BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (SWAC) – Alabama State forward Britney Wright has been named the Southwestern Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, the league announced Monday. The announcement comes as part of the reveal of the 2016-17 all-conference teams.
Other individual honors unveiled were Defensive Player of the Year, which went to Alcorn State center Henrietta Wells. Fellow Lady Brave Alexus Freeman won Newcomer of the Year accolades and Alabama A&M guard Jameica Cobb was named Freshman of the Year. For the second-straight year, Grambling State had the top coach as Freddie Murray garnered Coach of the Year honors. The awards and all-league teams were voted on by the SWAC’s coaches and sports information directors.
Wright led the SWAC in scoring at 18.4 points per game while pulling down 7.4 boards a night, good for fourth-best in the conference. The Detroit, Mich. native also shot a league-best .802 from the charity stripe and connected on 43.9 percent of her shots, the seventh-best clip in the SWAC. Wright notched six double-doubles on the year and posted 14 games of 20 points or more. She is also responsible for half of the six 30-point games achieved by a SWAC player this year, including two season-best 35-point outings.
Wells was a force for the Lady Braves on the inside en route to claiming the nod as top defensive player. Wells turned away 3.0 shots per game – leading the SWAC in blocks — and chipped in 1.4 steals a night, good for 10th in the conference. The senior ranked No. 10 nationally in swatted shots and anchored an Alcorn defense that was third in points allowed per conference game at 58.9.
Freeman tied for the Lady Braves’ top spot in total scoring with 300 points, averaging 10.7 per game. She also pulled in 5.5 rebounds per game and was third in the league in assists and steals, dishing out 3.3 a night and making 2.3 swipes per game, respectively. She led Alcorn State in scoring 11 times, with a personal-best 24 points against Alabama A&M on Jan. 23 (W 73-57).
Cobb quickly asserted herself as the Lady Bulldogs’ go-to option in her maiden season, earning the top freshman honor after leading the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 13 points and 6.3 boards. She was the only Alabama A&M player to average double figures in scoring, as she led the Lady Bulldogs in scoring 18 times during the year, including a 25-point, 11-rebound effort at North Carolina on Nov. 17.
Murray was promoted to interim head coach after spending the season prior as an assistant coach for Grambling State. In his first season, he guided the Lady Tigers to its second-straight share of the regular season championship as well as the No. 1 overall seed in the upcoming SWAC tournament. Grambling finished 16-13 (14-4 SWAC) in Murray’s inaugural year as coach, during which the Lady Tigers were second in the conference in scoring and assists. Grambling also managed a 10-game winning streak late in the season, which stood as the eighth-longest active winning streak in the nation at the time.
The entire list of awards and first and second teams are below:
Guard – Shakyla Hill – Grambling State
Guard – Joyce Kennerson – Texas Southern
Forward – Britney Wright – Alabama State
Forward – Briana Green – Southern
Center – Ashley Beals – Mississippi Valley State
Guard – Alexus Parker – Prairie View A&M
Guard – Jazmin Boyd – Grambling State
Forward – Artavia Ford – Texas Southern
Forward – Cortnei Purnell – Southern
Center – Henrietta Wells – Alcorn State
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Britney Wright – Alabama State
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Henrietta Wells – Alcorn State
NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR
Alexus Freeman – Alcorn State
FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Jameica Cobb – Alabama A&M
COACH OF THE YEAR
Freddie Murray – Grambling State