Insell makes case for Faleru and The Gillom Trophy

Stefan Moody and Tia Faleru were named finalists for the state’s top basketball awards today.

Moody is up for the Howell Trophy, which goes to the top male basketball player. Faleru, for the second straight season, is a finalist for the Gillom Trophy, which goes to the state’s top female player.

Moody seems to be closer to winning than Faleru.

If voters simply look for the best player on the best team it would seem Mississippi State freshman Victoria Vivians would be the winner.

Ole Miss coach Matt Insell encouraged voters to peel back the layers and take a strong look at Faleru’s qualifications.

“If Tia doesn’t get it I’ll be stunned. She has led our basketball team. Two years ago we were on probation, a program with nothing positive in it, and for two straight years she averaged a double-double in the SEC.

“For two years she’s been the focal point. Every team we’ve played has had a defensive package for her. There were teams that would put three players on her every time she touched the ball. She was going against kids that were bigger than she is, girls who were 6-5 and 6-6 and still averaging a double-double. She should be first-team all-league. If she isn’t then something crazy has happened there.”

Faleru actually averaged slightly less than a double-double last year with 16.4 points and 9.4 rebounds.

This season the Ozark, Ala., native has averaged 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds. She leads the Rebels in blocked shots with 33 and is second in steals with 53.

The Ole Miss women open SEC tournament play Thursday against Arkansas in Little Rock.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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