If there’s any more room in the trophy case for Teaira McCowan, it’s getting sparse.
The senior All-American candidate has grabbed Southeastern Conference Player of the Year honors, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player awards in the last week and she added another one on Monday. C Spire awarded McCowan with the Gillom Trophy in Jackson, which recognizes her as the state of Mississippi’s top player.
She was a finalist with two other Mississippi State players as the Bulldogs also had seniors Jordan Danberry and Anriel Howard on the podium.
This is the fifth-consecutive winner of the Gillom Trophy for MSU, which saw Victoria Vivians win the award all four years of her legendary career in Starkville. Since the trophy’s inception in 2008, the Bulldogs have had eight of the 12 winners and they’ve had a player claim six of the last seven wins.
“I’m awfully proud of T,” MSU head coach Vic Schaefer said. “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.”
Also notable is the fact that State has had all six of the finalists in the last two seasons. Vivians, McCowan and Blair Schaefer were the three finalists last year.
Past winners from MSU include point guard Alexis Rack in 2009 and 2010 and Martha Alwal in 2013 to go along with the four-peat from Vivians and McCowan this season. The award is named after former Ole Miss player Peggie Gillom.
Despite increased attention for McCowan from opposing teams, she followed up a stellar junior season with a great senior season. The 6-7 center from Brenham, Texas, caught constant double and triple teams throughout the year but still managed to score 17.8 points per game and pull down 13.5 rebounds with 2.4 blocked shots per contest.
On top of that, McCowan has played 29.4 minutes per game and averaged just over two fouls as she’s been consistent in staying out of foul trouble for most of the year. She’s notched 27 double-doubles in 32 games and is one shy of matching last season’s school record. She’s also hit 66 double-doubles for her career which is sixth in SEC history and two away from third all-time.
McCowan, point guard Jazzmun Holmes and backup center Zion Campbell have won 129 games in their four years in Starkville, which is the most ever by MSU players. They’ve been to two Final Fours, a Sweet 16, four SEC Tournament Championship games, won two regular season conference titles and just finished off the first SEC Tournament championship in school history on Sunday with a 101-70 win over Arkansas.
The No. 5 Bulldogs will rest up for most of this week before the NCAA Tournament selection show airs on March 18 announcing where MSU lines up for a shot at a third-straight Final Four run. Latest bracketology reports from ESPN have the Bulldogs earning a No. 1 seed after losses from Louisville and Oregon on Sunday and they’re projected to be in the Portland, Ore., Regional if they can make it through hosting the first two rounds of the tournament.