TSU women set scoring record, albeit a much different one, for second straight season

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 at 9:32pm

A year later, Tennessee State didn’t have any problem scoring. Neither did Tennessee-Martin, though.

In a record-setting women’s basketball game at TSU’s Gentry Center on Monday night, scoring 105 points wasn’t good enough for the Tigers. UT-Martin outlasted TSU for a 114-105 victory that set the Ohio Valley Conference record for most combined points (219) in a game. The teams eclipsed the previous mark of 216 (Morehead State and Eastern Kentucky) that had stood since the 1992-93 season.

The Tigers (5-10, 1-2 OVC) hadn’t scored that many points since dropping 106 against Valparaiso in 1990. It also marked the first 100-point game since Jan. 24, 2008 under seventh-year head coach Tracee Wells.

“It was just fun,” Wells said. “It was a lot of fun to even be in a game of that magnitude against the defending OVC [tournament] champions. We knew were going to be able to score because UT-Martin’s starters, a majority of them, play 35 minutes a game. So we wanted to attack them and if they didn’t foul us we wanted to get the basket.”

What is even harder to fathom is that just more than a year ago, on Dec. 30, 2010, TSU set two dubious NCAA Division I women’s records. In an 82-11 loss to Georgia Tech, the Tigers not only tied the record for fewest points in a game but matched the lowest amount of points scored in half. They trailed the Yellow Jackets 49-3 at halftime.

“I think for the fans, for the program, I think it shows we are taking good steps,” Wells said. “Sometimes, for me, I feel like the process has been a little slower than I’ve wanted as a head coach. But it takes time to build a winning program. This is a junior class. The history of the recruits that I’ve had has shown that by time they become juniors, in that third year things start to happen.”

UT-Martin, which set a school record for most points in a game, trailed by nine at the break. But the Skyhawks (8-6, 2-0 OVC) unloaded for 71 points after halftime and tied the 10th-highest point total for a half in NCAA Division I women’s history.

“If you would have told me we were going to give up 105 points, I wouldn’t have thought much about it,” UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan said.

The Skyhawks were led by two dominant performances. Jasmine Newsome scored 37 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field and made 16-of-20 at the free-throw line. Heather Butler, last year’s OVC Freshman of the Year, scored 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting. The sophomore duo combined for 63 percent of the team’s points.

TSU (5-10, 1-2) was more balanced with six players in double figures. Jasmin Shuler paced the squad with 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Kim Haynes added 16 and Avery Jones had 15 as the two combined to shoot 13-of-16 from the field.

“I was beyond pleased to be in a situation where the confidence level of my team was evident,” Wells said. “We’ve been trying to get people to be option one and be in go mode so that when they touch the ball they want to score. ... [Monday] shows that we are capable of putting up big numbers.”

Other interesting notes:

• The teams attempted 154 shots.

UT-Martin made 52.8 percent (38-of-72) and Tennessee State was good on 45.1 percent (37-of-82). Each team attempted 26 3-pointers. TSU made 13 and the Skyhawks drained 12.

• There were 63 free-throw attempts, five short of the Division I regulation record of 68 set by Pittsburgh and Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 30, 1986.

The Skyhawks made 26-of-38 and the Tigers were 18-of-25. Fifty-one fouls were called but no one fouled out.

• The Tigers’ bench scored 50 points, compared to 10 from the Skyhawks’ reserves.

• It was a fairly clean game with just 24 combined turnovers. Tennessee State committed 14, which UT-Martin turned into 24 points.

• There were five ties and seven lead changes, with UT-Martin leading by 12 with 5:14 left. TSU pulled it to 105-100 with 1:32 remaining but the Tigers missed a wide-open layup and committed a costly turnover to allow the Skyhawks to escape.

• The most points in a NCAA Division I women’s game is 252, set by SMU (127) and TCU (125) on Jan. 25, 1997. But reaching that total took four overtimes.