The final week of regular season play in the Ohio Valley Conference ended the same way it began: with UT Martin and Belmont sharing the top spot in the conference standings.
The Skyhawks and Bruins, who both swept a pair of games last week, to finish the regular season with 14-2 conference records. UT Martin earned the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament with its 74-57 win over Belmont on Jan. 11 in Martin in the only meeting between the two schools this season.
The OVC tournament gets underway on March 4 at the Ford Center in Evansville, Ind. for the third straight year.
UT Martin earned at least a share of the OVC title for the sixth team in program history after sweeping a pair of games last week to close the regular season. It is the first regular season league crown since 2015-16.
The Skyhawks also reached 20 wins for the 10th time in school history and will take a 20-9 season record into the OVC tournament.
The Skyhawks will play Murray State, the No. 8 seed, in the opening game of the tournament and the winner of that game will face either Jacksonville State or Eastern Illinois in a semifinal round game on March 6. Murray State finished the regular season with a 7-11 record in conference play.
The other game on opening day of the tournament will have Belmont playing Austin Peay with the winner advancing to take on either Southeast Missouri or Tennessee Tech in another semifinal contest. The Redhawks earned the No. 3 seed by finishing 14-4 in the conference and Eastern Illinois, with its 12-6 OVC mark, is the fourth seed.
Morehead State, Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee State and Southern Illiinois-Edwardsville all missed out on a chance to advance to the conference tournament.
UT Martin earned the top seed behind a solid performance from senior standout Chelsey Perry, who poured in a game-high 38 points as the Skyhawks got past Southeast Missouri 78-72 in a game that was tied twice and saw four lead changes in the final quarter of play.
Perry finished with 479 points (26.6 ppg) in league play this season, the most points in league play since Murray State’s Ashley Hayes scored 450 points during the 2008-09 season. Maddi Waldrop added 17 points as that tandem combined for 55 of the team’s 78 points against the Redhawks.
Teammates Kyannah Grant and Dasia Young added nine and eight points, respectively, for the victors.
Southeast Missouri was paced by Carrie Shephard’s 22 points, including six 3-pointers, while Roshala Scott (12) and Tesia Thompson (11) also finished in double figures.
Belmont, meanwhile, claimed at least a share of the regular season championship for the fourth straight season with a convincing 84-51 win over Tennessee State on the final day of the season.
Sophomore Conley Chinn scored a team-high 16 points and four other Bruins reached double figures as Belmont had five players in double digits for the first time since Feb. 21, 2019.
Ellie Harmeyer, the preseason conference player of the year, recorded her 22nd double-double of the season in the game as she scored 12 points and grabbed 16 rebounds. Maddie Cook, another sophomore, scored a career-high 12 points while Maura Muensterman and Maddie Wright each added 11 points in the winning efforts for the Bruins.
Tennessee State, which finished 11th in the regular season standings with a 2-16 conference record, got 10 points each from Jazmine Young and Jaden Wrightsell.
Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Standings
|Southeast Missouri State||14-4||22-7||112|
Last Week’s Results
Austin Peay 70, Morehead State 65
Belmont 68, Tennessee Tech 52
Jacksonville State 63, Tennessee State 45
Murray State 66, Eastern Kentucky 65
SE Missouri 72, Eastern Illinois 56
UT Martin 75, SIU-Edwardsville 57
Austin Peay 88, Murray State 59
Belmont 84, Tennessee State 51
UT Martin 78, SE Missouri 72
Eastern Kentucky 64, Morehead State 58
Jacksonville State 64, Tennessee State 61
This Week’s Schedule
OVC Tournament at Evansville, Ind.
Murray State vs. UT Martin, 1 p.m., ESPN+
Austin Peay vs. Belmont, 3 p.m., ESPN+
Jacksonville State vs. Eastern Illinois, 1 p.m., ESPN+
Tennessee Tech vs. SE Missouri, 3 p.m.
Murray State/UT Martin winner vs. Jacksonville State/Eastern Illinois winner, 1 p.m., ESPN+
Austin Peay/Belmont winner vs. Tennessee Tech/SE Missouri winner, 3 p.m., ESPN+
Semifinal winners, 3 p.m., ESPN+
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.