The West Coast Conference announced their award lists this morning. For the third straight year, and four of the last five, Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Lisa Fortier was named WCC Coach of the year. Fortier led the Zags to a 16-2 conference record, winning the regular season title outright. She’s also guided the team to a #14 national ranking, the highest in school history. If they win the WCC Tournament, they are almost guaranteed a top four seed and they would host the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament in the McCarthey Athletic Center.
The trio of seniors Laura Stockton, Chandler Smith, and Zykera Rice were all first-team WCC selections. Rice averaged 15.9 points and 4.9 rebounds to lead the way in conference play. Smith, like usual, stuffed the stat sheet all season with 8.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.2 steals while leading the team in minutes. Stockton moved into third all-time in Gonzaga career assists. She finished conference play scoring 9.1 points, dishing out 4.3 assists and shooting 89 percent from the foul line.
Sophomore Jill Townsend was an honorable mention. The energizer bunny off the bench led the team in offensive rebounds, averaged 9.1 points, and made huge shots in clutch situations all season, including a dagger three to beat Stanford in December.
Pepperdine senior forward Yasmine Robinson-Bacote was named player of the year. She’s the only player in the league to average 20 points. She led the Waves to a suprirsing third place finish after being selected to finish ninth in the preseason.
Player of the Year: Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, Pepperdine
Coach of the Year: Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga
Defensive Player of the Year: Valerie Higgins, Pacific
Newcomer of the Year: Shaylee Gonzales, BYU
The WCC Tournament begins on Thursday. Gonzaga is the top seed and has a bye into the semi-finals, where they will likely meet the winner of LMU-Saint Mary’s.