UT Martin’s Sharnecce Currie-Jelks and Shae Littleford earn All-OVC honors; Currie-Jelks named OVC Freshman of the Year

 UT Martin’s Sharnecce Currie-Jelks and Shae Littleford earn All-OVC honors; Currie-Jelks named OVC Freshman of the Year

The UT Martin women’s basketball team earned a pair of postseason honors Tuesday as the OVC announced its year end awards as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors.

Freshman forward Sharnecce Currie-Jelks hauled in several honors, including OVC Freshman of the Year while also earning spots on the All-OVC first team and All-Newcomer squad. Sophomore guard Shae Littleford also garnered All-OVC second team honors.

Sharnecce Currie-Jelks (photo: UTM Sports)

A native of Jackson, Tennessee, Currie-Jelks posted a dazzling debut season for the Skyhawks in which she became the fourth player in program history to be named OVC Freshman of the Year, joining former recipients Heather Butler (2010-11), Ashia Jones (2013-14) and Kendall Spray (2016-17). The 6-2 forward has been no stranger to league honors this season as she set a program record with nine OVC Freshman of the Week accolades while also earning back-to-back OVC Player of the Week selections to end the regular season. Additionally, she becomes just the 14th individual to earn All-OVC first team honors in program history.

Currie-Jelks wrapped up the regular season by averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 53.5 percent from the field. Her numbers rank in the top-five in the league, sitting third in points and field goal percentage while coming in fifth in rebounding. She has tallied 21 games in double figures while eclipsing 20 points or more in six contests – including a season-high 30 points against Southeast Missouri (Jan. 5). On the rebounding end, she has had five or more rebounds in 21 contests while notching four double-doubles against Troy (Nov. 10), Southeast Missouri (Jan. 5), Eastern Illinois (Feb. 9) and Tennessee Tech (Feb. 18). Defensively, she has tallied 36 steals and 27 blocks – including a season-best five blocks against both Eastern Illinois (Jan. 21) and Little Rock (Feb. 11).

Shae Littleford (photo: UTM Sports)

Hailing from Charleston, Illinois, Littleford added another postseason honor to her career with an All-OVC second team selection following All-Newcomer honors in 2021-22. Littleford becomes the 15th individual in program history to earn an All-OVC second team honor after averaging 12.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game for the Skyhawks.

A 5-7 guard, Littleford plays well above her size while ranking as one of the league’s most consistent performers with 16 games in double figures – including a stretch of nine-straight games early in league play. After reaching the 20-point plateau just one time as a freshman, she has eclipsed that mark five times this season – including a career-high 29 points at Lindenwood (Feb. 4). Arguably the most remarkable stretch of her career came in early February when she scored 20 points or more in three consecutive games against SIUE (Feb. 2), Lindenwood (Feb. 4) and Evansville (Feb. 6). Ranking fifth in the OVC in assists per game, she has dished out five or more assists in seven contests while setting career highs with eight assists against both Vanderbilt (Dec. 4) and Eastern Illinois (Jan. 21).

Currie-Jelks and Littleford look to lead the Skyhawks to a deep tournament run beginning with a first round matchup in the OVC Basketball Championship on Wednesday against Morehead State. Tipoff from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana is slated for 1:00 with airtime at 12:30 on WCMT.

2023 OVC Player of the Year: Sali Kourouma, Little Rock
2023 OVC Defensive Player of the Year: Veronica Charles, Morehead State
2023 OVC Freshman of the Year: Sharnecca Currie-Jelks, UT Martin
2023 OVC Coach of the Year: Joe Foley, Little Rock

First Team
Sali Kourouma, Little Rock
Ajulu Thatha, SIUE
Lariah Washington, Eastern Illinois
Maaliya Owens, Tennessee Tech
Macy McGlone, Eastern Illinois
Erica Haynes-Overton, Tennessee State
Sharnecce Currie-Jelks, UT Martin
Hannah Haithcock, Southern Indiana
Jaliyah Green, Southeast Missouri
Veronica Charles, Morehead State

Second Team
Shae Littleford, UT Martin
Jada Guinn, Tennessee Tech
Tia Harvey, Little Rock
Sandra Lin, Morehead State
Gia Adams, Tennessee State

All-Newcomer Team
Sharnecce Currie-Jelks, UT Martin
Macy McGlone, Eastern Illinois
Erica Haynes-Overton, Tennessee State
Veronica Charles, Morehead State
Jaiyah Harris-Smith, Little Rock

(UTM Sports Information)