by Ben Adamson
Missouri State women’s basketball player Alexa Willard was recognized for her efforts in the classroom Thursday (Feb. 20) with a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 First Team. Willard’s selection marks the 19th all-district pick in Lady Bears history and first since 2012 and advances her to the national ballot for Academic All-America® consideration, which will be announced in mid-March.
A senior guard from Lebanon, Mo., Willard leads the No. 18/23 Lady Bears (21-3, 11-1 Missouri Valley Conference) in scoring at 16.7 points per game, shooting 48.4 percent overall, an MVC-best 47.2 percent on 3-pointers, and ranks sixth nationally at 89.9 percent from the foul line.
Willard, who carries a 3.79 cumulative grade point average as a general business major, has scored in double figures 22 times in 24 games for the league-leading Lady Bears, topping the 20-point barrier on eight occasions. She currently ranks 15th in MSU history with 1,434 career points, second in free throw percentage (.859) and ninth in 3-point accuracy at 37.6 percent.
District 6 includes schools from Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
To be eligible for Academic All-America consideration, student-athletes must be a starter or important reserve with legitimate athletic credentials and at least a 3.30 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) in both undergraduate and graduate work. Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their current institution and must have completed at least one full academic year at that institution.
Willard and the Lady Bears play a pair of home games this weekend, hosting Evansville at 7 p.m. Friday and Indiana State at 2 p.m. Sunday in JQH Arena. Friday’s game includes a recognition of MSU’s 2020 Athletics Hall of Fame Class, while fans are encouraged to wear pink on Sunday to support the fight against cancer.