Though it was a notable night for junior guard Catie Kaifes after scoring 18 points, her career-best, the Colonels came up short, 87-61, against University of Tennessee-Martin in their first conference game in McBrayer Arena Thursday night.
Though the Colonels could not pull out a victory, Kaifes remained a fighter throughout the game, scoring 13 of her 18 points in the second half and grabbing a total of eight rebounds.
Starting off the game with full-court press defense, UTM put the pressure on EKU from the beginning. Though the Colonels hung with the Skyhawks in the first quarter, UTM pushed hard on the gas in the second, going on a 7-0 run and increasing their lead by 11 points.
The Colonels continued to fight back. Sophomore Bria Bass had five unanswered points of her own in that same quarter. UTM’s defense, however, forced EKU to turn the ball over eight times by halftime, with the score 39-24 at half.
“One thing we gotta do is take care of the ball. I feel like turnovers really killed us,” Bass said. “Even if we do turn it over, we just have to pick our heads up and go to the next play.”
Currently ranked ninth nationally for scoring on offense, UTM’s full-court pressure and successful offensive front proved to be enough to take down the Colonels. UTM outshot the Colonels, shooting 45 percent on the night. The Skyhawks also took 74 shots to the Colonels’ 52. Forward Chelsey Perry had a career-high 25 points with 12 rebounds. UTM had two other players in double-figures, senior guard Emanye Robertson with 12 and freshman Brittni Moore with 11 points of her own.
With the turnaround for their next game being quick, the most important factors leading up to their next game will be remaining calm in pressure situations and focusing on practice, Kaifes said.
“We just need to keep our heads up and keep playing,” Kaifes said, “and we have to transfer what we did at practice onto the court to make it better.”
The Colonels next match-up is with Southeast Missouri University on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.