Fifth Annual Donna L.J. Murphy Award To Be Presented At 2019 Mr. And Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony

Posted at 9:34 AM, Feb 08, 2019

LEXINGTON – The Fifth Annual Donna Murphy Award will be presented to Maaliya Owens of Scott County High School during the 2019 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony on March 5th in the Bluegrass Ballroom of the Lexington Center in Lexington, KY starting at 5 PM.

Nominations were submitted from across the state for this prestigious award which honors a standout female senior basketball player who exemplifies the meaning of being a great student athlete. “This year all of the nominees were very admirable and it was a very difficult decision but Maaliya is a stand out player and person on and off the court and she definitely deserves to be recognized,” said Donna Murphy.

Maaliya Owens, a senior at Scott County High School, has played varsity basketball for six years, is a part of the 2,000+ point club at Scott County and holds a 3.9 GPA. She is a member of Beta Club, Key Club, National Honor Society and a student representative on the principal advisory council. Maaliya has a basketball scholarship to Tennessee Tech University in the fall.

While constantly focused on bettering herself on the court, Maaliya also takes time to volunteer and participates in several service projects. “As an aspiring orthodontist who has played varsity since 8th grade I’ve learned that strong commitment to discipline is required to succeed,” said Owens. “Basketball has taught me many important life skills including the importance of being goal-focused and the ability to handle adversity on and off the court. As a result, I’m better prepared for college and my career.”

Donna L.J. Murphy played basketball at Newport High School from 1972-76 and went on to become an All-American. During her senior year she was named Kentucky’s first Miss Basketball in 1976, averaging 35 points and 20 rebounds. She was awarded the Ted Sanford Award for being named the MVP of the 1975 Kentucky state tournament after she scored 67 points and grabbed 50 rebounds in two games.

More than a great high school basketball player, Murphy was also the State AA high jump champion in 1974 and named All-region in volleyball before graduating fifth in her class. As a highly recruited student-athlete, she chose to attend Morehead State University and graduated magna cum laude twice, with a BA in Communications/ Journalism with Teacher Certification, and a MHE in Counseling.

Murphy remains a highly decorated high school and college student-athlete and a member of eleven Hall of Fames, including the Kentucky Basketball Hall of Fame. Murphy was also the first female student-athlete to have her jersey retired at Morehead State University and Newport High School. She was the first forward drafted in the Women’s Professional Basketball League in 1980 and went on to play for the St. Louis Streak. After her playing career she transitioned to coaching. She has held coaching positions at the collegiate level and also coached Pro-Am, high school, middle school, AAU and Exposure basketball. Murphy is currently a Professor at Bluegrass Community and Technical College and oversees the Diversity Outreach Services and Intramural Sports. In her free time she is a basketball skills trainer.

All sports fans are welcome to attend the 2019 Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Awards Ceremony. Tickets are on sale now at or by calling 800-232-5308. General admission tickets are $15 and VIP tickets which include dinner are $65. For questions or to purchase a table (seats 10) call KLEF directly at 502-583-0564 or 800-232-5308.

The 8th annual Mr. and Miss Kentucky Basketball Award Ceremony serves as a fundraiser for the Kentucky Lions Eye Foundation, who has announced Mr. Kentucky Basketball since 1954 and Miss Kentucky Basketball since 1976. KLEF’s mission is to prevent and cure blindness. For more information contact KLEF at 502-583-0564 or go to