SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that University of Tennessee at Martin women’s basketball senior duo of Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome have been named finalists for the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award. Named after Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, the award recognizes the top point guard in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. The original watch list of candidates was narrowed down to 22 finals by a nationally based committee.
Butler has been a model of consistency for the Skyhawks throughout her career, ranking 24th on the NCAA’s all-time scoring list with 2,738 career points. She ranks as UT Martin’s all-time leading scorer, along with sitting atop the Ohio Valley Conference leaderboard. A native of Medina, Tenn., Butler is the NCAA active leader with 124 consecutive games in which she has scored in double digits. Her 124 games in which she has scored double figures ranks eighth in NCAA history. She has tallied 367 three-point field goals in her career, ranking eighth in the NCAA.
Newsome ranks second in program history with 2,470 career points while ranking fourth on the OVC’s all-time leaderboard. A Millington, Tenn. native, Newsome is a two-time OVC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year recipient. She was one of the preseason Lieberman Watch List candidates after becoming the program’s first Associated Press All-American last season. Newsome ranks amongst league leaders with 19 points, 5.4 assists, 2.7 steals and 0.4 blocks per game this season.
“We are honored to be recognizing these 22 athletes for their strengths, skills and commitment to the game of basketball and are excited to move forward in the selection process,” Lieberman said. “All of these young women deserved to be on the list for this well-respected award and deserve recognition for their determination.”
A premier Selection Committee made up of top college basketball personnel including Hall of Famers, media members, head coaches and sports information directors was appointed by the Hall of Fame to review the candidates. The list will be narrowed down to a final five by March and the winner will be announced during Final Four weekend activities.
Previous winners of the Nancy Lieberman Award include last year’s recipient Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), Sue Bird (Connecticut), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Connecticut), Lindsey Harding (Duke), Courtney Vandersloot (Gonzaga), Temeka Johnson (LSU), Kristi Toliver (Maryland), Ivory Latta (North Carolina) and Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State).
The 2014 Nancy Lieberman Award candidates are Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Jerica Coley (FIU), Yashira Delgado (Florida State), Damika Martinez (Iona College), Ashley Deary (Northwestern), Tiffany Bias (Oklahoma State), Fantasia Hilliard (Sacramento State), Amber Orrange (Stanford), Natasha Cloud (St. Joseph’s), Joanna Harden (Troy), Brittany Boyd (California-Berkley), Bria Hartley (Connecticut), Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut), Samantha Logic (Iowa), Valencia McFarland (Ole Miss), Lindsay Allen (Notre Dame), Jamierra Faulkner (Southern Miss), Heather Butler (UT Martin), Jasmine Newsome (UT Martin), Andola Dortch (Toledo), Jennifer Schlott (Utah State) and Dequesha McClanahan (Winthrop).