DESPITE A LATE SECOND HALF COMEBACK, LADY TIGERS FALL SHORT AT UT-MARTIN
MARTIN, Tennessee---The Tennessee State University women's basketball team came back from trailing by as many as 15 points in the second half but could not pull out the win dropping a 57-65 decision to Tennessee-Martin Saturday evening in Skyhawk Arena. The Lady Tigers fall to 3-10 overall and 1-4 in the OVC while Martin improves to 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the OVC. Oby Okafor paced led TSU in scoring and grabbed her fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Kendra Appling tallied 14 points in addition to four steals while Nikki Rumph added 10 points. Jheri Booker just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine boards. Tennessee-Martin was led in scoring by Nicole Holman with 18 points. The first half began with a jumper by Nikki Rumph to give TSU a quick 2-0 lead. UT-Martin would even the score on a bucket by Phyllisha Mitchell. The score would go back and forth until Martin jumped ahead 12-8 with 12:39 left on the clock. A made basket by Oby Okafor would cut the deficit to only two but a 5-0 run would push the Skyhawk lead to 17-10 at the 8:33 mark. UTM upped its lead to 24-15 with 5:03 on the clock. TSU scored two consecutive buckets to bring the score to 24-19 with 3:50 left in the half. The Skyhawks, however, would go on a 10-4 run to close out the half and enter the break with a 34-23 lead. Tennessee State shot 38.5 percent from the field and a disappointing 30 percent from the charity stripe on 3-of-10 shooting in the first half. The Skyhawks pushed their advantage to leads of 11 and 13 points early in the second half. TSU managed to cut the lead down to eight (43-35) with 12:25 remaining in the game but the Skyhawks again extended their lead to 15 points (54-39) at the 7:01 mark. A determined Lady Tiger squad clawed their way back into the game behind a 12-3 run that cut the lead down to three (56-53) with 1:26 left in the game. The Skyhawks responded with a 5-0 run and were able to keep the Lady Tigers at bay. The Lady Tigers improved their shooting in the second half with a 41.2 shooting percentage from the floor and 75 percent from the free-throw line. Tennessee State out-rebounded UT-Martin 38-30 and only committed 16 turnovers to the Skyhawks 17. The Lady Tigers will return to action next Thursday (Dec. 11) when they face Samford in the first game of a double-header. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. in the Gentry Center.