STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State sophomore Martha Alwal earned the title of the state's top female college basketball player Monday when she was chosen the winner of the C Spire Gillom Trophy at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Alwal became the second Bulldog to win the award, joining Alexis Rack who won the trophy following the 2009 and 2010 seasons.
"I'm really excited. I worked really hard, so I'm excited I won the award. It's big for the program," Alwal said. "This award is bigger than me. It goes out to my teammates because I wouldn't have won it without them. It also goes out to my coaches because of the support they have shown me this season. I'm just really happy to win this great award."
Alwal finished the season the SEC leader with 16 double-doubles, 10 in conference play.
She also topped the league with 9.7 rebounds per contest, the highest average since LaToya Thomas in 2001-02, and her 292 boards are the fourth-most in a season by a Bulldog.
"I'm really happy for our program and for Martha. Obviously it's an individual award, but as Martha said, it's a reflection of a lot of hard work put in not just by her, but her team. I know she shares this award with our program and our team," head coach Vic Schaefer said. "It will be a great challenge to her to go into the offseason and better herself. She's seen her improvement from one season to the next, now let's see if she can make that next step and improve that much more in the next season."
Alwal rated second in the conference with 2.6 per game. Her 78 swats rate third in MSU history, and her 160 career blocks are 20 back of tying the school record.
The Worthington, Minn., native paced State with 12.1 ppg, and she capped the campaign with a 78.9-percent free-throw percentage, fourth-best in the SEC and ninth in MSU annals.
Alwal claimed the most rebounds by an SEC player this season with 18 in the season-opener against Houston. She also tied for the most blocks in a game with eight against Alabama on Feb. 21.
Southern Miss' Jamierra Faulkner and Ole Miss' Valencia McFarland joined Alwal as finalists for the award.The winner was selected by a vote of print, radio and television media in the state, and the award was presented at a luncheon at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.