UT Martin sophomore forward Ashia Jones has been selected as the Ohio Valley Conference Female Athlete of the Year for 2014-15 in voting by the league’s athletics directors and sports information directors.
Jones will receive her award at the League’s annual Honors Brunch on May 29 in Nashville. The Male Athlete of the Year (Murray State point guard Cameron Payne) was announced on Thursday.
Jones became the second player in UT Martin women’s basketball history to earn All-American honors this season while also being named OVC Player of the Year and helping the Skyhawks to a perfect 16-0 Conference record (just the sixth in league history) and OVC regular season championship and tournament championship runner-up finish. Jones also took home the Tennessee Sports Writers Association Award for top women’s basketball player in the state of Tennessee.
This season she averaged 23.4 points per game, which led the OVC and ranked fourth nationally. Jones became the third-fastest player in program history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau, accomplishing the feat in 57 games (two games faster than Pat Head Summitt). She also set new single-season UT Martin records in points (772), field goals made (287) and 30-plus point games (10). Jones had several notable individual performances, tying the program’s single-game record with 44 points at Murray State on January 31 and nearly compiling a triple-double with 35 points, nine rebounds and a Skyhawk single-game record 11 steals at Miami (Ohio) on December 15.
Jones also helped guide the Skyhawks to its fifth consecutive postseason appearance, as UT Martin played at Ole Miss in the WNIT.
This marks the second-straight season the OVC Female Athlete of the Year winner has been a UT Martin women’s basketball player (Heather Butler won the award in 2013-14). Overall Jones is the third different UTM athlete to earn the honor.
Other nominees for the award included Austin Peay junior track athlete Breigh Jones, Belmont junior distance runner Hannah Wittman, Eastern Illinois senior forward Sabina Oroszova, Eastern Kentucky senior tennis player Amandine Faouzi, Jacksonville State senior catcher Sara Borders, Morehead State sophomore golfer Anna Magnusson, Murray State sophomore volleyball outside hitter Scottie Ingram, Southeast Missouri freshman soccer goalkeeper Kindra Lierz, SIUE soccer/softball player Samantha Jones, Tennessee State senior guard Chelsea Hudson and Tennessee Tech junior volleyball outside hitter Cody Dodd.
The OVC first awarded a Female Athlete of the Year in 1981.