NEWSOME, BUTLER GARNER ALL-OVC FIRST TEAM ACCOLADES; NEWSOME SWEEPS TWO PREMIER PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARDS
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee at Martin junior guards Jasmine Newsome and Heather Butler each earned spots on the All-Ohio Valley Conference first team, while Newsome claimed OVC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors as voted on by the league’s head women's basketball coaches and sports information directors.
This is the third time both Newsome and Butler have been named to the All-OVC first team, and second time for Newsome to win both the Player of the Year (also won in 2011-12) and Defensive Player of the Year (also won in 2010-11) accolades. Newsome becomes the first player in UT Martin history to win the league’s Player of the Year award on two different occasions.
“For Jasmine to be Player of the Year for the second season in a row, along with Defensive Player of the Year speaks to her dedication to her skill and team,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “For both players to be named to the first team is a great recognition of their talent. Any time those two players accomplish something like this, it’s a testament to how good of a teammate they are and how they are great representatives of our university.”
A 5-7 junior out of Millington, Newsome ranks seventh in the nation in scoring at 21.9 points per game. She poured in double-digit scoring outputs in 29 out of 30 games, tallying 20 or more points in 19 games. She hit the 30-point plateau three times, including a season-high 36 points at Southeast Missouri on Jan. 16.
In addition to leading the OVC in scoring, Newsome also paces the league in assists (5.6 per game) and steals (3.1 per game). She swiped three or more steals in an astonishing 19 games, including a career-best seven steals at SIU Edwardsville on Jan. 26. She won the league’s Player of the Week award seven times in 2012-13, including three straight times to close out the regular season.
Newsome became the program’s all-time assists leader (491) this season and ranks second in UT Martin history in scoring (1,845) – trailing only Butler.
Butler also pours in 21.9 points per game, making UT Martin the only school in the nation to boast two top-10 scorers. The Medina native boasts an active NCAA record in consecutive games with a made three-pointer (76) and has reached double-figures in the scoring column in all 93 career games.
The 5-6 Butler was a member of the preseason Wade Watch list – the highest accomplishment in women’s collegiate basketball. She lived up to the hype in 2012-13, scoring 20 or more points 18 different times, including a pair of 30-point performances. She tossed in a season-high 32 points against Austin Peay on Jan. 7 and leads the OVC in three-point field goals made (94) and minutes played (39.3 per game).
At Austin Peay last Saturday, Butler became the first UT Martin basketball player to register 2,000 career points. She currently stands at a program-record 2,005 points and also is the Skyhawks’ career leader in three-point field goals made (277).
UT Martin enters this week’s OVC Tournament with a 16-14 overall record and 11-5 league slate. The Skyhawks are the No. 4 seed and have received an automatic bye into the league quarterfinals, where they will play either No. 5 Eastern Kentucky or No. 8 Murray State on Thursday, March 7 at noon.