Jones ready for State Farm 3-Point Championships
Senior holds the school record with 259 made triplesApril 3, 2013 · @MTAthletics
Middle Tennessee's Kortni Jones hits the national spotlight Thursday evening, April 4, when she participates in the women's basketball three-point championship at the 25th annual State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships. The event, which is aired live on ESPN, is set for 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta.
"It's really exciting," exclaimed Jones. "I am excited for the program and the university."
The Oak Ridge native is the first Blue Raider women's basketball player to participate in the event and the second to represent Middle Tennessee. John 'Helicopter' Humphrey made an appearance in 2003. His one-handed slam was recently rated as the fifth best dunk ever in the competition's 25-year history.
There is a contingent of Blue Raider fans making the trek to Atlanta to cheer on Kortni. Several members of the MT men's basketball team will be on hand, as well as managers from the women's basketball team. MTSU President Dr. Sidney A. McPhee and Director of Athletics Chris Massaro are also expected to be in attendance.
"This says a lot in how far this program has come," said Jones. "The excitement is definitely there and I am fortunate to have a lot of supporters cheering me on such as Dr. McPhee and Chris Massaro."
During her four year career, Jones knocked down a school-record 259 treys. In 2011-12, she set a school single-season mark with 115 made three-pointers. That performance was the 10th best in NCAA history. This season Jones connected on 86, which ranked as the second single-season mark in Middle Tennessee history.
But hitting a trey in a game situation is far different from knocking down five balls on five different racks in just 60 seconds. There is a notable difference in taking a teammates pass and picking up a ball from a rack. Since learning of her invitation to the three-point championship, the senior sniper has worked on perfecting her style.
"Usually, I get in the flow of things by dribbling or passing to get my confidence going," Jones noted. "I have been practicing on making sure I have my rhythm down pat."
So how did Jones become such a lethal threat from the perimeter? She credits head coach Rick Insell's decision to move her to shooting guard after her sophomore campaign.
"(Coach Insell) came in and told me that I was moving to shooting guard and that I needed to get in the gym," exclaimed Jones. "They put an emphasis on me shooting and counted on me to score from long-range. It paid off."
Jones comes in as one of the most deadly from three-point range in the field of eight competitors. She had the second most made triples this season, trailing only Michigan's Kate Thompson with 110. There is also a familiar opponent for Jones in Kentucky's A'Dia Mathies. Other participants for the 3-point championship include Blanche Alverson (Auburn), Lauren Carra (Delaware), Alexa Deluzio (Florida State), Marrisa Kastanek (North Carolina State) and Aulani Sinclair (Indiana).
"I have seen a few of them play," said Jones. "I am excited to meet the girls. We all had really successful careers in college and that's why we are here."
While enjoying the festivities and meeting some the nation's best athletes will be fun for Jones, her competitive drive will kick in full gear once the event starts. And those that know Kortni, are confident she will have an opportunity to take home the crown.
"There is no doubt that Kortni will represent Middle Tennessee with class," said Coach Insell. "She'll have a shot. She's the type of athlete that can go into that setting and win the championship. I am excited to see how she is going to do."
Fans can follow the action live on ESPN at 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET. The broadcast team includes Brad Nessler, Dan Dakich, Jimmy Dykes and Samantha Ponder. Those unable to watch the event live can follow @MTAthletics on Twitter.
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