HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss senior guards Neil Watson and Jamierra Faulkner were named finalists for the 2014 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, respectively, awarded annually to the best male and female college basketball players in Mississippi.
For the first time in the history of the awards, Mississippi hoops fans will have the opportunity to take part in the voting for the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies. Fan voting will begin on Tuesday, Feb. 25 at 9 a.m. CST and end on Sunday, March 2 at 5 p.m. By visiting C Spire's new fan voting website, CSOPAvoting.com, fans can vote for their favorite college basketball player by simply providing an email address and name, or connecting through Facebook or Twitter. Once an account is created, the voting can begin and fans can choose their first, second and third place winners. Fans will be able to vote via Facebook, Twitter and text messaging and can submit up to three votes per day during the week-long voting period.
Watson will be joined by Ole Miss' Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers as the male finalists. He becomes the first Golden Eagle to twice be named a finalist, having also earned the honor in 2012.
Faulkner will be joined as a finalist with Mississippi State Martha Alwal and Tia Faleru of Ole Miss. It is the second straight year that she is a finalist.
Watson leads the team in points with 11.4 per game. He leads Conference USA and is fourth in the country in free throw percentage, connecting on 93.2-percent, which would currently set school and conference single-season records. The Kansas City, Kan., native ranks fifth in Conference USA in three-point field goal percentage (.403), seventh in assists (4.1) and eighth in steals (1.5). He recorded his 1,000th career point at ODU, scoring a career-high 28 points, while becoming just the second player in school history to record 1,000 points, 400 assists, 250 rebounds and 100 steals. Watson is the Conference USA active leader in assists (443) and steals (146) and is the school record holder in career-free throw percentage (.855). He also ranks second in assists (443), third in three-pointers (150) and sixth in steals (146).
The senior guard has scored in double-figures in 17 games this year. He has led the team in scoring eight times and assists 20 times. Earlier this year, he connected on a school-record 51 straight free throws.
Faulkner is a finalist to the prestigious 2014 Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year. The West Palm Beach, Fla., native leads the NCAA in assists per game (8.4). She was named to her second consecutive Preseason All-Conference USA First Team by the league, as well as Preseason All-Conference USA by College Sports Madness. Faulkner set a career-high in assists (17) with the top single-game performance in the nation this year, which tied the C-USA record and broke the Southern Miss single game record. The senior was named College Sports Madness Mid-Major National Player of the Week and MVP of Hampton Inn Thanksgiving Classic.
She registered a career-high in points with the fourth-most ever in a game at Southern Miss (39). Against Old Dominion, Faulkner broke the nearly 16-year old Lady Eagle record for made three-point field goals in a game with eight.
Faulkner has recorded double-digit assists or points in 23 of her teams 26 games this season when at full strength and has 11 double-digit assists performances and 17 games in double-digit scoring. She is the Southern Miss all-time career steals leader (342) and second in Conference USA. The senior is the only player at Southern Miss to top the 800-assist plateau and only the second player in Conference USA to accomplish the feat. She is third all-time in scoring at Southern Miss with 1,902 and eighth all-time in Conference USA. Her 218 assists set a single season school record.
The winners of the 2014 Howell and Gillom Trophies will be announced Monday, March 3, 2014 in luncheon ceremonies at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in Jackson.
For ticket information, contact the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame at (601) 982-8264.
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