This time of the year usually sees teams separating themselves from the rest of the pack as the regular season begins to wind down.
There is never anything usual in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Tesia Thompson led three players in double figures as Southeast Missouri defeated UT Martin 71-69 for its ninth straight win to move into a tie atop the OVC standings.
Carrie Shephard added 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and teammate Jocelyn Taylor added 10 points in the winning effort.
The Redhawks, which ran their winning streak to 10 games with an 80-57 win over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville two days later, share the top spot in the league standings with Belmont and UT Martin.
Belmont won both its games last week as the Bruins defeated Tennessee State (70-58) and downed Jacksonville State (61-49) two days later. UT Martin, meanwhile, rebounded from the loss at SEMO to defeat Eastern Illinois 88-64.
Tennessee Tech sits in fourth place in the league standings after splitting a pair of games a week ago. The Golden Eagles lost to Jacksonville State 66-50 and ended the week with an 81-69 triumph over rival Tennessee State. Tech is now 10-4 in conference play and 17-8 on the season.
Eastern Illinois, which defeated SIU-E 77-71 before its loss to UT Martin, is 9-5 in league play and currently holds down the fifth-place spot in the OVC standings.
Shephard’s two treys against the Skyhawks gave her 74 on the season to break her own single-season record of 73 set last season.
Chelsey Perry, who played all 40 minutes of the game, scored a game-high 36 points for the Skyhawks and Maddie Waldrop also finished in double digits with 12 points in the narrow setback.
OVC Marquee Game of the Week
UT Martin at Tennessee Tech
When: Thursday, Feb. 22, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Eblen Center (9,280)
Tennessee Tech began the conference season by winning 10 straight games.
Oh, how times can change.
The Golden Eagles have won just two of their last six league games to fall off the pace they once set.
Tech can extract a huge measure of revenge with a win over UT Martin as they begin this week’s play. The Golden Eagles lost to the Skyhawks 71-62 on Feb. 6 in Martin in a game that began a three-game losing skid by Tech which was snapped with its win over Tennessee State last weekend.
UT Martin, meanwhile, looks to keep pace with Southeast Missouri and Belmont atop the league standings as the Skyhawks keep alive their hope of the top seed at the upcoming OVC tournament.
The Skyhawks saw its five-game conference winning streak fall by the wayside with the loss to SEMO last week and have now won six of their last seven contests to remain alive in the hunt for a regular- season championship.
UT MARTIN SKYHAWKS: With Chelsey Perry (6-2, Jr. F) in the lineup good things are a virtual certainty for UT Martin. She is among the best players in the conference and will surely garner plenty of attention for numerous
postseason awards after already averaging 23 points and 8.3 rebounds per game this season for the Skyhawks. Her points and rebounds are both leading the team.
Perry is one of the best shooters in the OVC and enters this week’s key clash against Tennessee Tech shooting 49 percent (222-446) from the floor and an impressive 87 percent (90-104) from the foul line.
Active on both ends of the floor, Perry also leads the team with 44 steals and is fourth on the team with 45 assists.
Maddie Waldrop (6-2, Jr. F) is also averaging more than 10 points per game for the Skyhawks this season and enters the week with an 11.7 points per game scoring average and is not far behind Perry with 7.9 rebounds per contest. Waldrop is another accurate shooter whenever on the floor and has
connected on 83 of 180 field goal attempts (.461) and is shooting 71 percent (77-108) from the free throw line for the Skyhawks.
TENNESSEE TECH GOLDEN EAGLES: Kesha Brady (5-7, Jr. G) leads three Golden Eagles in double-digit scoring this season. She is averaging 15.5 points per game on the strength of 40 percent shooting from the floor (112-275) and is averaging five rebounds per contest so far in 2019-20. Brady is tied for second of the team with 23 steals and ranks fourth with 42 assists.
Teammates Mackenzie Coleman (6-3, Jr. F) and Jordan Brock (5-7, Jr. G) are also scoring in double figures. Coleman, who is second in rebounding (5.3 rpg), will take an 11.3 points per game average into the contest against the Skyhawks and is among the top shooters in the Ohio Valley Conference. She has connected on 106 of 175 field goal attempts (.606) and is a sharp-shooter from the foul line where she has been successful on 44 of 53 (.830) attempts.
Brock, meanwhile, is scoring at a 10.6 points per game clip and her 43 assists are the third most on the team this season.
Two other players have not reached double-digit scoring averages, but have put up some impressive numbers of their own to help the Golden Eagles this season.
Anacia Wilkinson (6-2, Sr. F) leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game and enters the week with a 7.5 points per game average, while Aki Harris (5-7, Sr. G) has an identical 7.5 scoring average, but has amassed an incredible 124 assists so far this season.
Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Standings
|Southeast Missouri State||14-4||22-7||112|
Last Week’s Results
Austin Peay 69, Murray State 61
Belmont 70, Tennessee State 58
Eastern Illinois 77, SIU-Edwardsville 71
Eastern Kentucky 68, Morehead State 47
Jacksonville State 66, Tennessee Tech 50
SE Missouri 71, UT Martin 69
Austin Peay 69, Eastern Kentucky 53
Belmont 61, Jacksonville State 49
Murray State 83, Morehead State 75
SE Missouri 80, SIU-Edwardsville 57
Tennessee Tech 81, Tennessee State 69
UT Martin 88, Eastern Illinois 64
This Week’s Games
Austin Peay at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, 11 a.m., ESPN+
Belmont at Morehead State, 4 p.m.
Tennessee State at Eastern Kentucky, 4 p.m.
Murray State at Eastern Illinois, 5:15 p.m., ESPN+
SE Missouri at Jacksonville State, 5:15 p.m., ESPN+
UT Martin at Tennessee Tech, 5:30 p.m.
Tennessee State at Morehead State, noon
Austin Peay at Eastern Illinois, 1 p.m.
UT Martin at Jacksonville State, 1:45 p.m.
SE Missouri at Tennessee Tech, 2 p.m., ESPN+
Belmont at Eastern Kentucky, 3:30 p.m.
Murray State at SIU-Edwardsville, 4:30 p.m.
A native of Bismarck, N.D., Ray is a graduate of North Dakota State University where he began studying athletic training and served as a student trainer for several Bison teams including swimming, wrestling and baseball and was a trainer at the 1979 NCAA national track and field championship meet at the University of Illinois. Ray later worked in the sports information office at NDSU. Following his graduation from NDSU he spent five years in the sports information office at Missouri Western State University and one year in the sports information at Georgia Tech. He has nearly 40 years of writing experience as a sports editor at several newspapers and has received numerous awards for his writing over the years. A noted sports historian, Ray is currently an assistant editor at Amateur Wrestling News.