Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught
The Lincoln Memorial University athletics department will celebrate its annual Play 4Kay game in support of breast cancer victims and research on Saturday, February 13 when the Lady Railsplitters and Railsplitters welcome the Newberry Wolves to Tex Turner Arena for a South Atlantic Conference hoops doubleheader.
The Play 4Kay initiative is an annual, nationwide mission aimed at joining collegiate and high school basketball teams in the fight against women's cancers. Over a two-week stretch in February, the basketball court is used as a public forum for raising money and awareness for women's cancer - breast cancer in particular - victims and research via the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, which was named in honor of former North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow (pictured), who passed away in 2009 following a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
Fans are encouraged to wear pink to Saturday's game to help us paint Tex Turner Arena pink as a public show of support for those that have been affected by cancer. Lincoln Memorial's official "Play 4Kay" shirts are available for purchase by contacting Lisa Jones in the athletics department by phone (423.869.6285) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds from shirt sales will go directly to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Lincoln Memorial will take a moment during halftime of Saturday's men's game to honor local cancer survivors. Both games will begin will a ceremonial tip-off using a commemorative pink ball, which will be signed by the men's and women's teams and raffled off. Direct donations to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund will also be accepted throughout the afternoon.
All 12 South Atlantic Conference schools participate in the Play 4Kay initiative on a year-to-year basis and pose the money-raising portion of the event as a sort of friendly competition. Lincoln Memorial has led the league in terms of total money raised for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in three of the last five years. In fact, last season Lincoln Memorial was recognized as the highest fundraiser across all of the NCAA Division II, and was honored for that achievement at the Wow 4Yow event in April, 2015.
The Lady Railsplitters kick off the afternoon with a 2 p.m. tipoff against Newberry, with the men's game to follow at approximately 4 p.m. The ticket gate opens at 1 p.m.
Below is a video tribute, "Remembering Coach Kay Yow," made by North Carolina State University when she passed away in 2009.
For more information about the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as well as the Play 4Kay initiative, visit www.KayYow.com.
About the Kay Yow Cancer Fund
During the final stages of her battle with cancer, Coach Kay Yow had a vision to unite a nation of coaches, players, and the women's basketball community to do something for the greater good that far exceeds wins and losses on the court.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was born in December, 2007 and is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women's cancers by raising funds for scientific research, assisting the underserved, and unifying people for a common cause. To date, the Fund has allocated more than $5 million in support of women's cancer research.
Coach Yow envisioned the women's basketball community doing its part by funding research at a level that will create significant results - and lead to a cure. We can only do this with your help.
What is Play 4Kay?
Play 4Kay is the grassroots fundraising initiative of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. It was originally called Think Pink, later became Pink Zone and most recently and finally, Play 4Kay. Numerous sports, groups and organizations have hosted Play 4Kay fundraisers - and have made a lasting impact that resonated with their fans and the community, all while raising funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
FIVE PLAYERS HIT DOUBLE FIGURES TO LEAD NO. 4 RAILSPLITTERS PAST TUSCULUM 103-92 WEDNESDAY NIGHT
Five players hit double figures to help the fourth-ranked Railsplitters (21-2, 17-0 SAC) grind out a hard-fought 103-92 victory over the Tusculum Pioneers (10-12, 6-11 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference action held on Wednesday night, Feb. 10, in Greeneville, Tenn. Lincoln Memorial led by as many as 15 points and never trailed over the game's final 35 minutes, but Tusculum used a steady stream of small runs and timely three-point shooting to stay within striking distance until the Railsplitters ultimately pulled off their 11th straight win overall and 17th consecutive win in the series. Gerel Simmons (Accokeek, Md.) tallied his third 30-point performance of the season and led all scorers with 34 points on 12-of-19 shooting, which he paired with five assists and three boards. Dorian Pinson (Greenville, S.C.) posted 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting to go along with eight rebounds, while Luquon Choice (Laurens, S.C.) racked up 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals. Jalen Steele (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Curtis McMillion (Fayetteville, N.C.) contributed 13 points apiece. Emanuel Terry (Enterprise, Ala.) grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds in 16 minutes of action. The Railsplitters return to Tex Turner Arena on Saturday, February 13 to host the red-hot Newberry Wolves at 4 p.m. Newberry won its fourth straight game on Wednesday by defeating Catawba. Lincoln Memorial will be looking to complete the season sweep after beating the Wolves 115-94 back on December 19.
Meanwhile, in LMU women's basketball, junior forward Megan Pittman (Liberty, Ky.) had her 10th double double of the year as she scored 13 of her 22 points in the second half to spark the Lady Railsplitters (14-8, 11-6 SAC) to a come-from-behind 70-61 victory over Tusculum (10-10, 8-9 SAC) Wednesday evening at Pioneer Arena. Pittman had 22 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Lady Railsplitters. Jasmine Kelly (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Rachel Griffith (Oliver Springs, Tenn.) each had eight points while Josey Harding (Middletown Ohio) added in nine rebounds.
LMU MOVES TO NO. 4 IN LATEST NABC/DIVISION II POLL
The Railsplitters moved up to No. 4 in the latest NABC/Division II rankings, which were released by National Association of Basketball Coaches officials on Tuesday, Feb. 9. Last week's top two teams, Augustana and Fairmont State, suffered losses this past week to help move Western Oregon to the top of the NABC rankings for the first time in program history. The next two spots are held down by Mountain East Conference schools, as Wheeling Jesuit jumped to No. 2 and West Liberty moved three spots to No. 3. Augustana fell to No. 5 to round out this week's top five. Queens, who the Railsplitters face in Charlotte, N.C. on February 20, made one of the biggest leaps of the week, jumping from No. 13 to No. 7 in this week's NABC poll. By retaining their spot in the NABC poll, the Railsplitters extended their streak of consecutive weeks in the Division II national rankings to 85. Lincoln Memorial has not been absent from the NABC poll since December, 2010, as they have compiled the second-longest active and all-time streak in the history of the NCAA Division II rankings. Going into this week's action, the Railsplitters are among the NCAA Division II statistical leaders in several categories, particularly on offense. Lincoln Memorial leads the nation in three-point field-goal efficiency with a 44.2 percent clip, while the Railsplitters are ranked third in overall field-goal percentage with a 52.1 percent mark. LMU's 95.8 points per game is ranked second in the country behind only West Liberty, who is putting up 101.7 points per game. Choice and Steele are both ranked in the top 20 individually for made three-pointers, as Choice is 12th with 73 and Steele is 19th with 71. NABC/Division II Rankings (Feb. 9, 2016 - Poll No. 11) 1. Western Oregon (11) 2. Wheeling Jesuit, W.Va. (4) 3. West Liberty, W.Va. 4. Lincoln Memorial, Tenn. 5. Augustana, S.D. (1) 6. UC San Diego 7. Queens, N.C. 8. Fairmont State, W.Va. 9. Chico State, Calif. 10. Fort Lewis, Colo. 11. MSU Moorhead 12. Barry, Fla. 13. Bellarmine, Ky. 14. Cal Poly Pomona 15. Saginaw Valley State, Mich. 16. West Chester, Pa. 17. Wisconsin-Parkside 18. Kentucky Wesleyan 19. Saint Anselm, N.H. 20. Angelo State, Texas 21. Ashland, Ohio 22. Seattle Pacific, Wash. 23. Northwest Missouri State 24. Ferris State, Mich. 25. Midwestern State, Texas Others receiving votes: Alabama-Huntsville 26, Eckerd (Fla.) 21, Findlay (Ohio) 12, Chowan (N.C.) 11, Indianapolis (Ind.) 10, Kutztown (Pa.) 7, Stillman (Ala.) 6, Southern Connecticut State 4, Azusa Pacific (Calif.) 2, West Texas A&M 2, Alaska-Anchorage 1, Concord (W.Va.) 1, Lake Superior State (Mich.) 1, Texas A&M-Commerce 1, Virginia State 1. Dropped out: Eckerd (16).
ULIS, MURRAY ON NAISMITH TROPHY MIDSEASON LIST
Making up arguably the nation’s best backcourt in the country, Kentucky guards Tyler Ulis and Jamal Murray (pictured) have been named to the Naismith Trophy Midseason List by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
Kentucky is one of just six players with two players on the midseason list.
Named in honor of Dr. James Naismith, founder of the game of basketball, the Naismith Trophy is awarded annually to the women's and men's college basketball players of the year. First awarded in 1969 to UCLA's Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Naismith Trophy was sculpted by Marty C. Dawe of Atlanta and has become one of the most prestigious national honors awarded each year to the top women's and men's college basketball players in the nation.
The midseason list usually includes 30 players, but 35 are on this year’s list because of ties in the balloting.
Ulis, who was named to the John R. Wooden Award Late Season Top 20 list on Wednesday, has had a spectacular sophomore season in leading Kentucky to an 18-6 record and 8-3 mark in the Southeastern Conference.
The 5-foot-9 guard is averaging 16.2 points, a team-best 6.4 assists per game – which ranks second in the SEC – and boasts an SEC-best 3.4 assist-to-turnover ratio. He’s scored 20 or more points in nine of his last 13 games, averaging 19.5 points and 7.3 assists while shooting 50.6 percent over that stretch.
The Chicago native is the only player in the SEC averaging at least 16.0 points and 6.4 assists or better. He is one of just five players nationally to achieve that feat (Kahil Felder, Oakland; Kris Dunn, Providence; Juan’Ya Green, Hofstra; Denzel Valentine, Michigan State;) and the lone underclassman.
With 20 points and five assists at Tennessee, Ulis has posted 10 games this season with at least 20 points and at least five assists in the same game, the most by a Wildcat in any season since 1972-73.
Ulis’ value is probably best represented by his performances in Kentucky’s biggest games. He’s averaging a team-best 21.7 points and a team-high 7.3 assists in UK’s three games vs. ranked opponents. He shot 54.5 percent with a 5.5 assist-to-turnover ratio in those games.
He is also only the second player at UK since 1972-73 (the first year UK has full game-by-game assist numbers for) with have at least four assists in 17 consecutive games in a single season. Roger Harden also did it 17 times.
Murray is proving to be one of the most prolific scorers in the country. Averaging 18.5 points per game, he ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring and fifth nationally among all freshmen. If the season ended today, Murray would finish with the highest scoring average in the John Calipari era at Kentucky. Brandon Knight, in 2010-11, ended the season at 17.3 points per game.
The Kitchener, Ontario native is shooting 40.2 percent from behind the arc, seventh in the SEC, and is hitting 3.0 3-point field goals per game, ranked third in the league. He has made a 3-point field goal in all 24 games this season, the only player in program history to do that to start a career, and he’s the first UK player since Darius Miller (2010-11) to make a trey in 24 straight games.
Murray has scored in double figures in all but one game this season, including 22 straight. The last player to score in double figures in that many consecutive games was Brandon Knight in 2010-11.
Among Murray’s biggest scoring outputs this season include a 35-point outing against Florida and a 33-point afternoon vs. Ohio State. His 35 points vs. Florida tied Terrence Jones (Jan. 11, 2011 vs. Auburn) for the single-game school record scoring mark by a freshman. It also tied Jones for the most points in a single game in the Calipari era. He’s the only freshman in school history with two 30-point games in a season.
KENTUCKY'S POYTHRESS NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT; SENIOR FORWARD ELIGIBLE TO EARN ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICA HONORS
Kentucky senior men’s basketball player Alex Poythress has been named to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District Team and is eligible to earn Academic All-America honors. The CoSIDA Academic All-District teams recognize the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom. First Team Academic All-District honorees advance to the CoSIDA Academic All-America ballot where First, Second, and Third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month. Poythress’ honor is the first of his career. The Clarksville, Tenn., native graduated in just three years with a degree in business marketing. He earned a 3.517 undergraduate grade-point average and is now pursuing a master’s of science in kinesiology and health promotion with an emphasis on sport leadership. He finished his first semester of grad school with a 4.0 GPA. He has appeared on the SEC Academic Honor Roll during every year of college. He is also a two-time Arthur Ashe, Jr., Sports Scholar and has been named to the Athletic Director’s honor roll three times, which honors the student-athlete with the highest GPA of his team. In addition to the CoSIDA honor, Poythress was tabbed as one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award honoring students who excel on the court, in the classroom and in the community. Poythress is averaging 10.0 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game for the 18-6 Wildcats during his final season at Kentucky. He recently became just the 15th player in program history to amass more than 800 points, 500 rebounds and 70 blocks in his career. He has appeared in more than 100 career games and made 54 starts. Poythress’ career averages included 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Poythress is seeking to become the first Kentucky men’s basketball player since Mark Pope in 1995 to earn Academic All-America honors. Pope was a third-team selection that season. Kentucky has garnered 12 all-time honors by 10 different players since 1966. Former greats Louie Dampier and Bob Guyette are two-time Academic All-Americans.
Kay Yow Photo by ESPN
Jamal Murray Photo by Jamie H. Vaught