JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Victoria Vivians — only a freshman — smiled broadly as she held the Gillom Trophy on Monday afternoon.
These were the kinds of moments she envisioned when she opted to stay close to home and join Mississippi State's basketball program.
"I stayed in the state to do all this, to make my mark on my state," Vivians said. "But without my teammates or coaches, I wouldn't be here."
The 6-foot-1 Vivians — who led the Southeastern Conference in scoring this season — won the Gillom Trophy during a presentation at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. Ole Miss guard Stefan Moody won the Howell Trophy.
The Gillom is given to the state's top women's player while the Howell is given to the top men's player.
Vivians came to Mississippi State from nearby Scott Central High School in Forest, Mississippi, where she scored 5,745 points during her prep career. She was an immediate star for the Bulldogs, averaging more than 15 points per game and leading the Bulldogs to a 26-6 record.
Now the Bulldogs — who are ranked No. 12 in the country — are waiting to find out when and where they will play in the NCAA Tournament.
Vivians said Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer is a big reason she was able to have success so quickly.
"He knows what I'm capable of doing and he pushes me every day," Vivians said. "Nothing's easy. I just come in and work hard and listen to him. I've made it pretty far listening to him so I'm going to keep doing it."
The other Gillom finalists were Ole Miss' Tia Faleru and Southern Miss' Tamara Jones.
Moody, a 5-foot-10 junior, led the Rebels with 16.6 points per game during the regular season. He's the third straight Ole Miss guard to win the award, joining Marshall Henderson (2013) and Jarvis Summers (2014).
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said Moody — who is in his first season with the program after transferring from a junior college — did a good job of fitting into the Rebels' system.
Moody said Kennedy's offense is very shooter-friendly.
"It's just trusting in the coach and believing his plan," Moody said. "It's doing my job and you can't go wrong if you work as hard as you can. (Kennedy) gives a lot of freedom. He's not real strict on the shots you take as long as it's your shot and you knock it down."
The other finalists for the Howell were Delta State's Devin Schmidt and Southern Miss' Chip Armelin.
The awards are sponsored by C Spire Wireless. Ninety percent of the final vote was decided by a panel of the state's media while the other 10 percent was determined by fan voting.
Moody Wins Howell Trophy
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