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Dance Card: Tennessee-Martin, Ohio Valley champions

Only in Martin, Tennessee can the NCAA's ninth-leading scorer not even lead her team in scoring.

Photo by USA Today Sports.

Who? The Skyhawks of the University of Tennessee at Martin. UT Martin for short. Always Skyhawks, never Lady Skyhawks.

What? Specifically, red-tailed hawks, and Captain is explicitly non-gendered.

Where? Martin, Tennessee, on what Wikipedia describes as a "particularly scenic and well-landscaped" campus.

When? March 9th, in Nashville, Tennessee.

Why? They won the Ohio Valley conference tournament.

How? Jasmine Newsome hit a lay-up with two seconds left to force overtime, and the Skyhawks of Tennessee-Martin earned an 87-80 win over Tennessee Tech. Newsome had 34 points to lead all scorers. Heather Butler had 24 for the Skyhawks, and Rickiesha Bryant put in a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference's West Division, they ended up in second, a game behind Eastern Illinois.

RPI: 108

SOS: 104

Record: 19-14 (11-5 Ohio Valley)

Good wins: Southern Miss.

Bad losses: Indiana State.

Who's running this show? Kevin McMillan, since 2009. Did a bit of time at Middle Tennessee State.

Extra, Extra! The Weakley County Press covers UT Martin.


For the Skyhawks, it all comes down to whether their two star juniors can get going. Ohio Valley Player of the Year Jasmine Newsome averages 22.5 points to lead UT Martin, and Heather Butler averages 21.9; both of them are top ten in the NCAA in that category. Together they take more than half their team's shots and score more than half of the Skyhawks' 72.8 points per game. The rest of the starting five appears to be tailored to be a supporting cast, hitting the boards (especially senior forward Rickiesha Bryant) and getting physical (to judge from the 19 DQs compiled by Skyhawk players, none by Newsome or Butler).