EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – UT Martin started quickly and never relented in defeating the SIUE women's basketball team 75-48 Saturday at the Vadalabene Center.
"They are a good team, but we didn't perform the way we are capable of in tonight's game," SIUE Head Coach Paula Buscher said. "We are better than what we showed."
While the Skyhawks improved to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in the OVC, the Cougars dropped to 11-14 and 6-8.
"This is a tough game when things don't go well for you," Buscher said. "You have to stay focused on what you are doing."
Inconsistent shooting nagged the Cougars. They made 17 of 53 shots and were 4 of 12 from three-point range. SIUE also sank 10 of 17 free throws, got outrebounded 42-32 and committed 20 turnovers. Meanwhile, UT Martin made 30 of 66 shots, including 6 of 18 treys and 9 of 13 foul shots.
"I think we ran into a tough UT Martin team, and we didn't perform. We got stretched out, and we didn't shoot well," Buscher said.
"We missed some of our senior leadership, but at the same time, it's the next man up to play when you have players out or injuries," Buscher said.
The Cougars trailed 16-10 at the end of the first quarter, then got outscored 24-8 in the second quarter. The Skyhawks continued to increase their lead and led by 30 points six times in the second half. Chelsey Perry's 14 points spurred them.
Next up for SIUE is a Tennessee trip to Nashville. The Cougars play Thursday at Tennessee State and Saturday at Belmont. Then it's back to the Vadalabene Center for Tennessee Tech Feb. 28 and Jacksonville State March 2 to close out the regular season. The eight-team OVC Championships begin March 6 and continue through March 9 in Evansville, Indiana.
"Everything is big and magnified at this point of the season," Buscher said of OVC playoff positioning. "We want to keep it simple and focus on the next game in front of us. You want to play for the moment, and I think this group will be fine doing that."