SKYHAWK WOMEN'S HOOPS RETURNS TO THE COURT WITH THE START OF PRACTICE

October 2, 2016

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MARTIN, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference’s three-time reigning regular season champion women’s basketball team returned to the hardwood of the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center on Sunday afternoon as official practice opened for the University of Tennessee at Martin.

UT Martin begins its title defense after winning three consecutive OVC championships following a 22-10 season. Along with yet another conference title, the Skyhawks notched the program’s sixth consecutive postseason berth with an appearance in the Women’s NIT and first postseason victory since the 1998-99 season. The Skyhawks also notched the team’s fifth 20-win season in last six years.

With the start of the regular season just 40 days away, the Skyhawks will hit the practice court in an effort to solidify a squad which features just two starting returners from a year ago while welcoming seven new faces into the fold.

While practice officially opened on Sunday, the Skyhawks benefited from 10 practice days associated with the program’s foreign tour to Costa Rica this summer which provided a valuable head start for the program’s fall practice schedule.

“It was invaluable with the practice time,” said two-time reigning OVC Coach of the Year Kevin McMillan. “Just being able to get together, practice and give these kids a jumpstart on what they have to do and the expectation of practice and how to do drills are to be performed should really help us as we get started. With the trip and the additional practices, we are basically able to skip an entire month of a learning curve while featuring some bonding experiences which should help the team as a whole. We are excited to get going and to see how this team will mix together.”

The Skyhawks feature a roster which includes senior Jessy Ward who earned All-OVC second team honors last season. Ward played in all 32 games for the Skyhawks, averaging 13.0 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals in 30.3 minutes per game. She scored 20 points or more on six occasions while posting 20 games in double figures. She scored a career-high 29 points against North Dakota in the season opener, knocking down 11 field goals and seven three-pointers. Ward returns for her third season while the trio of Myah Taylor (OVC All-Newcomer selection), Emanye Robertson and Shy Copney return for their second year in the program.

UT Martin will begin the 2016-17 season with a Nov. 7 home exhibition against Christian Brothers, a Division II opponent out of Memphis, Tenn. The Skyhawks will open the season on Friday, Nov. 11 against Louisville in the Elam Center.

For information on season ticket packages and single-game tickets, contact ticket operations manager Fran Spears at (731) 881-7207.



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