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Hayes, Heady take top honors at annual Awards Dinner

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. --- Tacarra Hayes and Molly Heady were the headliners Thursday evening as they came away with four of the seven awards at the Tennessee Tech women’s basketball team’s annual awards dinner.

Hayes earned her third straight MVP award becoming just the fifth player in Tech history to receive the award three times and the first since Emily Christian in the 2004-05 season. She also received the John P. Hendrix Leadership award.

Heady received her second consecutive Frank Porter award, given to a player for their overall contributions to the program. She is the fifth Golden Eagle in TTU history to receive the award twice. She also received the Coach’s award.

Other award winners Thursday include Jala Harris, who received the Newcomer award, T’Keyah Williams, who earned the Most Improved award, and Katherine Barker, who won the Golden Eagle award.

A guard out of Lebanon, Ky., Hayes has rewritten the record books at Tennessee Tech during her four seasons. She is just one of two players to finish in the top 11 in points (1,786, 9th), rebounds (708, 10th), assists (444, 8th) and steals (180 11th). She finished her senior season averaging 17.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and recorded five double-doubles.

Heady, a forward out of Monterey, Tenn., finished third on the team in scoring (8.2 ppg) and in rebounds (4.6 rpg), while shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 79.6 percent from the line.

Williams, a center from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., was named the team’s Most Improved player after her surge during the final weeks of the season. In Tech’s final seven games, Williams averaged 4.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, which included a 10-point performance against Eastern Illinois in the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament semi-finals.

A junior from Madison, Ala., Harris made an instant impact when she joined the team in late December. In 24 games, she averaged 15.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, en route to receiving the team’s Newcomer award. She was named to the all-OVC Second Team and the all-Tournament Team for her efforts.

Barker received the Golden Eagle award for her character both on and off the court. Baker appeared in 19 games this past season.

Nine Golden Eagles were given Academic Certificates for their success in the classroom during the fall semester, including Heady and Kellie Cook who both posted a 4.0 GPA.

Tech finished its 2011-12 season with a 17-17 record and made its first appearance in the Women’s Basketball Invitational.