JACKSON, Miss. (MSU Athletics) – For the second year in a row, Mississippi State has swept the 2019 C Spire Gillom and Howell Awards, presented to the best male and female collegiate basketball player in the state. Seniors Teaira McCowan and Quinndary Weatherspoon received this year’s awards.
MSU has swept the awards four times including last season when Victoria Vivians and Weatherspoon received the trophies. State also swept the awards in 2009 and 2010 when Jarvis Varnado and Alexis Rack both went back-to-back.
McCowan, the SEC Tournament MVP, Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, extended the Bulldogs’ streak of Gillom Award winners to five consecutive years after Vivians claimed each of the last four trophies.
“I think it’s really symbolic of the jobs their coaches have done,” director of athletics John Cohen said. “Coach [Ben] Howland and Coach [Vic] Schaefer have done an incredible job with their programs. You can’t do it without great leadership and without great players, which is certainly what Q and T represent. This has been a great year for basketball in the state of Mississippi, and certainly it was a great year because of those two players. We’re just really proud of them, and the thing I’m most proud of is to see how far they’ve come in four years.”
McCowan senior averaged 17.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. She posted 27 double-doubles this year and holds the MSU record with 66 for her career. She also boasts MSU’s career wins record (129) and career rebounds record (1,447).
McCowan is a finalist for the Wooden Award and Senior CLASS Award this year and remains on the watchlists for the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Lisa Leslie Award, given to the nation’s top center. She is also in the running for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year after winning the inaugural award last season.
“We don’t apologize for being demanding, in the classroom, the community and on the court,” Schaefer said. “I’m awfully proud of T. She’s been locked in for the last month and she’s playing a really high level right now. She’s dominating the game really. She commands so much attention on both ends. Forget about how many shots she blocks. Think about the ones that don’t even get taken or are altered.”
Weatherspoon has poured in a SEC-leading 19.4 points per game during conference games. The SEC’s active leading scorer is third on MSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,956 career points only behind Jeff Malone and Bailey Howell. He has reached double figures in 28 of 31 games fueled by eight of his 15 outings of 20-plus points since the start of February.
“I think he has just worked very hard,” Howland said. “He didn’t miss a day working on his shooting, ever. It’s incredible, his work ethic and how hard he works. He’s one of those guys as a senior, that’s how you expect a senior to play. We’re so proud of him winning the Howell Award for the second year in a row.”
MSU’s men’s team enters the SEC Tournament as the No. 6 seed and will begin play in Nashville, Tennessee on Thursday, March 14, against the winner of Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The Bulldog women will await their NCAA Tournament seeding which will be announced on Monday, March 18 at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.