Photos | USA’s Brianna Morris is nominated for the NCAA Woman of the Year. Photos by Scott Donaldson/USA Athletics.
Two student-athletes from Mobile County colleges have been nominated for the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Woman of the Year Award. Aly Fowler of Spring Hill College (SHC) and Brianna Morris of the University of South Alabama (USA) were among a record 605 school nominees.
Both then advanced into the group that was narrowed to 161 nominees by conference offices. The field was recently cut again, and one local name made the list.
Fowler, a catcher for the Badger softball team, is one of the Top 30 Women of the Year finalists. This advances her to the final round of selection for the NCAA Women of the Year Award.
“The 30 honorees selected this year excelled in the classroom and in competition while also remaining committed to serving their peers and communities,” said Suzette McQueen, chair of the Woman of the Year Selection Committee and senior associate commissioner for external relations and strategic marketing/senior woman administrator at the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. “These outstanding women represent the thousands of diverse and talented women competing in college sports each year, and we’re proud to recognize their achievements on and off the field.”
The Top 30 honorees include 10 from each of the three NCAA divisions (USA is in Division I and SHC is in Division II). Organizers say all have demonstrated excellence in academics, athletics, community service and leadership. The honorees competed in 14 sports and studied a broad range of academic majors, including nursing, mechanical engineering, biochemistry, criminal justice, kinesiology, accounting and advertising.
The selection committee will announce the nine finalists, including three women from each NCAA division, in mid-October. From those finalists, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics will name the 2020 NCAA Woman of the Year this fall.
The NCAA Woman of the Year program was established in 1991 and honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service and leadership of graduating female college athletes from all three divisions. To be eligible, a nominee must have competed and earned a varsity letter in an NCAA-sponsored sport and must have earned her undergraduate degree by Summer 2020 (or demonstrate she would have earned her degree if not for the COVID-19 pandemic).
A senior biology/pre-health major from Dripping Springs, Texas, Fowler was hitting .348 in her career with 24 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple and 46 RBIs in 98 games played before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of NCAA sports in March. Splitting time between catcher and first base, Fowler fielded at a .970 percentage with 258 career putouts and 38 assists.
Fowler was a member of the 2019 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) all-conference and all-tournament first-teams as well as a member of the Academic All-America second-teams in 2019 and 2020. She is a three-time member of the SIAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and a two-time member of the SIAC Softball All-Academic Team.
Fowler was the 2019-20 SHC Senior Female Student-Athlete of the Year as well as the Female Co-Academic Student-Athlete of the Year, holding a perfect 4.0 GPA upon graduation in May.
Morris, a resident of Hoover, wrapped up her Jaguar career last fall by recording 16 goals and 34 points — both league-leading totals — to be named the Sun Belt Conference’s Player and Offensive Player of the Year as well as first-team all-Southeast Region by the United Soccer Coaches.
She was also chosen first-team all-conference and voted the Most Outstanding Performer while being named to the all-tournament team at the Sun Belt Championship after helping USA to the title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Morris, who was selected the 2019-20 South Alabama Female Student-Athlete of the Year in April, tied the third-highest season goal total in program history while also ranking among the top 10 in total points.
In her four seasons at USA, she helped the Jaguars to a combined 53-25-6 overall mark — including a 29-9-2 record in league action — while winning three Sun Belt regular-season championships, three league tournament titles and making three appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
In the classroom, Morris made the President’s List on three occasions and was on the Dean’s Honor List twice. She was named to the SBC Commissioner’s List after each of her first two years. Morris was a member of the league’s Academic Honor Roll following her junior season before going on to earn her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the university in May, graduating with a 3.65 GPA.
Morris was a member of USA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee all four years, serving as vice president for two years and president the last three semesters she was in school. She was the only student-athlete selected to participate in the SBC Diversity and Inclusion Summit — a panel that discussed what member institutions are doing to address diversity as well as best practices within an athletic department — in May 2019. She took part in numerous community service events including the Special Olympics, Operation Christmas Child, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital Diaper Drive and USA Campus Recreation Holiday Havoc. Morris took part in the Student Government Association’s Lavender Monologues and OktSober Fest, and has assisted at the Go 4 the Goal and Christ United Methodist Soccer clinics.
Morris recently signed with Aarhus Gymnastikforening Kvindefodbold in the Gjensidige Kvindeliga Elitedivisionen at its facility in Arhus, Denmark. More commonly known as AGF or AGF Fodbold (AGF Kvindefodbold for the women’s team), Morris joins the club with the season in progress.
She previously suited up for Pensacola FC, collecting 13 goals and three assists over her final season with the team in the summer of 2019.
Morris joins former USA teammates Hannah Godfrey plus Rio and Steffi Hardy playing professionally in a top division of a European country. Godfrey plays for Tottenham Hotspur FC Women in the Football Association Women’s Super League in England. Apollon Ladies FC, in the Cypriot league in Cyprus, has the services of both Hardy sisters.
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