STARKVILLE, Miss. – Junior Martha Alwal’s sensational play was rewarded twice Monday as she was named SEC Player of the Week and one of three finalists for the C Spire Gillom Trophy that will be presented Monday, March 3, at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.
The reigning Gillom Trophy winner joins Tia Faleru of Ole Miss and Jamierra Faulkner of Southern Miss as the finalists selected by a panel of state-wide media.
In addition to the media vote, C Spire will hold a special fan vote that will account for 10 percent of the final tally. Fan voting begins Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. and ends Sunday, March 2 at 5 p.m.
By visiting www.csopavoting.com, fans can vote for their favorite college basketball player by simply providing an e-mail address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once the account is created, fans can choose their first, second and third place winners. Fans will be able to vote via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging and can submit up to three votes per day during the week-long voting period.
For the Worthington, Minn., native, the honors come in the midst of a banner season in which she has put her name in the MSU record books on numerous occasions all while playing in one of college basketball’s premier conferences.
“Martha is very deserving. She continues to lead our team in numerous categories, and she became the all-time shot blocker in Mississippi State history as a junior,” head coach Vic Schaefer said. “She does it in the best conference in college basketball, and to put up those numbers against the best players in the country night in and night out is quite an accomplishment.”
She earned her second SEC Player of the Week honor after averaging 21.5 points, 19.0 rebounds and 5.0 blocks in overtime games against Alabama and Ole Miss. In total she claimed a triple-double with 43 points, 38 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
Alwal has been a workhorse in the paint the last three games, averaging 22.0 points and 14.7 rebounds in her last three games.
Alwal, who played the full 45 minutes in both games, recorded a pair of double-doubles to give her nine for the season and 28 for her career, the most among active SEC players.
In Sunday’s 72-70 win against in-state rival Ole Miss, she tied her career high and set a personal SEC best with 25 points and 23 rebounds. The 23 boards tied for the fourth-most in MSU history and were the most in a game by an SEC player since the 2007-08 season.
Alwal also gave the Bulldogs the lead for good in Sunday’s overtime triumph, a week after she hit the winning bucket with 3.3 seconds left against No. 16 Vanderbilt.
Sunday’s rebounding tally vaulted her into fifth at MSU in career boards with 755. She also jumped into the Top 20 in scoring with 969 career points.
Last Thursday at Alabama she scored 18 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to go with a school fourth-most seven blocked shots.
Her 10 blocked shots on the week put her at 72 for the season, fifth in MSU history. Alwal shattered the MSU career blocks record with 232, 17 back of breaking into the SEC’s all-time Top 10.
She rates in the Top 10 in the SEC in scoring this season with a career-best 15.9 ppg, and her personal-best 51.3 field goal percentage is good for second in the league.
Defensively, she rates fourth in the league with 8.9 rebounds per game and second in blocks with 2.5 per outing.
Alwal joined two-time winner Alexis Rack as Mississippi State’s Gillom Trophy winners.Alwal and the Bulldogs host No. 15 Kentucky Thursday for Senior Night. Tip for the final regular-season home game is set for 7 p.m.