Ole Miss’ Shakira Austin Named Finalist for 2021 C Spire Gillom Trophy
Published 11:00 am Wednesday, May 12, 2021
JACKSON, Miss. – Ole Miss star junior Shakira Austin has been named a finalist for the 2021 C Spire Gillom Trophy, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday.
Austin is the first Rebel to be named a finalist since 2016 (Shandricka Sessom), and is the seventh overall in program history since the award was established in 2008. Winners will be announced via a virtual presentation on May 24, and a fan vote will be held that will comprise 10 percent of the total vote share.
This is the latest in a litany of honors for Austin following a splendid first season in Oxford with the Rebels. Austin – a 6-5 forward from Fredericksburg, Virginia – was a dominant force in her first season as a Rebel after transferring from Maryland, putting the SEC on notice with her ferocious play on both ends of the court. For her efforts, she became the first Rebel to earn First-Team All-SEC honors since Tia Faleru did so in 2014-15, as well as an Honorable Mention member of the WBCA Coaches All-America team.
On the season, the Lisa Leslie Award Top-10 list member averaged 18.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 1.6 steals, 1.3 assists and shot 51.9 percent overall and 75.9 percent from the free throw line. In total, she was in double digit scoring in 26 of 27 games played, which included 13 double-doubles, 13 games with 20 points or more, 14 games with double-digit rebounds and 14 games with multiple blocks.
Austin was even more lethal in SEC season, during which she recorded seven 20-point games and eight double-doubles. Austin was rarely cold in 2020-21, but she had two particularly torrid spans of games, including a stretch from Dec. 15 to Jan. 7 where she became the first Rebel to score 20 or more in four straight since 2009-10 (Bianca Thomas), and from Jan. 31 to Feb. 21 when she became the first Rebel to record five straight double-doubles in SEC games since All-American and current assistant coach Armintie Herrington did so in seven straight during the 2006-07 Elite Eight season. Austin showed up for the big games in superb fashion, nearly averaging a double-double at 18.1 points and 9.8 boards while shooting 51.3 percent vs. nine ranked opponents.
She is currently the only active SEC player with 1,000 career points (1,171), 700 career rebounds (787) and 150 career blocks (178), and she was also the only player in the conference to finish the regular season within the top-15 in the SEC in field goal percentage, scoring, blocks, rebounding, steals and free throw shooting.
Austin shined spectacularly in the WNIT as well, being named All-Memphis Regional and All-Tournament after notching three double-doubles, three 20-point games and a tournament stat line of 20.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 1.2 steals, 1.2 assists and a field goal/free throw slash of .514/.833.
The C Spire Gillom Trophy was established in 2008 and is part of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame’s C Spire Outstanding Award Series, presented each year to Mississippi’s top collegiate student-athletes in football (Conerly, established 1996), baseball (Ferriss, established 2004), men’s basketball (Howell, established 2005) and women’s basketball (Gillom, established 2008).
The award is named for Ole Miss legend and pioneer Peggie Gillom, an early figurehead for both the establishment of the Ole Miss women’s basketball program and women’s collegiate basketball on a national scale during her Rebel career from 1977-80. A 2013 inductee into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and a 2018 recipient of the Hall of Fame’s “Trailblazers of the Game” honor, Gillom is the all-time leading scorer in Rebel history with 2,486 career points and the all-time leading rebounder with 1,271 boards – making her the first and one of just two in the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound club.
Ole Miss C Spire Gillom Trophy Award Finalists
2008: Shawn Goff
2009: Bianca Thomas
2010: Bianca Thomas
2011: Kayla Melson
2012: Valencia McFarland
2013: Valencia McFarland
2014: Tia Faleru
2015: Tia Faleru
2016: Shandricka Sessom
2021: Shakira Austin
C Spire Gillom Trophy Past Winners
2008: Jennifer Rushing, Delta State
2009: Alexis Rack, Mississippi State
2010: Alexis Rack, Mississippi State
2011: Veronica Walker, Delta State
2012: Veronica Walker, Delta State
2013: Martha Alwal, Mississippi State
2014: Jamierra Faulkner, Southern Miss
2015: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
2016: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
2017: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
2018: Victoria Vivians, Mississippi State
2019: Teaira McCowan, Mississippi State
2020: Rickea Jackson, Mississippi State