Gamecocks given OVC All-Conference honors

All-OVC Second team member Jacara Cross goes in for a lay up in a game against UT Martin while All-OVC Newcomer Kayne Henry watches his teammate go in for the basket. (Courtesy of JSU)All-OVC Second team member Jacara Cross goes in for a lay up in a game against UT Martin while All-OVC Newcomer Kayne Henry watches his teammate go in for the basket. (Courtesy of JSU)

Josie Howell, Sports Editor

Before going into the OVC tournament on March 3, multiple players for both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were given All-OVC honors for the 2019-2020 post season.

These players include Jacara Cross (second team) and Kayne Henry (newcomer team) for the Men’s team and Taylor Hawks (second team) and Destiny Elliot (first team) for the women’s team.

This is the first time since 2015 that the women’s team has seen multiple players on the postseason OVC team.

Elliot led the Gamecocks in the 2019-2020 season with 12.7 points per game and bucketed a total of 67 three point baskets to help lead the Gamecocks throughout the 2019-2020 season. Elliot also helped lead the Gamecocks with the second most rebounds with 164 boards total.

This was Elliot’s second consecutive all-conference honors award after being named All-OVC Newcomer after her first year playing for the Gamecocks in the 2018-2019 season. 

During Elliot’s first year playing for the Gamecocks, she started in all 30 games for JSU as a redshirt senior and averaged 26.7 minutes per game. She was the only Gamecock to play more than 800 minutes. She also led the team with 327 points, hitting a team-best of 41 three-pointers

Before coming to JSU, Elliott had a memorable performance for Samford University where she was named All-SoCon Freshman Team in the 2014-2015 season and All-SonCon Second Team in the 2015-2016 season.

Junior Taylor Hawks ended her Junior year as one of the only Gamecock to start in all 29 games. She ended the 2019-2020 season with a team high of overall steals (43) and assists (79) and finished out the season with over 800 career points. Hawks will now be on her way to become a member of the 1000-point club come her senior year in the 2020-2021 season. 

As a freshman in 2017, Hawks hit the ground running immediately becoming a vital player to her team. Hawks played in all 31 games as a true freshman, and started in the final 23. She finished a strong first season as the team’s second leading scorer averaging 8.3 points per game, and later to 9.6 during conference games.

Hawks also led JSU in both assists (89) and steals (29) as the primary point guard down the stretch and also led the Gamecocks with 63 made free throws. She was ranked seventh nationally in freshman free throw percentage at .797.

The following year, Hawks topped her freshman record by one point finishing with 259 points for the third-highest tally on the team. She also managed to record 14 double-digit scoring games for the 2018-2019 season.

For the men’s team, this is the fourth consecutive season that a player has received All-OVC honors. Over the past four years, they have received five total all-conference awards. 

Throughout the 2019-2020 season, Henry was named newcomer of the week four times. This makes the first time a Gamecock received four conference honors since Trenton Marshall received the same award for seven weeks in the 2009-2010 season.

Henry finished this season with an incredible 300 points, being the team’s second leading scorer right behind cross. He also led his team with just over 200 rebounds and recorded four double-doubles throughout the season.

Before Henry came to JSU, the England native played for Northwest Florida State College where he played in 31 games for the Raiders, shooting at an average of 50.8 percent and averaged 5.7 points per game, while also hitting 90 percent of his shots from the free-throw line.

Cross currently is ranked No. 13 nationally and finished his collegiate career with the most wins of any Gamecock in men’s basketball, contributing towards 80 wins in the four seasons he has played for Jax State.

The Atlanta native has played for Jacksonville State since his freshman year in 2016 and hit the ground running after appearing in all 33 games while starting in 10 as a true freshman. He eventually earned OVC freshman of the week after posting back-to-back double digit scoring games against Howard University and USC.

At the close of his collegiate career, Cross finished the 2019-2020 season with 377 total points, being the top scorer for his team, and averaged 12.6 points per game. 

Cross also hit 156 out of 255 shots taken, averaging 61 percent in the field. He also contributed 136 rebounds and 20 blocks.

Cross and Elliot both ended their senior years on a high note for the Gamecocks. However, Henry and Hawks will both be returning for the 2020-2021 season for what will be their senior year.

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