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MSU women earn league-best eight awards from coaches

 

Adam Minichino

 

 

STARKVILLE -- Tuesday turned into another day to celebrate the Mississippi State women's basketball's 2017-18. 

 

But it didn't take long for MSU coach Vic Schaefer to offer words of caution because he and the Bulldogs have plenty left to accomplish. 

 

On Tuesday morning, the Southeastern Conference coaches named Schaefer the SEC Coach of the Year for guiding No. 2 MSU to a 30-0 regular season (16-0 mark in league play). On Monday, The Associated Press named Schaefer its SEC Coach of the Year. The title is MSU's first SEC regular-season championship, and the first undefeated regular season by a conference team since 1997-98. 

 

Schaefer also was named SEC Coach of the Year in 2014-15. 

 

Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians received first-team All-SEC honors from the league coaches. They were unanimous first-team selections by The AP. McCowan also was named SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year. She joined Blair Schaefer on the SEC's All-Defensive Team. Schaefer also garnered co-Scholar-Athlete of the Year accolades. 

 

Morgan William rounded out the honorees by claiming second-team All-SEC honors. MSU's eight honors were the most among the league teams. 

 

MSU received a double bye for finishing as one of the top four seeds for the SEC tournament. It will face the winner of the game Thursday between No. 8 seed Alabama and No. 9 seed Kentucky at noon Friday (SEC Network) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. 

 

"The challenge this time of the year is can you get better," Schaefer said. "It is still February. There is still a lot of basketball left. The challenge this time of the year is OK, in practice, are we working and getting better? If you're not, you're not staying the same, you're getting worse." 

 

Schaefer has talked about breaking the season into parts for years. With the next phase of the season set to start Friday, Schaefer said his players and coaches deserve a lot of credit for accomplishing something that has been done only twice in the SEC. Connecticut completed its 10th undefeated regular season Monday with an 82-53 victory against No. 20 South Florida. 

 

"They have done it 10 times, so everybody thinks it's easy," Schaefer said, "and they have made it look easy. Give them credit because they have absolutely done it time and time again, and when they do it they make it look easy. It ain't easy. It's extremely difficult. It's just almost impossible, to be honest with you. 

 

"In the Southeastern Conference, I am going to say it is impossible. It has been 20 years since it has been done in this league. You know what? I am going to say it is going to be at least 20 again. In today's landscape, where there is so much parity in our game, it is so hard to do, so, again, give Connecticut credit. They've done it. They make it look easy, and they have done it several times. It may be easy to them, but it's not to me. I am so impressed with my players, my staff, with how they have been able to navigate our schedule and this league." 

 

McCowan, last season's SEC Sixth Woman of the Year, landed the league honors a day after claiming a school-record fourth SEC Player of the Week award on Monday. 

 

Vivians is the third MSU player to earn All-SEC laurels all four seasons. She earned a third-straight first-team selection following a career-best season in which she averaged a career-best 19.7 points per game. 

 

McCowan averaged 18.5 ppg. and set a single-season school rebounding record with 405. She wrapped the regular season third nationally in rebounds (13.5 rebounds per game). McCowan also set a school record with 22 double-doubles. 

 

William earned second-team accolades for the second-straight year after she finished second in the SEC in assists (4.7 per game) and No. 2 in the country in assist/turnover ratio with a 4.2 mark.  

 

Blair Schaefer leads MSU with 22 charges taken. She also is fifth in school history with a league-best 81 3-pointers. 

 

A three-time SEC Community Service Team member, Blair Schaefer combined her success on the court with an outstanding career in the classroom as she compiled a 3.63 grade-point average in biological sciences (minor in communication). 

 

South Carolina's A'ja Wilson was named SEC Player of the Year for the third-consecutive year. She shared SEC Defensive Player of the Year with McCowan.  

 

Tennessee's Anastasia Hayes was named 6th Woman of the Year, while Texas A&M's Chennedy Carter was named Freshmen of the Year. Georgia's Haley Clark and Kentucky's Alyssa Rice shared Scholar-Athlete of the Year honors with Schaefer. 

 

Ole Miss' Promise Taylor was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. Taylor averaged 8.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.7 blocked shots per game. 

 

n In addition to her SEC awards, Vivians was one of five finalists named Tuesday for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award, which goes to the nation's top shooting guard. 

 

A portion of the award is given based off a fan vote, and fans can vote by visiting www.hoophallawards.com. Voting begins Friday and runs through March 23. 

 

Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor 

 

 

 

The 2018 SEC Women's Basketball Postseason Awards: 

 

 

 

First Team All-SEC 

 

Raigyne Louis, LSU 

 

Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State 

 

Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State 

 

Sophie Cunningham, Missouri 

 

A'ja Wilson, South Carolina 

 

Jaime Nared, Tennessee 

 

Mercedes Russell, Tennessee 

 

Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M 

 

 

 

Second Team All-SEC 

 

Caliya Robinson, Georgia 

 

Mackenzie Engram, Georgia 

 

Chloe Jackson, LSU 

 

Maci Morris, Kentucky 

 

Morgan William, Mississippi State 

 

Jordan Frericks, Missouri 

 

Tyasha Harris, South Carolina 

 

Khaalia Hillsman, Texas A&M 

 

 

 

All-Freshman 

 

Unique Thompson, Auburn 

 

Que Morrison, Georgia 

 

Promise Taylor, Ole Miss 

 

Bianca Jackson, South Carolina 

 

Rennia Davis, Tennessee 

 

Evina Westbrook, Tennessee 

 

Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M 

 

Chelsie Hall, Vanderbilt 

 

 

 

All-Defensive 

 

Daisa Alexander, Auburn 

 

Caliya Robinson, Georgia 

 

Taylor Murray, Kentucky 

 

Raigyne Louis, LSU 

 

A'ja Wilson, South Carolina 

 

Blair Schaefer, Mississippi State 

 

Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State 

 

 

 

Coach of the Year: Vic Schaefer, Mississippi State 

 

Player of the Year: A'ja Wilson, South Carolina 

 

Freshman of the Year: Chennedy Carter, Texas A&M 

 

Defensive Players of the Year: Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State & A'ja Wilson, South Carolina 

 

6th Woman of the Year: Anastasia Hayes, Tennessee 

 

Scholar-Athletes of the Year: Blair Schaefer, Mississippi State; Haley Clark, Georgia; Alyssa Rice, Kentucky

 

Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

 

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