by Ben Adamson
Missouri State junior guard
Brice Calip and head coach
Amaka Agugua-Hamilton received Missouri Valley Conference specialty awards Thursday, with Calip winning Defensive Player of the Year
and Coach Mox picking up Coach of the Year honors.
The awards were announced following the cancellation of the MVC Tournament, which was scheduled to begin Thursday afternoon.
The sixth Lady Bear to be named the league’s top defender and first since 2016, Calip regularly draws MSU’s toughest defensive assignment and is among the team leaders with 38 steals, 11 blocks and 75 defensive rebounds this year, all while committing just 1.5 fouls per game.
On the offensive side, the first-team all-MVC selection leads the Valley and ranks 22nd nationally with a 2.34 assist-to-turnover ratio, on pace for the second-best single-season mark in MSU history. The Sapulpa, Okla., native averages 12.6 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game on the year, shooting 80.4 percent from the foul line while ranking second in the league in free throw makes and attempts. She enters the postseason with 994 career points and 22 double-figure scoring games this year.
After guiding the Lady Bears to a historic season, Coach Mox is the second first-year coach in MVC history to earn Coach of the Year and brings the award to Missouri State for a sixth time. MSU’s 26 wins this season represent a school and conference record for a first-year head coach, and only 33 rookie head coaches have ever won 26-plus games at the Division I level. Additionally, this season marks the first time in league history that a team has won an outright regular season title with a first-year head coach at the helm.
With the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament also announced Thursday, the Lady Bears complete the 2020 campaign with a 26-4 overall record and 16-2 MVC mark for a regular season title. MSU is ranked 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 23rd by the Associated Press.