Thomas: 2002-2003 SEC Female Athlete of The Year

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Mississippi State's LaToya Thomas and Arkansas' Alistair Cragg have been named the 2002-2003 Southeastern Conference Female and Male Athletes of the Year by a vote of the league's athletics directors. Thomas joins baseball Bulldog Will Clark (1985) as the only representatives from Mississippi State who have received this honor.

"Alistair and LaToya are wonderful representatives for their universities and this conference," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. "They have competed at the highest level and through their hard work, dedication and commitment have shown the true meaning of being a student-athlete. The SEC is extremely proud to honor these two student-athletes for their accomplishments. We congratulate them on their efforts and wish them the best in their future endeavors."

Thomas is the most decorated student-athlete to graduate from the women's basketball program at Mississippi State. She rewrote numerous record books and accumulated countless awards and honors at MSU, in the SEC and on the national level during her acclaimed career.

She was the No.1 pick in the 2003 WNBA Draft to the Cleveland Rockers making her the first player from Mississippi State to be drafted into the WNBA and the first athlete from the state of Mississippi to be taken as the top pick in any professional draft.

A four-time Kodak All-American, she became just the sixth player in women's basketball history to receive this honor all four years. She is also a four-time First Team All-SEC and four-time AP First Team All-SEC pick.

Besides being named to numerous All-America teams, Thomas was named the 2003 Senior CLASS Award Winner, the 2003 Mississippi Amateur Athlete of the Year and the 2003 SEC Player of the Year (coaches and Associated Press). She was also a finalist for the Wade Trophy, Honda Award and Naismith Player of the Year.

Thomas eclipsed the all-time career scoring mark at MSU for men and women with 2,981 career points and climbed to the top in eight Lady Bulldog career categories: points (2,981), field goals made (1,119), field goals attempted (2,024), free throws made (709), free throws attempted (914), blocks (109), rebounds (1,108) and games played (125).

This season she finished third nationally with 25.6 ppg and as of last year's standings has climbed into seventh place on the NCAA Career Scorer 's Chart. She is the first player to lead the SEC in scoring all four years of her career and moved into second place on the all-time SEC Career Scoring list with her 2,981 career points, passing Joyce Walker of LSU (1981-'84). She also leads the all-time SEC Career Free Throws Made chart with 709, passing Wendy Scholtens of Vanderbilt (1988-'91).

A career seven-time recipient of SEC Women's Basketball Player of the Week honors, Thomas has posted 48 career double-doubles and has scored in double-figures in every game of her career (125).

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