Watts Earns Second Consecutive Academic All-District Honor
Nov. 13, 2003
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Junior setter Heather Watts (Salt Lake City, Utah/Skyline) earned her second straight College of Sports Information Directors Association (Co-SIDA) Academic All-District first team honor it was announced, Thursday. Watts also earned first team honors as a sophomore for the Tigers. Senior Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Mary's) earned third team all-district honors.
A junior majoring in exercise science, Watts carries a 3.98 GPA and is on course to receive her bachelor's degree in three years. Watts leads the Tigers in assists (1,536), assists per game (13.36/game), service aces (55), and digs (350). In just her second year as the Tigers' setter, the Skyline High School graduate is already second in Tiger career history with 3,120 career assists. Her 1,536 assists already this season with at least three matches remaining is already the fourth-best single season mark in school history and makes her just the second player to surpass the 1,500 single season assist mark, and also the second to do so on back-to-back years.
Watts is also about to break into the single season top 10 in service aces and digs. She is just four aces shy of the single season top 10 in aces and is just 56 shy of the single season top 10 in digs. Watts already is among the career top 10 with 140 career aces, and is currently 13th in career history with 972 career digs. The junior is also ranked nationally in assists per game. Watts was 14th in the country in assists per game through last weekend, while the Tigers rank 21st as a team in kills per game with 16.41 an outing.
Watts will now appear on the national ballot for Academic All-America honors. The last Memphis student-athlete to earn Academic All-America honors was April Harriman, who received a third team honor in 2000.
Neba has continually moved up the career blocking marks for Memphis in her final season as a Tiger. The senior from Aurora, Colo., is currently fourth in Memphis history with 313 block assists and 8th with 50 block solos. Neba is coming off a school-record setting match at Charlotte last weekend, where she set a new single game record with six block solos in a 3-2 win over host Charlotte. Neba has ranked among the top 10 all year in the conference in hitting percentage and is now among the top 10 in blocks per game (1.12/game) as well.
The Tigers, currently sporting a 27-4 record marks the first time Memphis has won 27 matches since 1994 when the team went to the NCAA Tournament.
Memphis is in a three-way battle for the final two first-round bye spots in the Conference USA playoffs, hosted by Tulane University next weekend. Memphis hosts third-place Southern Miss (25-5, 9-2 C-USA), Friday, at 7 p.m., then hosts Tulane, a team the Tigers are currently tied with for fourth place in the league, Saturday, at 7 p.m. No. 20 Cincinnati still leads the C-USA standings at 11-0, while No. 19 Louisville is second at 10-1.
All Tiger home games are played at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. Admission is free for U of M students with their student ID. This weekend will also mark a Friday-Saturday special. All fans buying tickets for Friday's game against Southern Miss will receive a coupon for free admission to Saturday's Tulane match. Saturday will also be the Tigers' senior night, marking the final home matches for seniors Brittany Barnett (Dallas, Texas/Lake Highlands) and Shella Neba (Aurora, Colo./St. Mary's). The first 100 fans to Friday's match will receive free U of M Floppy Hats.