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Ole Miss’ Sebastian Saiz, Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians Win Fan Voting Portion of Annual Awards Honoring State’s Top College Male and Female Basketball Players

For fourth year in a row, fans decide 10 percent of the C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies total; sparking renewed excitement, interest and engagement with their favorite players and schools

Jackson, Miss. - (March 5, 2017) – Ole Miss center Sebastian Saiz, who is averaging double digits in scoring and rebounding this season, and Mississippi State’s Victoria Vivians won the fan voting portion of the 2017 C Spire Howell and Gillom Trophies, which annually honor the top male and female college basketball players in Mississippi.

Saiz, a senior from Madrid, Spain, received 1,737 votes from fans, which counts for 10 percent of the award. Delta State senior guard Devin Schmidt finished second with 1,664 votes and Mississippi State sophomore Quinndary Weatherspoon, a two-time finalist, was third with 924 votes. Statewide sports media representatives will decide the eventual winner.

Vivians, a junior from Carthage, Miss. who has led the Lady Bulldogs to the SEC championship game and a No. 7 ranking nationally, received 1,437 votes while teammate Morgan William finished third with 473 votes. Southern Miss senior guard Brittany Dinkins finished a close second with 1,664 votes. Vivians is the two-time defending winner of the award.

Nearly 7,600 votes were cast for the 6 finalists via social media and text messaging during the week-long fan voting period sponsored by C Spire and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum that ended Saturday night. This year’s overall winners for both trophies will be announced at a special awards luncheon on Monday in Jackson, Mississippi.

Saiz leads the SEC and ranks 8th in the nation in rebounding with 10.8 boards a game and was the second-leading scorer for the Rebels, averaging 15.1 points a game. He is the SEC’s active career rebounding leader and is third all-time for Ole Miss with 913 rebounds. Saiz is the first player in school history with 1,000 points, 900 rebounds and 100 blocked shots.

The C Spire Howell Trophy is named after Bailey Howell, a two-time All American at Mississippi State and a six-time NBA All-Star who played on Boston Celtics world championship teams in 1968 and 1969. Howell, a 1977 inductee to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the first Mississippi player inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame, still hold nearly a dozen season and career records at his college alma mater.

The C Spire Gillom Trophy is named after Abbeville native Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Ole Miss’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder. She coached in the WNBA, the Olympics and was associate head coach for the Lady Rebels before retiring in 2011.

Vivians, who finished her high school career as the nation’s second leading all-time scorer, ended the regular season 5th in scoring in the SEC with 17.2 points a game this year. She scored in double figures in 24 straight games and 28 of the team’s 30 contest this season. She tied for 9th in the league with 1.7 steals per game.

Tickets are still available for tomorrow’s awards luncheon program at the Hall of Fame. An 11:30 a.m. luncheon will be followed by the noon program and trophy presentations. Coaches and finalists are expected to attend. Tickets are $40 each. For more information, go to msfame.com or call 601.982.8264.

This is the fourth time in the history of the awards that fan voting has been permitted for both honors. “We have some of the most passionate college basketball fans in the country and this gives them a way to have their voice heard in choosing Mississippi’s best men’s and women’s college basketball players,” said Jim Richmond, vice president of Marketing for C Spire.

An Ole Miss player has won the C Spire Conerly Trophy each of the four seasons. A Mississippi State player has won the C Spire Gillom Award four out of the last five seasons. Vivians can become the first three-time winner of the women’s award.

About C Spire
C Spire is a diversified telecommunications and technology services company that provides world-class customer-inspired service and a superior comprehensive suite of customer-inspired wireless communications, high-speed Internet access and a range of other telecommunications products and services to consumers and businesses. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire.