No. 5 UT Martin Skyhawks open OVC Basketball Championship against No. 8 Morehead State Wednesday

 No. 5 UT Martin Skyhawks open OVC Basketball Championship against No. 8 Morehead State Wednesday

The UT Martin women’s basketball team enters the 2023 OVC Basketball Championship presented by United Fidelity Bank as the fifth seed with a first round matchup against eighth seeded Morehead State Wednesday afternoon.

Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00 from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

UT Martin enters the OVC Basketball Championship looking to build upon the team’s recent success in the tournament, posting a 21-9 record in championship play under the direction of head coach Kevin McMillan. In addition to winning four consecutive tournament championships from 2011-14, the Skyhawks have advanced to the finals in four of the last five years.

The Skyhawks (13-16, 9-9 OVC) finished the regular season by winning back-to-back contests – including a 74-60 road matchup against Morehead State in the season finale. UT Martin finished the conference slate leading the league in free throw percentage (78.5 percent), steals (10.7 spg) and blocked shots (3.2 bpg) while ranking second in three-point field goals made (6.5).

Individually, the Skyhawks are led by freshman forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks who has claimed back-to-back OVC Player of the Week honors heading into the tournament while also earning a program-record nine OVC Freshman of the Week accolades. Currie-Jelks ranks third in the OVC in scoring (14.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (53.5 percent) while sitting fifth in rebounding (6.8 rpg). The Skyhawk pair of Shae Littleford (12.5 ppg, 3.4 apg) and Paige Pipkin (11.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg) also score in double figures for the squad.

Morehead State (10-19, 6-12 OVC) enters the tournament field having lost six of its last seven contest to close out the regular season. The Eagles boast a pair of All-OVC nominees in five-time OVC Newcomer of the Week Veronica Charles (13.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.0 spg) and one of the nation’s top assist leaders in Sandra Lin (7.0 ppg, 5.1 apg).

UT Martin swept the season series against Morehead State, winning both contests by an average of 14.5 points per game. The Skyhawks lead the all-time series by a narrow 31-29 margin but have beat the Eagles in eight consecutive head-to-head matchups.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ while Chris Brinkley will have the call on WCMT beginning at 12:30.