March 1, 2011

Hayes, Heady earn post-season honors; Messer named Coach of the Year

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. - Behind a 22-6 record and a regular season conference championship, the Tennessee Tech women's basketball team received a quartet of Ohio Valley Conference awards with junior guard Tacarra Hayes being named all-OVC first team and Co-Defensive Player of the Year, freshman forward Molly Heady being named to the all-newcomer team and head coach Sytia Messer receiving the OVC Coach of the Year award.

The awards were voted on by the sports information directors and coaches from around the OVC.

Hayes, who was named to the all-OVC first team last season, leads the Golden Eagles in points (452), rebounds (213), assists (129) and steal (47). The three time OVC Player of the Week was also named the OVC Co-Defensive Player of the Year along with UT Martins' Jasmine Newsome. She has also posted six double-doubles on the season and led the Golden Eagles in scoring in 16 games this season.

"Over the last two seasons I feel that Tacarra has developed into one of the elite players in the OVC," Messer said. "She provides a lot to the team both offensively and defensively and I am very proud of her."

Heady is the 28th Golden Eagle to be named to the OVC all-newcomer team and second in the last two seasons, with sophomore guard Kellie Cook earning the honor last season. The only freshman to play in every contest for the Golden Eagles, Heady is second on the team in scoring with 252 points and third on the team in rebounds with 153. In the OVC, she is first in free throw percentage shooting 86.4 percent, and fourth in field goal percentage shooting 48.4 percent from the field. She also recorded her first career double-double against Murray State (1/15) with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"I am very happy for Molly," Messer said. "Molly was solid throughout the season and has taken her game in conference play to another level."

Messer's OVC Coach of the Year award marks just the seventh time in team history that a TTU coach has received the honor with Marynell Meadors winning the award twice (1978, 1984) and Bill Worrell winning it four times (1987, 1990, 1992, 2000). A season that featured a 10-game winning streak, Messer guided the Golden Eagles to its first conference championship and first 20-win season since the 2005-06 season when Tech finished the season with a 23-9 record.

"It is an honor to be named the coach of the year in the OVC," Messer said. "I have to give credit to my players and my staff for making my job easier."

With a #1 seed in the OVC Tournament, Tech has received a pair of byes and will not play until Friday's semi-final game scheduled for 12 p.m., in Nashville. Tech's three possible oppnents for the semi-final game include #4 Eastern Illinois, #5 Austin Peay and #8 Murray State. Tech finished the season with a combined 5-1 record against these opponents.

To puchase tickets for the OVC Tournament contact the Athletic Ticket Office in Eblen Center.

To view the OVC Tournament bracket click here