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Tech picked over UTM women

Tech picked over UTM women
Tennessee Tech has been picked to win the 2011-12 Ohio Valley Conference women’s basketball title in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.
The Golden Eagles earned 193 points, including 13 first-place votes, while UT Martin is selected to finish second, garnering nine first-place nods.
Eastern Illinois picked up 159 points for a predicted third-place finish, followed by Austin Peay with 142 points to finish fourth.
Rounding out the poll are Morehead State (133 points), Murray State (88 points), Tennessee State (82 points), SIUE (73 points), Jacksonville State (72 points), Eastern Kentucky (47 points) and Southeast Missouri (34 points).
UT Martin went 21-11 overall and 14-4 in the OVC to finish second last year.
The Skyhawks claimed their first OVC Tournament title with a 82-76 win over top-seeded Tennessee Tech in the championship game.
UTM made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament last year as they fell to Duke in the first round.
Head coach Kevin McMillan, who enters his third year at UTM, will have four of his five starters back from last year. The Skyhawks will once again have just one senior on the squad this year in guard Taylor Hall.
Hall, a native of Mount Juliet, recorded 5.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last year.
Among the other top returnees are sophomore guards Heather Butler and Jasmine Newsome, both earning preseason all-conference honors.
Butler, a native of Medina, was named the 2010-11 OVC Freshman of the Year after putting up 19.0 point per game. She ended the season as the nation’s top scoring freshman.
A product of Millington, Newsome earned 2011-12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors. She recorded a team-high 70 steals last year to go along with 17.6 points per game to rank among league leaders.
Tennessee Tech is coming off a season in which it went 23-8 overall and 15-3 in Conference play en route to its 16th OVC regular-season title.
The Golden Eagles made its first trip to the championship game of the league tournament since 2006 last season, where it lost to second-seeded UT Martin, 82-76.
The 2011-12 campaign kicks off with Morehead State hosting Kentucky Christian in an exhibition game on Nov. 3.
The regular-season begins on Nov. 11 with conference play starting on Dec. 28.
Nine different teams have won a regular-season title with Tennessee Tech leading the way with 16. Published in The Messenger 10.25.11

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