MSU play­ers rec­og­nized All-SEC

Starkville Daily News - - WOMEN’S BASKETBALL - By DANNY P. SMITH [email protected]­lynews.com

It's not easy to be a suc­cess­ful stu­dent-ath­lete. They have to bal­ance prac­tice with class sched­ule and study time around road trips. That doesn't in­clude try­ing to find mo­ments to eat and sleep.

For­mer Starkville High School player Blair Schae­fer has suc­cess­fully nav­i­gated her life in that area as a mem­ber of the un­de­feated Mis­sis­sippi State women's bas­ket­ball team.

On Tues­day, Schae­fer's ef­forts were re­warded as the South­east­ern Con­fer­ence coaches se­lected her as Co-Scholar Ath­lete of the Year.

It's an award that brings a smile to her face be­cause she takes school work very se­ri­ously.

“Aca­demics is some­thing that I re­ally try to fo­cus on whether it was in high school or col­lege,” Schae­fer said. “I re­ally take pride in hav­ing good grades. It's re­ally just stay­ing tough through it all. (With) away games and the grind of bas­ket­ball, to come out with such a great honor for GPA is spe­cial to me.”

Schae­fer is a three­time SEC Com­mu­nity Ser­vice Team mem­ber and she com­piled a 3.63 grade point av­er­age in bi­o­log­i­cal sciences with a mi­nor in com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

Other Bull­dogs to re­ceive All-SEC awards on Tues­day were Vic­to­ria Vi­vians and Teaira McCowan on the first and sec­ond team as se­lected by league coaches and The As­so­ci­ated Press. Mor­gan William made the coaches' sec­ond team All-SEC.

Con­fer­ence coaches also awarded McCowan Co-De­fen­sive Player of the Year and placed her on the All-De­fen­sive Team, Schae­fer also made the coaches' All-De­fen­sive Team.

The eight honors for Mis­sis­sippi State were the most among league teams.

“I'm proud of the kids be­cause I know how hard they have worked and that the league coaches and AP have ac­knowl­edged them,” MSU women's head coach Vic Schae­fer said. “The kids are very de­serv­ing.”

This is the fourth-straight year for Vi­vians to earn All-SEC and be­comes the third State player to ac­com­plish that feat. It's the third­straight time for her to make the first team.

Vi­vians leads the Bull­dogs in scor­ing at 19.7 points per game and that av­er­age ranks third in the SEC, while McCowan is a close sec­ond at State with 18.7 points per out­ing. McCowan av­er­ages a dou­ble-dou­ble this sea­son by adding 13.5 boards per con­test.

Along with set­ting MSU's sin­gle­sea­son re­bound­ing record with 405 boards, McCowan has 59 blocked shots and stands fifth in the SEC with two blocks per game.

This is the sec­ond-straight sea­son for William to be a sec­ond-team All-SEC player. She is sec­ond in the con­fer­ence with 4.7 as­sists per game and is No. 2 in the na­tion in as­sist/turnover ra­tio at 4.2.

“Her role on the team has changed with so many weapons,” coach Schae­fer said. “She is still No. 2 in the coun­try in as­sist to turnover ra­tio, but the most im­por­tant stat next to her name is the W. I'm happy for her.”

Blair Schae­fer has been known for her de­fense as a Lady Yel­low­jacket and a Bull­dog. She is the MSU lead­ers in charges taken with 22.

“I couldn't take charges un­less I had trust in my team­mates,” Blair said. It's a com­plete team ef­fort.”

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