Preseason NIT field counts UTM women among ‘Sweet 16’

Preseason NIT field counts UTM women among ‘Sweet 16’

UT Martin has been tabbed for the 16-team 2013 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament.
The field also features Georgia State, Gonzaga, Idaho, IPFW, Louisville, Loyola Chicago, LSU, Mount St. Mary’s, North Carolina A&T, Oklahoma, Quinnipiac, Saint Joseph’s, Stephen F. Austin, Stetson and Wichita State.
Ten of the 16 teams are coming off of NCAA Tournament appearances.
UT Martin (19-15) was the only team in the nation to boast two players in the Top 10 scorers, and both of them are coming back for more in 2013.
Two-time Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year Jasmine Newsome (22.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.5 apg) teams with three-time OVC first-teamer Heather Butler (22.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.0 apg) as the Skyhawks prepare to win their fourth straight OVC Tournament title and ensuing NCAA Tournament berth.
Newsome and Butler are highlighted in the July 2013 edition of SLAM Magazine.
The Skyhawk tandem is featured on page 27 under the “Picture Me Ballin’: Under-the-Radar Players Who Demand Your Attention” section. SLAM writer Franklyn Calle touts UT Martin as “one of the top mid-major programs in the country”.
Both three-time All-Ohio Valley Conference first teamers, Newsome and Butler each ranked in the top-10 in the nation in scoring in 2012-13, ranking fifth and sixth, respectively.
Newsome captured her second straight OVC Player of the Year honors en route to All-American honorable mention accolades last season.
Butler set an NCAA record by making a three-pointer in 80 consecutive games and tallied 37 points in the Skyhawks’ NCAA Tournament game against eventual Final Four participant Notre Dame, which ranked as the highest individual scoring game in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Together, Butler and Newsome are the program’s top two scorers after only three seasons, as Butler has poured in 2,111 points and Newsome has accumulated 1,958 points. They have helped UT Martin to 63 victories and three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances since 2010.
The magazine — which features Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving on the cover — hit newsstands earlier this week and is on sale for $5.99. SLAM has been in publication since 1994.
The Preseason WNIT features a three-game guarantee format. The event opens Nov. 8 with first-round games. Second-round games will be played Nov. 10-11; semifinals will be Nov. 14; and the championship is set for Nov. 17.
Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 15-16. All games are hosted by participating schools. The official tournament bracket with first-round opponents, game dates and times will be announced next month.
The championship game will be nationally televised LIVE in HD on CBS Sports Network at 3 p.m. Nov. 17.
In last year’s Preseason WNIT, North Carolina defeated Iowa 77-64 in the championship game.
Two years ago, No. 1 Baylor defeated No. 2 Notre Dame on the way to history’s only perfect 40-0 season.
The Women’s National Invitation Tournament is an annual invitation-only tournament involving 16 of the nation’s top women’s Division I basketball teams.
A team may participate no more than once in a four-year period. Additionally, only one institution per conference may play in the tournament in the same year.
The Preseason WNIT began in its modern form in 1994. It is organized and produced by Triple Crown Sports, a national sports event company based in Fort Collins, Colo.
For more information on the WNIT visit: www.womensnit.com.
Teams are selected for the Preseason WNIT based on their program’s expected success for that season, their relevant past, their conference standings, fan base, and geographical location, to name a few criteria.
The teams that compete well in the Preseason WNIT typically go on to finish very strong and advance to postseason play.

Published in The Messenger 5.28.13

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