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MARTIN, Tenn. - The University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball team is set open its season with the program’s first ever Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament appearance. The Skyhawks will open the first round of the WNIT by playing host to Georgia State from the Sun Belt conference on Friday, Nov. 8. Tip-off from the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center at 6 p.m.
The Skyhawks are looking to make yet another deep postseason run after winning three consecutive Ohio Valley Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, the program’s first pair of three-peats in its’ 44-year history.
With the high standards set for the program, fifth-year head coach Kevin McMillan and the Skyhawks will have to rely on their three starters among eight returners from last year’s championship team. Among the top returnees is the dynamic scoring duo of senior guards Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler.
Despite normally being outsized on the court, Newsome and Butler have risen above their stout competition to set to new precedents at UT Martin. While rewriting the UT Martin record books, Newsome and Butler made national headlines this past season as they ranked as the only duo to both rank in the top-10 nationally in scoring as Newsome tallied 22.6 point per game (fifth) and Butler trailed with 22.4 point per game (sixth).
Throughout their first three seasons as a Skyhawk, Newsome and Butler have rewritten the UT Martin record books. Newsome ranks second on the all-time scoring list (1,958 points) while Butler has meanwhile revolutionized the scoring logs, ranking atop career points (2,111). Butler also holds the longest active NCAA streak of consecutive games with double-digit points (97) and ranks in the top-10 in 13 statistical categories.
The Panthers return eight letterwinners from a 13-16 team in coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener’s third year at GSU. That returning group includes six of the seven leading scorers on last season’s team. GSU’s only senior is guard Kendra Long, who owns the school record for career 3-point baskets with 165. With 867 points, she needs just 133 more to become the 21st 1,000-point scorer at Georgia State.
Fans can follow along with all the action from Friday evening’s game with a live video feed courtesy of the OVC Digital Network along with live stats, available at the links above. Locally, Chris Brinkley (play-by-play) and Cal Luther (color) will provide all the action on Star 95.1 FM.