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Men's basketball picked fifth by OVC Media; Women picked ninth

Men’s basketball picked fifth by OVC Media; Women picked ninth

Posted on 20 October 2017 by admin

For the fourth year in a row, the Ohio Valley Conference has conducted a Preseason Men’s and Women’s Media Poll prior to the start of the season. In total 12 voters from around the league cast a ballot on whom they thought would be the 2017-18 basketball favorites and preseason players of the year.

The OVC will release its preseason poll and All-OVC team, as voted on by league head coaches and sports information directors, on Tuesday, October 24 during the league’s annual Media Day in Evansville.

The media panel picked the Belmont men’s and women’s teams as the preseason favorites. Murray State senior guard Jonathan Stark was tabbed the OVC Men’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year while Murray State senior forward Ke’Shunan James was named OVC Women’s Basketball Preseason Player of the Year.

In the men’s voting, defending regular season champion Belmont picked up eight of the 13 first-place votes and 148 total points in being picked the preseason favorite. Murray State picked up one first-place vote and 138 points to be picked second while defending OVC Tournament champion Jacksonville State received two first-place votes and 132 points in being tabbed third. Tennessee State (95 points) and Eastern Kentucky (91) also picked up first-place votes in being selected fourth and fifth. The poll was rounded out by UT Martin (82), Tennessee Tech (80), Eastern Illinois (79), Morehead State (59), Austin Peay (48), Southeast Missouri (36) and SIUE (26).

In women’s voting, it was two-time defending OVC Tournament champion Belmont who picked up 12 of the 13 first-place votes and 155 points in being tabbed an overwhelming favorite. UT Martin picked up the other first-place vote and 125 points in being picked second while Morehead State was third (119) and SIUE fourth (109). The poll was rounded out by Murray State (96), Austin Peay (91), Tennessee Tech (71), Southeast Missouri (66), Eastern Kentucky (57), Jacksonville State (55), Tennessee State (40) and Eastern Illinois (30).

Pollsters for the 2017-18 OVC Media Poll included: Catlin Bogard, OVC Ball; Mike Bradd, Eastern Illinois Radio; Neal Bradley, Murray State Radio; Rob Calhoun, Eastern Illinois Radio; Edward Marlowe, Paducah Sun; Mike Organ, The Tennessean; Justin Rust, Journal Gazette/Times-Courier; Harry Schroeder,; Greg Stotelmyer, Eastern Kentucky Sports Network.

2017-18 Media OVC Preseason Men’s Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (8 first-place votes) – 148 points
2. Murray State (1) – 138
3. Jacksonville State (2) – 132
4. Tennessee State (1) – 95
5. Eastern Kentucky (1) – 91
6. UT Martin – 82
7. Tennessee Tech – 80
8. Eastern Illinois – 79
9. Morehead State – 59
10. Austin Peay – 48
11. Southeast Missouri – 36
12. SIUE – 26

Preseason Player of the Year: Jonathan Stark, Murray State

2017-18 Media OVC Preseason Women’s Predicted Order of Finish
1. Belmont (12 first-place votes) – 155 points
2. UT Martin (1) – 125
3. Morehead State – 119
4. SIUE – 109
5. Murray State – 96
6. Austin Peay – 91
7. Tennessee Tech – 71
8. Southeast Missouri – 66
9. Eastern Kentucky – 57
10. Jacksonville State – 55
11. Tennessee State – 40
12. Eastern Illinois – 30

Preseason Player of the Year: Ke’Shunan James, Murray State

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2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to be Held at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana

2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to be Held at Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana

Posted on 16 February 2017 by admin

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – The Ohio Valley Conference Board of Presidents have awarded the 2018 OVC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship to the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.

The date of the 2018 OVC Basketball Championship is February 28 – March 3, 2018.

“We are excited about the opportunity to take our flagship championship to another region of the OVC footprint,” said OVC Commissioner Beth DeBauche. “We look forward to the opportunity to partner with the City of Evansville and the Evansville Sports Corporation to provide an outstanding experience for our student-athletes and fans.

“I additionally want to thank the OVC Board of Presidents for their time and thoughtful approach in reaching this decision,” DeBauche added.

“I look forward to the OVC Championship being played in Evansville and at the Ford Center,” said Murray State President Dr. Robert O. Davies, who is the chair of the OVC Board of Presidents. “This facility is the ideal place to showcase our Conference and will be a memorable experience for our student-athletes. I also look forward to the emerging partnership with community of Evansville and know this will be an exciting event for the participants and spectators.”

The Ford Center, which opened in 2011, is a 10,000-seat arena located in the core of Evansville’s downtown district. The 290,000-square foot facility serves as home of the University of Evansville’s men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as the Evansville Thunderbolts of the Southern Professional Hockey League. The Ford Center has serves as host to numerous sporting events and concerts on an annual basis.

“Evansville is a basketball town and we could not be more excited to partner with the Ohio Valley Conference to deliver a championship atmosphere for OVC student-athletes and fans alike,” said Jason Sands, Executive Director of the Evansville Sports Corporation.

Evansville is the third-largest city in the state of Indiana with a population of nearly 120,000 in the city limit and 300,000 people in the metropolitan area.

“Our city has demonstrated on multiple occasions the ability to host great sporting events at every level,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “We gladly welcome the Ohio Valley Conference and look forward to showing their student-athletes the best experience possible,” he continued.

The OVC Basketball Tournament is the fourth-oldest Division I Championship in the country; it will be held for the 54th time overall on March 1-4, 2017 at Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. That will mark the 23rd time in the past 24 years the event has taken place in Nashville. The last OVC Basketball Tournament held outside of Nashville took place in Louisville, Kentucky in 2002. The OVC will also partner with the Nashville Sports Council to serve as hosts of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds at Bridgestone Arena in 2018 (March 16-18).

During the 2017-18 academic year, the OVC Board of Presidents will consider future tournament site locations.

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Belmont Ends Lady Colonels OVC Tourney Run.

Belmont Ends Lady Colonels OVC Tourney Run.

Posted on 05 March 2016 by Bret Shroats


NASHVILLE, Tenn – Eastern Kentucky University Lady Colonels fought hard against Belmont University Bruins but fell in the OVC finals 95 – 63.

Both teams came out battling from the start. Belmont started up 5-0 but EKU (18-12) would battle back and only trail 18-16.

The second quarter would be one the Lady Colonels wish they could take back. The Bruins (24-8) would jump out and take a 41-26 lead into the half.

EKU would be up for a tall task of cutting into a good Belmont team lead and would give it their best effort. Michaela Hunter would put EKU on her back in the third quarter and cut the Belmont led to 11 points at 55-44. However, that would be as close as they would get. Belmont would come right back and make it a 17 point game after three quarters.

That Belmont run at the end of the third ended any momentum the Lady Colonels had and Belmont put the championship away pulling away late.

Michaela Hunter led the way fur the Lady Colonels with 16 points.

Belmont out rebounded EKU 54-22.

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Lady Colonels Moves On to OVC Finals

Lady Colonels Moves On to OVC Finals

Posted on 04 March 2016 by Bret Shroats

Shameekia Murray

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Colonels never trailed in a contest that the Eastern Kentucky University Lady Colonels advanced to the OVC Finals in a 63-52 win over Murray State University on Friday afternoon.

With the win, Head Coach Chrissy Roberts earned her 100th career win on Friday becoming the program’s second all-time winningest coach. Roberts is currently third among active coaches in the OVC and 23rd all-time in the league.

The Colonels led the duration of the contest, after jumping out to an 11-2 lead in the opening minutes. EKU hit on five of its first seven attempts from the field, as Murray netted seven straight points. However, the EKU offense stalled after Murray was whistled for her second foul with 5:34 left to play in the opening period.

Murray State (13-16) raced back into the game at the end of the 1st quarter to trail 15-12. The Racers kept the EKU lead to single digits, as the Colonels led 26-21 at the halftime.

The second half would be the Shameekia Murray show. The senior exploded for 15 second half points, leading the Colonels to the win with 24 total points.

EKU opened the third with five unanswered to extend its lead to 11 before a 6-0 run from the Racers quickly erased the Colonels’ lead.

Junior Alexus Cooper nailed a trey from deep, before Murray tallied seven straight points for the Colonels—yet again—pushing their lead back to 11 and all but punching their ticket to finals.

Murray State’s 52 points marked the second lowest scoring affair of the season for the Racers.

With Friday’s win EKU will play Belmont University (23-8) on Saturday in the OVC Tournament Championship game at 1 p.m. ET. Belmont and EKU have never met in an OVC Tournament contest. The Bruins won the two regular season meetings over the Colonels.

The last time EKU (18-11) went to the OVC finals they faced Southeast Missouri State in the 2005. The Colonels won that game 84-73 in double overtime. EKU has reached the OVC Tournament championship game four times, winning the league tournament title in 1997 and 2005.

Saturday’s championship game will be streamed live on ESPN 3 and the winner earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

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O'Bannon Garners OVC Newcomer for Fifth Time

O’Bannon Garners OVC Newcomer for Fifth Time

Posted on 12 January 2016 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn—After helping the Colonels to two wins over Ohio Valley Conference foes last week junior Jalen O’Bannon was named OVC Newcomer of the Week, the league announced today.

This week’s selection marks the fifth time this season O’Bannon has earned the honor. Eastern’s Crystal Jones collected seven selections during the 2006-07 season, marking the most ever for a Colonel.

The award was first issued during the 1985-86 season. Tatiano Concercao (Southeast Missouri State) holds the record with nine Newcomer of the Week awards, which came in the 2004-05 season.

O’Bannon has an OVC best seven double-doubles on the season, while logging double-doubles in each of the first three OVC games this season.

The Memphis, Tennessee native averaged 12.5 points-per-game, 12.0 rebounds-per-game and 2.0 blocks-per-game in Eastern’s wins over UT Martin and Southeast Missouri State last week.

O’Bannon leads the OVC in rebounds (139) and rebounds-per-game (9.8) and ranks eighth in scoring (15.0 points-per-game).

The Colonels (8-6, 2-1 OVC) travel to Eastern Illinois University on Thursday, before taking on Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday.

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Hunter seals comeback win for the Colonels with basket late

Hunter seals comeback win for the Colonels with basket late

Posted on 09 January 2016 by admin


RICHMOND, Ky. – Trailing by one with 15 seconds left to play, junior Michaela Hunter hit a game-winning jumper to give the EKU women’s basketball team the only lead it would need, finishing off the Southeast Missouri State University Redhawks, 56-55, Saturday evening in McBrayer Arena.

The Colonels (8-6, 2-1 OVC) used a 14-0 run to overcome a 13-point deficit late in the game. EKU outscored SEMO 14-0 in the final 4:39 to pick up its second consecutive Ohio Valley Conference win in Richmond. Senior Shameekia Murray ignited the Colonel run with a putback in the paint, as Hunter netted eight of her 15 points in the game-clinching run.
EKU’s defense held the Redhawks to 3-of-16 (18 percent) from the field in the final period, while the Colonels hit 8-of-18 (44 percent).

Three Colonels scored in double-digits, marking the seventh consecutive game three or more Colonels have done so. Murray finished with a game high 16 points and eight rebounds, as Hunter notched 15 points in the win. Junior Jalen O’Bannon finished with an OVC best seventh double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and pulling down 13 rebounds.

The Redhawks (10-7, 3-1 OVC) entered McBrayer Arena undefeated in conference play thus far. Saturday’s win marked the fifth straight victory over SEMO for the Colonels.

EKU continues OVC play on Thursday at Eastern Illinois University. Thursday’s game is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. ET.

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O'Bannon Named OVC Newcomer for Fourth Time

O’Bannon Named OVC Newcomer for Fourth Time

Posted on 05 January 2016 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn.— For the fourth time this season junior Jalen O’Bannon hauled in Ohio Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week honors, the league announced Tuesday.

The Memphis, Tennessee native logged back-to-back double-doubles in Eastern’s past two games, averaging 16.5 points-per-game, 12.0 rebounds-per-game and 3.0 assists-per-game.

O’Bannon has five double-doubles on the season—a conference best—and ranks 40th nationally in the category. She ranks in the top-10 in the OVC in three different categories: rebounding (1st / 9.6 rebounds-per-game), scoring (6th / 15.4 points-per-game) and field goal percentage (5th / 50.7).

Only three other players in the OVC have been named Newcomer of the Week and O’Bannon is the only player to earn the honor more than once this season.

O’Bannon and the Colonels host UT Martin on Thursday in an OVC contest. Thursday’s tip is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. ET.

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Lady Colonels picked sixth in OVC; Hunter and Murray named to Pre-Season OVC team

Lady Colonels picked sixth in OVC; Hunter and Murray named to Pre-Season OVC team

Posted on 20 October 2015 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn.  – SIUE has been picked to win the 2015-16 Ohio Valley Conference women’s basketball title in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Cougars earned 226 points, including 10 first-place votes while UT Martin is selected to finish second with 213 points garnering 10 first-place nods. Belmont picked up three first-place votes and 202 points. Jacksonville State is selected to finish fourth with 176 points while Tennessee State rounds out the top five earning one first-place vote and 168 points. Eastern Kentucky is picked to finish sixth with 122 points while Morehead State is selected to finish seventh with 111 points. Rounding out the poll are Austin Peay (109), Eastern Illinois (88), Murray State (71), Tennessee Tech (62) and Southeast Missouri (33).

SIUE is coming off a season in which it went 19-12 overall and 13-3 in the OVC en route to finishing second. The Cougars earned the No. 2 seed in the OVC Tournament and fell to Tennessee State in the semifinals. Paula Buscher enters her fourth season as the helm of the Cougars and will have four starters back from last year’s squad. Among the starters returning are redshirt senior Shronda Butts. The Des Moines, Iowa native was named the 2015-16 OVC Preseason Player of the Year after averaging 15.6 points and 3.2 assists to rank among league leaders. Sophomore forward/center Gwen Adams will also be back this season after starting 29 of the 31 games she played last year. Adams, a native of Ferguson, Mo., recorded 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game in 2014-15.

UT Martin went 22-11 overall and 16-0 in the OVC to win its fourth OVC regular-season title. The Skyhawks became the sixth OVC team to go undefeated in league play and just the second squad to post a 16-0 conference mark. UT Martin fell to Tennessee State in the OVC Championship game in overtime. The Skyhawks earned the league’s automatic bid to the WNIT tournament and lost to Ole Miss in the first round. Kevin McMillan, the reigning OVC Coach of the Year, enters his seventh season as the head coach at UT Martin and will have three starters back from last year’s team along with 10 newcomers. Among the players returning is redshirt junior guard Jessy Ward. The Clarksville, Tenn., native will be the team’s top returning scorer as she put up 10.9 points per game last year. She also recorded 73 rebounds, 74 assists and 35 steals in 2014-15. Senior Katie Schubert will also be coming back this season after recording 7.1 points and 4.2 rebounds each time out last year.

Belmont finished in a fourth-place tie last year after going 14-17 overall and 10-6 in the OVC. The Bruins earned No. 4 seed in last year’s OVC Tournament and fell to No. 1 UT Martin in the semifinals. Head coach Cameron Newbauer enters his third year with Belmont and will have junior forward Frankie Joubran and sophomore center Sally McCabe back from last year’s team. A native of Detroit, Mich., Joubran is the team’s top returning scorer after recording 11.0 points per game last season. She also brought down 8.8 boards each time out. McCabe, a product of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., played in all 31 games for the Bruins. She recorded 8.8 points and 5.6 rebounds each time out as a freshman.

The 2014-15 regular-season beings on Nov. 13 with Conference play starting Dec. 31. Nine different teams have won a regular-season title with Tennessee Tech leading the way with 18.

2015-16 All-OVC Preseason Women’s Basketball Team

The 2015-16 Preseason All-OVC team is headlined by SIUE redshirt senior guard Shronda Butts who was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year after earning All-OVC first team and All-Newcomer honors last year.

The preseason squad features players from nine different teams. Eastern Kentucky is the only team that has multiple selections. Austin Peay, Belmont, Jacksonville State, Morehead State, Murray State, SIUE, Tennessee Tech and UT Martin each have one honoree.

Butts was an All-OVC first team and All-Newcomer pick last year. The Des Moines, Iowa native led the team and ranked among league leaders with 15.6 points and 3.2 assists per game in 2014-15. She was also second on the team and in the OVC with an 81.7 free throw percentage. Butts made 45.0 percent of her field goal attempts while also recording 35 steals.

Earning Preseason All-Conference honors this year after being named to the All-OVC teams last season were Austin Peay’s Tiasha Gray (21.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Eastern Kentucky’s Shameekia Murray (14.0 ppg, 46.4 FG%), Jacksonville State’s Destany McLin (12.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and Tennessee Tech’s Samaria Howard (15.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg).

Rounding out the preseason squad are Belmont’s Sally McCabe (8.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg), Eastern Kentucky’s Michaela Hunter (14.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg), Morehead State’s Shay Steele (13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Murray State’s Ke’Shunan James (15.4 ppg, 6.5 rpg) and UT Martin’s Jessy Ward (10.9 ppg, 40.2 FG%).

2015-16 OVC Women’s Basketball Predicted Order of Finish
(Selected by OVC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
1. SIUE (10 first-place votes) – 226 points
2. UT Martin (10 first-place votes) – 213
3. Belmont (Three first-place votes) – 202
4. Jacksonville State – 176
5. Tennessee State (One first-place vote) – 168
6. Eastern Kentucky – 122
7. Morehead State – 111
8. Austin Peay – 109
9. Eastern Illinois – 88
10. Murray State – 71
11. Tennessee Tech – 62
12. Southeast Missouri – 33

(*Schools were not allowed to rank their own team. 11 points awarded for a first-place vote, 10 for second, etc.)

2015-16 Preseason All-Ohio Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Team
(Selected by OVC Head Basketball Coaches and Sports Information Directors)
Tiasha Gray, Austin Peay*
Shronda Butts, SIUE*%
Destany McLin, Jacksonville State#
Samaria Howard, Tennessee Tech#%
Shameekia Murray, Eastern Kentucky#%
Michaela Hunter, Eastern Kentucky
Ke’Shunan James, Murray State%
Shay Steele, Morehead State
Sally McCabe, Belmont
Jessy Ward, UT Martin%

Preseason OVC Player of the Year: Shronda Butts, SIUE

* – 1st team All-OVC in 2014-15
# – 2nd team All-OVC in 2014-15
% – OVC All-Newcomer team in 2014-15

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EKU Women's Basketball Releases 2015-16 Schedule

EKU Women’s Basketball Releases 2015-16 Schedule

Posted on 08 July 2015 by admin


RICHMOND, Ky. – Eastern Kentucky University women’s basketball head coach Chrissy Roberts released the Colonels’ 2015-16 schedule on Wednesday.

EKU will travel to eight states and face teams from 10 conferences, two of which (Western Kentucky and Tennessee State) played in the NCAA Tournament and five of which (Richmond, East Tennessee State, Missouri State, Wright State and UT Martin) played in the WNIT in 2014-15.

“A goal of ours this season is to be competitive against those caliber teams,” Roberts said. “Those tough games early on will only make us better as we get prepared for OVC action.”

The Colonels open the season by hosting Georgetown College on Friday, November 13. They immediately hit the road to play at Richmond on Sunday, November 15. The Spiders defeated EKU, 70-56, last year in McBrayer Arena. They finished the year 19-14 and beat Stetson in the first round of the WNIT before falling to Duquesne, 48-47, four days later.

After hosting Western Carolina on Saturday, November 21, EKU will again hit the road to play Miami (Ohio) in Oxford on Tuesday, November 24. The Colonels defeated the RedHawks in both 2012-13 and 2013-14. The two teams did not play last year.

Eastern will close out November by hosting East Tennessee State on Friday, November 27. The Buccaneers went 21-12 last year and lost to North Carolina State, 73-58, in the first round of the WNIT.

The Colonels will run a veritable gauntlet to open December. They open the month by travelling to Springfield, Missouri to face Missouri State on Saturday, December 5. The Lady Bears went 18-15 last year and reached the WNIT. EKU will then host Wright State at McBrayer Arena on Sunday, December 13. Wright State won 25 games last year and also reached the WNIT.

On Wednesday, December 16, Eastern will travel to Bowling Green to face Western Kentucky. WKU set a Conference USA record for wins in a season last year (30) and nearly upset Texas (66-64) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. EKU and WKU have not met since November 14, 2009.

Following the in-state showdown versus Western Kentucky, EKU will travel to the Sunshine State to play in the Gator Holiday Classic from December 20-21 in Gainesville, Florida.

The Colonels will close out the month of December by hosting Davis & Elkins College on Wednesday, December 30.

EKU will open conference play on the road at Austin Peay on Saturday, January 2. Other conference highlights include hosting traditional OVC power and 2014-15 WNIT participant UT Martin on Thursday, January 7 and hosting defending OVC champion and 2014-15 NCAA Tournament participant Tennessee State on Saturday, February 13.

The Colonels will wrap up the regular season on the road at Tennessee Tech on Saturday, February 27.

The OVC Tournament is scheduled for March 2-5 in Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium.

“The OVC schedule will be grueling, as it is every year,” Roberts added. “But, I believe we have a talented enough team to emerge from the crowd and be the ones cutting down the nets in Nashville come March.”

EKU returns its top two scorers from a team that went 9-17 last year. Junior Michaela Hunter averaged 14.8 points-per-game and 6.3 rebounds-per-game, while senior Shameekia Murray was named second-team All-OVC while averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.4 rebounds-per-game.

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Murray named Second team All-OVC

Posted on 03 March 2015 by admin


BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – Eastern Kentucky University junior women’s basketball player Shameekia “Polly” Murray has been voted second team All-Ohio Valley Conference, the league office announced on Tuesday.

The transfer from South Georgia Technical College was also voted to the five-person OVC All-Newcomer Team.

Murray exploded onto the scene in her first season at EKU, averaging 14.0 points-per-game and 4.4 rebounds-per-game. She also shot 46.4 percent (148-of-319) from the field and led the team with 44 steals.

The guard from Claxton, Georgia especially excelled during the OVC season, leading EKU and ranking seventh in the league at 16.1 points-per-game during conference play. She scored 14 points or more in 13 of the Colonels’ 16 OVC games this season. She scored a career-high 22 points twice during the season, once in a loss to Austin Peay on January 3 and once in a win over in-state rival Morehead State on February 21. Her best overall performance, however, came in a win at Murray State on January 22 when she posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Murray also keyed EKU’s defense during conference play, ranking fourth in the OVC at 2.0 steals-per-game.

Murray joined the Colonels after transferring from South Georgia Technical College, where she earned National Junior College Athletic Association Division I second team All-American honors last season.

She joins Tennessee State’s Chelsea Hudson, Jacksonville State’s Destany McLin and Candace Morton, Murray State’s Ke’Shunan James, SIUE’s Tierny Austin and Tennessee Tech’s Samaria Howard on the second team All-OVC.

Murray, James, Howard, SIUE’s Shronda Butts and UT Martin’s Jessy Ward comprise the OVC All-Newcomer Team.

UT Martin’s Kevin McMillan was selected as the OVC Coach of the Year, while UT Martin’s Ashia Jones was voted OVC Player of the Year and Austin Peay’s Tiasha Gray was voted OVC Defensive Player of the Year.

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