One of West Tennessee’s best players is making her way to Martin, and a former Volunteer State prep standout is coming back home after spending a year in the Southeastern Conference.
The UT Martin women’s basketball program picked up four commitments on National Signing Day, a class that includes Covington’s Ashia Jones and Clarksville’s Jessy Ward, who played last season at Mississippi State and will have to sit out the 2013-14 season.
The incoming class also includes Tiffany Jones of Memphis Manassas and Chelsea Roberts out of Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo.
“This signing class does two things for us,” UT Martin head coach Kevin McMillan said. “First off, it solidifies some areas we needed help with next year because we lost a lot in terms of rebounding and post play. It also helps gives us a solid mix to prepare when our senior class is gone after next year. The biggest thing it does is gives us four more great kids who have tremendous work ethic and want to be good teammates. They are willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes to win and that bodes well for the future of our program.”
These four signees join Shai’Darrion Warfield-Cross (Bloomington, Ind.), Trischa Lacy (Urbana, Ohio), Tiara Caldwell (Millington) and Elizabeth Masengil (Englewood) as the newest wave of Skyhawks.
Ashia Jones (6-1) joins the Skyhawks out of Covington High School, where the Chargers tallied a 34-3 record and advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals in 2012-13.
She led Covington to a 21-game winning streak and first state tournament appearance for the program since 2002.
Playing under head coach Dion Real, Jones emerged as one of the premier frontcourt players in the area, averaging 18 points and 11 rebounds on her way to leading CHS to district and regional championships.
Jones was named by the TSWA as a Class AA all-state selection. She is also set to play in the West Tennessee Ridgecrest National Guard All-Star basketball game on May 4 at Liberty Tech in Jackson.
As a freshman, Ward (5-8) appeared in 25 games off the bench for the Bulldogs, averaging 1.8 points in 7.4 minutes per game.
She made 15 shots (eight of which were three-pointers) and six free throws for 44 points while also tallying 12 rebounds, nine assists and five steals.
Prior to Mississippi State, Ward was a standout at Clarksville High School, where she was named a three-star recruit and the 40th best guard in the nation by ESPN.
In her four-year tenure at CHS, the Lady Wildcats posted a 127-13 record and notched four district 10-AAA championships, two region 5-AAA titles, three sub-state championships and three appearances in the state tournament.
Ward compiled 1,714 points in her prep career, the second-most in CHS program history. She also connected on 222 three-pointers during her illustrious high school career.
Tiffany Jones (5-11) is coming off a spectacular prep career at Manassas High School, where she played for head coach Tommy Warren.
The Tigers posted a 27-5 record and claimed a Region 8-AA championship before falling to Westview in the state sectionals.
Jones averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds during her senior campaign.
Starting in 26 out of 29 games, Roberts led Mineral Area in scoring (13.7 points per game), rebounding (6.5), field goal percentage (56 percent) and steals (55) in just 22.6 minutes per game.
She also added 2.3 assists per game and shot 81.2 percent from the free throw line.
Roberts had a career-high of 25 points twice.
Before her time at Mineral Area, Roberts attended Loreto College in Marryatville, South Australia.
Published in The Messenger 4.19.13