March 3, 2012

Golden Eagles topped by UTM in OVC championship game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Tech’s hopes of a 10th Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament championship looked pretty good midway through the second half Saturday afternoon.

But top-seeded UT-Martin put together a five-minute spurt for an 18-2 run that lifted the Skyhawks from a six-point deficit into a 10-point lead, and the Golden Eagles couldn’t recover. UTM took the title, their second consecutive, with an 82-65 victory.

Tech (17-16) was led by another uncanny, all-around performance from senior Tacarra Hayes with 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots. It was an MVP-caliber performance for the Tech senior guard, who averaged 22.5 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one blocked shot per game in her team’s three tourney contests.

However, that honor was voted to UT Martin sophomore guard Heather Butler who finished the championship game with 35 points, one rebound, three assists and one steal.

Butler and Hayes were joined on the five-player All-Tournament team by Jasmine Newsome of UTM, Jala Harris of Tech and Whitney Hanley of Austin Peay.

Harris was the only other Golden Eagle to score in double figures, netting 10 along with five rebounds and two assists. Molly Heady added nine points and Brittany Darling scored eight.

Tech struggled throughout the game to find the range, hitting just 2-for-19 from outside the 3-point arc. Tech was 26-for-45 inside the stripe for 58 percent, finishing the game with a 43.8 overall mark. 

UTM was 10-for-20 from long range and finished the game hitting 52.7 percent (29-for-55) overall. The Skyhawks had a 33-32 edge in rebounds.

Newcome had a solid game, finishing with 26 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and four steals.