Nashville --- The Tennessee State University women's basketball team saw the game slip away down the stretch in a tough, 70-64, loss to UT Martin Saturday night in the Gentry Center.
Tennessee State (6-17, 3-10 OVC) led by as many as 13 points in the first half and held UT Martin (14-9, 9-3 OVC) to a 26.7 shooting percentage (4-of-15) from beyond the arc but it wasn't enough.
UTM had four players to record double-digits led by Jasmine Newsome's 15 points. Heather Butler posted 14 while Alecia Weatherly added 12. Beth Hawn also registered double-digits with 10 points and Jaclissa Haislip tallied 10 rebounds for UTM.
After trading buckets in the opening few minutes of the first half, Tennessee State used a, 9-2, run to grab a 19-10 at the 13:27 mark. The Skyhawks answered with nine straight points to knot the score at 19-all before Kim Haynes nailed her fourth triple of the half to put TSU back on top, 22-19.
Ashley Tate scored a bucket with 4.9 seconds remaining to make the score, 42-29, but Jasmine Newsome scored at the buzzer to make the halftime score, 42-31, in favor of the Lady Tigers.
TSU got off to a slow start in the second half as the Skyhawks outscored the Lady Tigers, 6-2, in the first four minutes of play to pull within seven, 44-37. The lead went back up to double-digits when Kim Haynes nailed another triple to make the score, 47-37.
TSU was leading, 52-42, with 10:02 remaining in the half when UTM started to chip away at the lead. The Skyhawks posted ten unanswered points to even the score at 52-all with 5:42 left.
It was a see-saw battle the rest of the game.
Neither team was able to go ahead by more than two points until an untimely TSU turnover and UTM bucket on the other end made the Skyhawk advantage, 65-62, with 1:42 on the clock.
Tayla Foster connected in the paint to bring TSU within one but UTM extended its lead back up to three on the ensuing possession. With time winding down and TSU trailing, 67-64, a crucial Lady Tiger turnover gave the Skyhawks the opportunity to take a, 68-64, lead.
The Lady Tigers missed their next two shot attempts and were forced to foul after the Skyhawks came away with the rebound. UTM iced the game with two more free-throws to make the final score, 70-64.
After shooting 40 percent (8-of-20) from long range in the first half, Tennessee State was outscored, 39-22 and only made 1-of-14 (7.1 percent) three-pointers in the second stanza. TSU also only managed to make 41.7 percent (5-of-12) from the free-throw line in the second frame.
TSU returns to action on next Tuesday, Feb. 8, with a non-conference match-up against SIU-Edwardsville. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Gentry Center.