UAM Cotton Blossoms start 2021 season

The University of Arkansas at Monticello Cotton Blossoms have officially begun the 2021 basketball season under new head coach Markel Cox.

Opening Great American Conference Play on Thursday, January 7, the Blossoms hosted Arkansas Tech at Steelman Fieldhouse.

Led by Kayla Bradley’s 17 points the Blossoms could not get anything going offensively as the Golden Suns led from start to finish holding the Blossoms to 30 total points. Arkansas Tech defeated the Blossoms 63-30.

Leading the way for UAM was Kayla Bradley with 17 followed by Taylor East with six. Aeryn Hawkins added five and Mackenzie Tillman rounded out the scoring with two.

Returning to the hardwood on Saturday, January 9, the Blossoms would play host to the Harding Lady Bisons in the second GAC game of the season and the second official game of the 2021 season.

UAM got off to a good start leading Harding at the end of the first quarter and finishing the second quarter up by 10 points at the half, 44-34.

Harding come back in the third quarter, scoring 24 points in the quarter, to overtake the Blossoms to lead by one-point at the end of the third quarter 58-57.

Both teams would trade momentum in the fourth with UAM up 72-71 with 29 seconds remaining in the game. Harding, being forced to foul, sent the Blossoms to the line where UAM were able to connect on their free throws to finish with the game with a 76-71 victory to not only earn the first GAC win of the season but also giving new head coach, Markel Cox, his first win at UAM.

Speaking to the UAM Assistant Athletic Director Connor McGinnis, Coach Cox had this to say about his team’s performance and win.

"Kudos to our team for executing the (scouting report) and to my assistants for preparing the (scouting report) and helping us get that win," Cox said. "It definitely was a hard-fought game. Harding is one of the top teams in our conference usually every year, so to be able to come in here and execute a game plan lets me know we're at least trending in the right direction."

Leading the way for the Blossoms was Mackenzie Tillman with 22 points followed by Kayla Bradley with 13. Nina Kizzee and Dezirae King each scored 11 with Taylor Flores scoring nine. Jaida Muhammad finished with five, Aeryn Hawkins scored three and Lauren Kliene rounded out the scoring with two.

The Blossoms will return to action on Saturday, January 16, traveling to Henderson State. Thursday’s contest against Ouachita Baptist at Steelman Filed House has been canceled due to Ouachita’s team following Covid Protocol

As of now there are not any fans allowed to be presence during games as the schools are following guidance from the Great American Conference regarding Covid Protocol. Attendance could be revisited after the games that are scheduled for January 16 according to an earlier press release by the GAC. If attendance is allowed after that date it could be at a 25 percent venue capacity limit.

All UAM contests are being broadcasted from UAM’s youtube channel and is a free service so fans can view the games.

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