MOON TOWNSHIP, PA—Winthrop center Schaquilla Nunn scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, but it was not enough to overcome a three-point barrage by UT Martin as the Eagles fell 79-74 on the opening day of the 2013 RMU Thanksgiving Classic.
The loss is Winthrop’s second straight and drops the Eagles’ record to 4-2 while UT Martin improves to 5-2. The Eagles will be back in action at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday as they will face the host school, Robert Morris, who lost to Northern Kentucky 71-62.
Just like in its first loss to Charlotte on Tuesday night, Winthrop led at halftime, 37-32, but let the lead slip away in the opening minutes of the second half when the Skyhawks went on a 13-4 run in four minutes, 22 seconds to take a 45-41 lead they would not relinquish. Winthrop’s Zoe Vernon connected on a 3-pointer to make it a 45-44 game with 14:45 left, but Martin outscored the Eagles 16-7 over the next 5:39 to take its largest lead of the game at 61-51 at the 9:06 mark.
Winthrop made one last run behind the inside scoring of Nunn who had eight of her team’s next 17 points to help make it a one-point game again at 69-68 following a bucket inside by Erica Williams with just under four minutes to play. But a back-breaking 3-pointer by Katie Schubert gave the Skyhawks a 72-68 lead with three minutes left and UTM sealed the game from the free throw line as they connected on 7 of 8 free throws in the final 1:06.
The double-double by Nunn was her fourth straight and the 19th of her career. She scored 15 points in each half as Dequesha McClanahan made her the target of several of her 14 assists. McClanahan also scored 15 points to give her a double-double as well. Samiya Wright also reached double figures with 14 points.
UTM was led by one of its two high-scoring guards, Jasmine Newsome, who finished the game with 24 points, but the Eagles held her running mate Heather Butler to 12, all coming in the second half. Martin also got double figure performances from Elizabeth Massengil who popped in 17 while Schubert and Ashia Jones came off the bench to score 12 points each.
Two factors were keys in the outcome. UTM finished the game connecting on 10 of 29 from behind the arc, including 5 of 11 in the second half when it was building the 10-point lead, and the 1-3-1 zone defense that the Skyhawks employed against Winthrop.
“We just didn’t react well to their 1-3-1 zone and that created a lot of our turnovers,” said Winthrop head coach Kevin Cook. “They had a 20-14 advantage in points off turnovers and as it turns out that was the margin of victory.”