STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore Martha Alwal has been named one of the three finalists for the C Spire Gillom Trophy, presented annually to the state's top female collegiate basketball player.
Alwal joins Southern Miss' Jamierra Faulkner and Valencia McFarland of Ole Miss as the finalists for the award. The winner will be announced in a March 11 luncheon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
"I'm very proud of Martha for being named a finalist for this prestigious award. She is certainly deserving of this honor after leading the nation's best conference in double-doubles, rebounding and blocks," MSU coach Vic Schaefer said. "She has proven herself night-in, night-out against the nation's best players in the nation's best conference. I know she appreciates the committee, and I do as well, for finding her deserving of being one of the three finalists for this award."
Alwal leads the Southeastern Conference with 16 double-doubles, 10 in SEC play, and 18 double-figure rebounding games. The Worthington, Minn., native also tops the league with 9.9 rebounds per game.
Her 16 double-doubles this season tie former All-America LaToya Thomas (2001-02) for the second-most in Mississippi State single-season history.
"I am very excited and honored to be a finalist for the Gillom Trophy," Alwal said. "I want to thank my coaches and teammates for their support of me this season. To be a finalist for the award for the state's top player is unbelievable. I am humbled to know that my hard work to growing as a player is being recognized."
Alwal rates second in the SEC and 17th in the nation this season in blocked shots with 74, the MSU sophomore record and fourth-best overall tally. Her 286 rebounds also rank fourth in school single-season history.
In league games, she is averaging 2.7 blocks per game, the best tally in the conference.
State's leading scorer at 12.3 ppg, she has been stellar at the free-throw line, connecting on an SEC fourth-best 78.9 percent of her attempts.
Alwal can become the second Bulldog to win the award after Alexis Rack won it back-to-back in 2009 and 2010.Mississippi State heads to Duluth, Ga., to meet Alabama in the opening game of the SEC Tournament on Wednesday. Tip for the contest is set for 5 p.m. CT.