BUTLER, NEWSOME AND JONES TAKE HOME PREMIER OVC PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
March 4, 2014
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin senior guards Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome earned spots on the All-Ohio Valley Conference first team, while Butler garnered her first Player of the Year honor and Newsome picked up her third Defensive Player of the Year award. Freshman Ashia Jones was named to the All-OVC second team, All-Newcomer squad and was tabbed Freshman of the Year in her debut season.
This is the fourth time both Butler and Newsome have been named to the All-OVC first team, while ranking as Butler’s first Player of the Year award, the league’s highest honor. For Newsome, this marks the third year in which she has been tabbed the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, also winning the award in 2010-11 and 2012-13. Overall, the duo of Butler and Newsome have won the last three OVC Player of the Year awards. Jones becomes the second player to win Freshman of the Year in program history, behind Butler who accomplished the feat in 2010-11.
“I am tremendously proud of this group of accomplishments for three great ladies,” said UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan. “These three are extremely hard working both on and off the court, serving as great ambassadors for our program. It’s only fitting that Heather and Jasmine are rewarded for not only their hard work this season, but throughout their career. Ashia has developed into a great player and we hope that she can continue our tradition. All three are selfless players and put the team accomplishments above all personal accolades.”
A 5-5 senior out of Medina, Butler ranks ninth in the nation in scoring with a league leading 24.1 points per game. She took home OVC Player of the Week honors five times after becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer with 2,811 career points. Her 2,811 career points rank 20th on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list.
Butler has scored in double figures every game of her career, ranging 126 consecutive games, ranking as the longest active streak in the NCAA. Her mark of 126 games in double figures ranks seventh in NCAA history. This season she eclipsed 20 points or more on 18 separate occasions, adding to her career total of 73 games. She tied the program record for points in a single game with 44 points on two occasions.
A native of Millington, Newsome ranks fourth in the league with 19.1 points per game while ranking first in assists (6.0 apg), steals (2.8 spg) and assist/turnover ratio (2.1). She poured in double figure scoring outputs in 24 of 29 games, including 20 or more points in 10 games. She hit the 30-point plateau three times, while setting a single-game record with 44 points against Quinnipiac on Nov. 16.
Newsome won the OVC Player of the Week award two times along with moving into third on the league’s all-time scoring list with 2,512 career points. She swiped multiple steals in an astonishing 18 games, including a career-best seven steals on back-to-back occasions against Tennessee State and Murray State.
A freshman from Covington, Jones has quickly become one of the league’s top players after an impressive rookie campaign. Since entering OVC play, Jones has ranked fifth in the league with 18.1 points per game while leading the league with a .593 field goal percentage. Overall, Jones finished the season with averages of 12.9 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 0.9 blocks per game.
Jones scored in double figures 20 times on the season, including finishing the year with 14 consecutive games with 10 points or more. She scored 20 points or more on seven occasions and in five straight contests to cap the season. She took home a program record six Freshman of the Week honors this season, finishing the year with three consecutive weeks of honors.
UT Martin enters this week’s OVC Tournament with a 22-7 overall record and 15-1 league slate. The Skyhawks won their second outright OVC regular season championship en route to earning the No.1 seed and an automatic double bye into the league semifinals. The Skyhawks will have to wait to find out their opponent before opening tournament action on Friday, March 7 at noon.
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