Boxscore PDF Butler Highlights
MOREHEAD, Ky. - Senior guard Heather Butler made Ohio Valley Conference history by becoming the league's all-time leading scorer in a 74-52 road victory at Morehead State on Saturday afternoon.
Butler would become the OVC's all-time leading scorer by passing Tennessee Tech former standout Cheryl Taylor's previous mark of 2,526 career points, a mark set in 1987. Butler scored a game high 26 points on the afternoon while moving into 35th on the NCAA's career leaderboard with 2,532 career points.
"Honestly, it is one of those things that you cannot even begin to put into words," said Butler. "I could not have done it without my teammates all four years. They have always meant so much to me and I get emotional just thinking about what all this program has meant to me personally. All of my coaches, going back to high school, have always given me the upmost support and the support staff of my mother and sister has been incredible. It is a good feeling to know that they are proud of you, overwhelming in a way. To be able to go away from this program my senior year, knowing that I did everything I could, allows me to leave this program down the road with a smile on my face."
"My family is my backbone and follow me around everywhere I go," said Butler. "Throughout growing up, my mom was always there for me, whether it was rebounding or whatever my needs. I do not have words to describe how much my mom, sister and everyone in this program means to me."
The Skyhawks (13-6, 6-0 OVC) were led in scoring by Butler who finished with 26 points. Jasmine Newsome tossed in 19 points while moving into sixth on the league's scoring list with her 2,320th career point, passing Tennessee Tech's Emily Christian.
"Heather and Jasmine are such special kids, but what is great about the two is how they put winning the game above all else," said UT Martin coach Kevin McMillan. "Kids that are so into their team, you love to get rewarded as much as they can because they put the team accomplishments above all others."
"For us to be able to play the way we did, picking up the road victory, without the play of two starters was very good," continued McMillan. "We had the chance to blow it open late in the game, but overall I thought we played a solid game. There are little things that we still need to correct, but I'm tremendously pleased to win without two key players."
Morehead State (8-10, 2-3 OVC) was led in scoring by Almesha Jones who tallied 15 points and a game high nine rebounds. Jones was joined in double figures by Taybreanna Couch who tossed in 14 points.
"Heather Butler is very deserving of the OVC's all-time scoring record," said Morehead State coach Tom Hodges. "I'm just sorry it happened here at Johnson Arena. Heather is a ball of energy and catalyst for everything they do. A lot of the success UT Martin has enjoyed in recent years is due to her. I'm glad to see her go because she's such a great player."
Both teams exchanged eight points in the opening minutes of the game. For the Skyhawks, senior Megan White made the most of her first start of the season, making a three-point field goal from the right corner. Butler would toss in a three of her own while Shanice Parker scored four points for the Eagles.
The Skyhawks would put together an 8-2 run over the next three minutes, as Butler tossed in another three. Cortrice Golden would check in for the Skyhawks before immediately making her impact felt. In a pair of sequences, Golden would tally not only a soft layup but a rebound, steal and assists in her first minute of play. UT Martin would hold the 16-10 lead with 11:45 to play in the first.
UT Martin would maintain its lead in the following minutes, outscoring Morehead State 11-7. Newsome scored six points during the span, including a three pointer of her own and a fastbreak layup.
The Skyhawks would respond with another 14-7 run, stretching their lead out to 37-24 with 3:25 to play in the first half. During the run, Newsome moved into double figures with another pair of three pointers while seven Skyhawks joined in the scoring column.
Morehead State would threaten to close the half, but the Skyhawks would take the 43-28 lead into the halftime break. The Skyhawks placed two in double figures, led by 15 points from Newsome and 12 points from Butler. The Eagles were led by Jones who tossed in nine points with six rebounds while Couch tallied eight points and five rebounds.
The second half began with a layup by Tiara Caldwell as the Skyhawks would outscore the Eagles 7-4. With a field goal by Newsome, she would pass Tennessee Tech's Emily Christian on the OVC's scoring leaderboard to move into sixth.
Neither team showed much fluidity over the next four minutes as the Skyhawks would slightly outscore the Eagles 5-4. UT Martin would hold a 55-36 lead with 11:55 to play in the game.
Newsome and Butler would single handedly outscore Morehead State over the following four minutes of play, tossing in a combined six points while the Eagles responded with four points of their own.
History would be made at the 4:12 mark of the second half as Butler moved into first on the OVC's all-time scoring list to pass Tennessee Tech's Cheryl Taylor who held the previous record of 2,526 points for 27 years. With a three-point play, Butler set the league's record while moving into 35th on the NCAA's all-time scoring list.
Ultimately, the Skyhawks would pullout the victory down the stretch with the 74-52 victory. The win moves the Skyhawks to a perfect 6-0 in conference play.
UT Martin will return to action on Monday, Jan. 20 when they host OVC rival Tennessee Tech. The Skyhawks and Golden Eagles have matched up in each of the previous three OVC Tournament championships. Tip-off from the Elam Center is schedule for 7 p.m.
Photos Courtesy of Guy Huffman/Morehead State Athletics