March 7, 2012 9:00:20 AM
STARKVILLE -- One day after earning her first-career Southeastern Conference Player of the Week honor, Mississippi State junior outfielder Jessica Cooley was named the USA Softball Collegiate
Player of the Week for Feb. 27-March 4, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced Tuesday.
Cooley is the second player in school history to receive the accolade, joining two-time All-American and SEC Player of the Year Iyhia McMichael (Feb. 24, 2004).
"I am extremely blessed and humbled by this honor," Cooley said. "This is a team award in my eyes, because everyone had a hand in my results this past week. Coach (Beth) Mullins and Coach (Alan) Reach did a great job developing a plan for my at-bats so I could hit the pitches I wanted. I have to thank my teammates as well for having great at-bats in front of me all week. Without them getting on, I wouldn't have been able to drive in the number of runs that I did."
Number two arguably had the best single week by any player in school history, going 10-for-19 with a whopping 17 RBIs and eight runs during the six-game winning streak. After entering this past week with five home runs in her previous 108 career games, the 5-foot-7 inch righty totaled five long balls in five days during MSU's longest winning streak since February of 2009. The 1.316 slugging percentage helped Starkville's team break the school record with five-consecutive run-rule victories.
"One of the most rewarding things as a coach is when you see hard work pay off for a terrific student-athlete," Bulldogs head coach Vann Stuedeman said. "Jessica is one of the hardest-working players on our squad and she is always the first to credit her teammates and coaches for her success. She is the epitome of what being a Mississippi State softball player is all about and is a tremendous ambassador for our state and our program."
Bulldog fans watch Cooley play live in person on Wednesday at 4 p.m., as Mississippi State hosts No. 3/4 Florida in the SEC opener for both teams. The doubleheader showdown pits the two league leaders in home runs against each other in Cooley and UF's Kelsey Horton.
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