Women’s basketball team falls flat offensively in loss to Skyhawks


Rob Le Cates

Eastern head coach Matt Bollant addresses the team during a timeout in the Saturday game against Tennessee-Martin at Lantz Arena. The Panthers lost 58-45 to the Skyhawks.

Adam Tumino, Sports Editor

The Eastern women’s basketball team dropped its second-straight game at home Saturday, losing to Tennessee-Martin 58-45.

It was the also the second-straight game in which the Panthers set a new conference season low in points, coming off a 65-56 loss to Tennessee Tech on Thursday.

After entering halftime with a four-point lead, the Panthers were outscored 19-2 in the third quarter, shooting just 1-of-14 as a team. Both teams scored 16 points in the fourth, but the Panthers were not dig out of their second-half deficit.

Head coach Matt Bollant said that he thought the team came out of halftime feeling flat, which led to the disappointing third quarter.

“We played great defense in the first half, but we didn’t have a look of joy and excitement at halftime,” he said. “I think we were frustrated with ourselves offensively and we let that carry over into the third quarter. We felt like we probably should’ve been up a little bit more at half. We didn’t play well offensively throughout. We just for whatever reason did not have joy.”

Things looked good for the Panthers in the first quarter. They held the Skyhawks scoreless for the first 4:48 of the game and jumped out to a 7-0 lead. They shot 6-of-11 in the first quarter but then shot just 5-of-25 over the second and third quarters combined.

The Skyhawks shot 12-of-24 in the second and third quarters including 6-of-13 from three-point range.

The Panthers offense has not been operating to its potential the last two games, scoring 101 combined points. Prior to that, Eastern had been averaging 78 points per game over a five-game win streak.

Bollant said that for the offense to get back on track for the final four regular season games, the team needs to get its scoring confidence back.

“We’ve got to get that belief back,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve got to make a shot or two to get your belief in the next one, so how do we help them to get that belief?”

Eastern was led by senior guard Kira Arthofer with 11 points. She also had six assists, five steals and three rebounds. Junior guard Lariah Washington added 10 points.

Charleston native Shae Littleford, currently a freshman for the Skyhawks, had 13 points and five assists in her return to her home town. The Skyhawks were led by Seygan Robins with 14 points off the bench, 12 of which came in the first half.

The Panthers have a tough two-game road trip ahead, starting on Thursday against OVC-leading Belmont. They then play Tennessee State on Feb. 19. Arthofer said that the team needs play with confidence in those two games to try to get a pair of road wins.

“In this league anyone can win, and I think today kind of showed that,” she said. “I think having that confidence going into these next two away games, the confidence that we can win them, and that we can go into someone else’s house and win games as well.”

The Panthers are 5-2 in road conference games so far this season with their last OVC road loss coming Jan. 24 at Tennessee Tech. They previously lost to Belmont 71-57 on Jan. 1 and beat Tennessee State 78-70 in overtime on Jan. 29.


Adam Tumino can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]