Head Coach Rob Cross unhappy with team effort after UT Martin loss

Jenny Rohl/The News

Story by Collin Morris, Assistant Sports Editor

UT Martin, who sat at just 2-6 in the OVC prior to tonight’s game, upset the Murray State women’s basketball team by a score of 90-70.

The loss marks the third-straight for the Racers, putting them at an even 4-4 in the conference, and 12-9 overall.

Their recent losing streak came after a 4-1 start to OVC play and has found them tied for sixth place in the conference with Eastern Kentucky. They sit behind Belmont (9-0), Morehead State (6-3), Tennessee Tech (5-4), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (5-4) and Austin Peay State (5-4).

Head coach Rob Cross said his team made multiple small errors throughout the night that led to their loss.

“We were already forcing some things that weren’t there in the beginning of the game, which led to some runouts for them,” Cross said. “That got worse when we got behind double digits; trying to make home run plays to get back in the game. We were gambling unnecessarily and we had people going up on their own and playing individual basketball.”

The matchup began with fast-paced, back-and-forth play, as both teams utilized full court pressure and traded buckets, resulting in a 24-22 finish to the first quarter.

UT Martin would remain in their full court set before transitioning into a half court man late in the second quarter, though the Racers had already committed 10 total turnovers in the first half alone.

In the second half, the Skyhawks maintained a sturdy 45-31 advantage, resulting in the 90-70 final score.

Despite trailing by only two points with 9:00 minutes remaining in the third quarter, and occasionally stringing together spurts of made field goals, the Racers failed to cut the Skyhawk lead below six from the 6:16 mark on.

Statistically, junior guard Bria Bethea led the Racers, finishing with 21 points on 53 percent shooting (just below her season high of 22) and 10 rebounds, while the team autonomously shot just 34 percent.

The Skyhawks put five players into double figures on the night, with Emanye Robertson, sophomore guard, posting 23 points on 82 percent shooting and 4 assists.

As a team, UT Martin converted 50 percent of their shots and 31 percent of their 3-pointers.

Cross said he was unhappy with the team’s effort this late into conference play.

“I’m not real thrilled with the overall effort and attention to detail,” Cross said. “What we have to do is get back to playing harder than other teams. We only did that for about 20 minutes.”

Murray State’s next game will be against the Morehead State Eagles at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 1 in Morehead, Kentucky.