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Three MSU women's players finalists for Gillom Trophy


From Special Reports



STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State women's basketball team made more history Monday. 


After completing the first undefeated regular season by a Southeastern Conference team since 1998, MSU's Victoria Vivians, Teaira McCowan, and Blair Schaefer claimed all three finalist spots for the Gillom Trophy, which goes to the best women's college basketball player in the state. 


It is the first time one school has had three of its players named finalists for the award. 


MSU's Quinndary and Nick Weatherspoon were named finalists for the Howell Trophy, which is given to the best men's college basketball player in the state. 


In addition to Vivians being named a finalists, the senior from Carthage was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Player of the Year Trophy. Vivians and South Carolina's A'ja Wilson are the only representatives from the SEC. 


Baylor's Kalani Brown, UCLA's Jordin Canada, Louisville's Asia Durr, Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell, Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale, and Connecticut's Katie Lou Samuelson and Gabby Williams also were named semifinalists. 


Vivians has won the award the last three seasons. This season, she is having the best year of her career, averaging 19.7 points per game. She is in the top 15 in the league in field goal percentage and in the top 10 in 3-point and free-throw percentage. 


Vivians has the best shooting percentages in her career from the field (49.7 percent), 3-point range (39.8 percent) and the free-throw line (82.9 percent). 


Vivians, who is the third player in MSU history to reach 2,000 career points, has scored double figures in 29 of MSU's 30 games. She also is averaging a career-best 6.0 rebounds per game and is second on the team with 1.5 steals per game. 


McCowan is fourth in the SEC in scoring (18.7 ppg.). The Brenham, Texas, native also leads the league in rebounding (13.5 rpg.). 


McCowan's season rebounding average is third in NCAA Division I, while her school-record 22 double-doubles are fourth-best nationally. She leads the nation with six offensive rebounds per game.  


Also Monday, McCowan was named SEC Player of the Week for a school-record fourth time this season. 


McCowan averaged 18 points, 19 rebounds, and three blocked shots as Vic Schaefer's squad defeated Auburn and Kentucky to wrap the regular season with a 30-0 record. 


The SEC champion Bulldogs became the first league team since Tennessee in 1997-98 to finish the regular season undefeated and the first to do so since the conference switched to a 16-game league schedule. 


Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter was named SEC Freshman of the Week. 


Schaefer has emerged as one of the SEC's top perimeter threats, knocking down a SEC-best 3.0 3-pointers per game in league play. She is averaging 9.8 ppg. overall and 10.8 ppg. against SEC competition 


Schaefer's 81 3-pointers this season are fifth in school single-season history. 


Schaefer also has been leads the team with 22 charges taken. 


The winners will be announced Monday after another round of media votes and a fan vote. Fans can vote at through 5 p.m. Saturday. 


No. 1 seed MSU will play the winner of the game Thursday between No. 8 seed Alabama and No. 9 seed Kentucky at noon Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.



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