Willard Named Missouri State’s Top Female Athlete

by Rick Kindhart

Missouri State women’s basketball player Alexa Willard (Lebanon, Mo.) was named as the recipient of the university’s 2020 Outstanding Female Athlete Award, as voted on by the head coaches of MSU’s 11 women’s intercollegiate programs and announced Tuesday (June 23).

Other finalists for the 2019-20 Outstanding Female Athlete Award were: Alye Darter (tennis), Steffany Dickerson (softball), Libby Howell (swimming and diving), Kaitlin Maxwell (soccer), and Malia Watkins (track and field).

Willard was an All-MVC first-team pick as a senior for the MVC championship Lady Bears team that finished with a No. 19 national-ranking. Her 483 points in 2019-20 ranked 25th on MSU’s single-season scoring list. The sharp shooter became the first player in school history with a 45/40/90 season (.468 FG percent, .430 3-point percent and .906 free throw percent).

The native of Lebanon, Mo., started all 129 games of her career, ranking third in games played and setting the school record for consecutive starts. She ranked fifth nationally in free throw accuracy with the second-best season percentage in school history. Willard also scored in double figures 27 times as a senior with eight 20-point games. She finished her career ranked 12th in school history with 1,517 points, second in free throw percentage (.864) and 12th in 3-point accuracy (.370).

Willard also earned CoSIDA Academic All-District and MVC Scholar-Athlete first team honors.

She is the second Lady Bears’ player in as many years to earn this distinction, joining former teammate Danielle Gitzen who earned the honor in 2019. This season marks the 11th time a women’s basketball player has won or shared the award, which was first presented in 1981.

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