuben Clayton scored 16 points each while freshman MJ Brown from Union City tossed in 10 points.
Bethel’s effort was led by Antione Lesesene who netted 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Leroy Bell scored 16 points and Dontaye Hinton added 10 points.
The game was tied twice in the early going, once at 8-all and then again at 12-12. With 12:56 to play in the first half Brown scored his first collegiate points to give the Skyhawks a 14-12 advantage. The home team never looked back as it cruised by Bethel with an 11-1 run over a span of 3:26. With 9:23 to play in the first half, the Skyhawks led 24-13.
Hudson finished the first half with 13 points and 12 rebounds and the Skyhawks enjoyed a 44-34 lead at the break.
Brown hit a 3-pointer and then canned a jumper 25 seconds later to give the Skyhawks a 21-point lead, 75-54, with 7:01 to play.
Campbell was pleased with several phases of the exhibition, but also knows that his team can improve before the season-opener.
“I liked our effort — I thought we showed splashes of very good play and showed that we could be a very good basketball team if we put all the pieces together,” Campbell said. “On the defensive end we didn’t execute well enough. For Lester to get 18 rebounds is incredible from the guard position but he’s got to get some help on the boards. Djero stepped up and did a nice job as well as Eric Massey and Dominique Mpondo.”
The Skyhawks open their 2008-09 season Friday, Nov. 14 against Maryville University in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center. Tipoff is set for 11:30 a.m. Season tickets are on sale now. For more information call (731) 881-7207.