By Melissa Mullohan
At the beginning of the season, the Colonel women’s basketball had an Ohio Valley Conference Championship and an 18-game home winning streak.After a tough non-conference schedule that featured two teams to play in last year’s NCAA postseason, the Colonels were winless and their home dominance was over.
Eastern has managed to play better on the road than it has at home. Three of the team’s five wins have come while visiting OVC opponents.
The Colonels have lacked a killer instinct, allowing late leads to evaporate in the final minutes.
Larry Joe Inman, coach of the Eastern women’s basketball team, is disappointed with the season so far.
After a 58-49 loss on Monday to the University of Tennessee at Martin Skyhawks, the Colonels fell to 5-14 for the season and 5-7 in OVC play.
Senior Laura Shelton led the Colonels with 12 points. Shelton has led the team 10 times this season.
The Colonels made the first basket of the game but that proved to be the only lead. The Skyhawks never looked back.
At the half, Eastern had hit only eight field goals and trailed 31-22.
Shelton’s two free throws midway through the second half brought Eastern within three, but that would be as close as the team would get.
Shelton had a 9-10 performance from the free-throw line to improve her OVC-leading percentage to .891.
Despite a season-low 11 turnovers, Eastern failed to score over 50 points for the fourth time this season.
UT Martin shot 53.3 from the field in the second half. “We need to turn up the defensive pressure,” Inman said. “We need to work on rebounding and turnovers.”
The team’s average rebounds per player in a game is less than four.
Eastern is determined to improve. “We want a championship,” Inman said. “That’s always our goal.”
Eastern is 54th in the nation and fifth in the OVC in 3-point field goal percentage.
“It doesn’t look too good right now,” Inman said.
Inman has been at Eastern for 18 seasons, and he has had his share of unfortunate drawbacks.
“We’re young,” Inman said. “We’ve had injuries to talented kids.”
By Inman’s count, his team has lost about seven players this season: three to graduation, two to personal issues and two to injuries.
The remaining team members have to pick up the slack in order to achieve their goals.
Inman feels that the season has not been a good one and the team is a work in progress.
The Colonels do not have a particular team they are aching to beat; the Colonels want to beat all of them. Their next game will set the standard for the rest of the season, Inman said.
Eastern is heading to Tennessee Tech Saturday. Tip-off is at 6:30 p.m.
Tennessee Tech is tied for first place in the OVC and is coming off a win against Morehead State.
Tennessee Tech defeated the Colonels 71-62 at their last meeting in early January.
On Monday at 5:30 p.m., Eastern will host rival Morehead State. The two teams are tied for eighth place in the OVC.
Earlier this year, Morehead defeated Eastern 62-58. The Colonels were able to contain Morehead’s leading scorer, LaKrisha Brown, in the loss. Brown only scored two points in the first half.
Victories against Tennessee Tech and Morehead State would “bring us back to where we belong,” Inman said.
Reach Melissa at