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BYU women’s basketball earns 2 major WCC awards, 5 named to all-conference teams

BYU’s Shaylee Gonzales shoots against the Loyola Marymount Lions on Feb. 9, 2021 at the Marriott Center in Provo. Gonzales won West Coast Conference co-Player of the Year honors alongside Gonzaga’s Jenn Wirth.
BYU Photo

BYU coach Jeff Judkins was named the West Coast Conference women’s basketball Coach of the Year Tuesday while Cougar sophomore guard Shaylee Gonzales earned co-Player of the Year honors with Jenn Wirth of Gonzaga.

Gonzales was one of three BYU players to receive All-WCC First Team recognition, along with senior Paisley Johnson Harding and sophomore Lauren Gustin. Tegan Graham, a grad transfer, and senior center Sara Hamson were named All-WCC honorable mention.

For Judkins, this marks the second time in his career that he has been the WCC’s Coach of the Year. In 2020-21, Judkins, who’s in his 20th season at the helm, guided the Cougars to a 17-4 regular season mark and a 13-3 record in the league.

Judkins’ team finished in the top three in several statistical categories in league play — scoring offense (69.9 ppg), scoring defense (60.1 ppg), field goal percentage (.449) and field goal percentage defense (.362).

When BYU was a member of the Mountain West Conference, Judkins was that league’s Coach of the Year three times.

The Cougars are the No. 2 seed in the WCC Tournament and will play Monday in the semifinals.

Gonzales was the 2018-19 WCC Newcomer of the Year before missing the 2019-20 season with a knee injury. This season, Gonzales averaged 18.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.4 steals per game. She finished in the top-10 in the conference in scoring, field goal percentage, assists, steals and 3-pointers per game. Gonzales is the sixth BYU player and first since Cassie Broadhead in 2017 to earn WCC Player of the Year honors.

Harding averaged 13.7 points, 3.4 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game this season. This is the second time Harding has earned All-WCC First Team honors.

Gustin averaged a double-double this season with 11.8 points and 12.9 rebounds per game. She is No. 3 in the country in rebounding and recorded 13 double-doubles in 20 games. Gustin had 27 points and 20 rebounds against Pepperdine on Feb. 4.

Hamson, a two-time WCC Defensive Player of the Year, averaged a league-leading 2.6 blocks per game along with 5.4 points and 4 rebounds per game. Her 379 career blocks is the most among active players in the NCAA, having passed her older sister, Jennifer, for the No. 2 spot on the school’s all-time career blocks list this season.

Graham averaged 7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.1 assist while coming off the bench this season. The grad transfer from Colgate shot 48.8% from the floor and 44% from 3.

2020-21 All-WCC women’s basketball major individual honors

Co-Player of the Year: Shaylee Gonzales, BYU; Jenn Wirth, Gonzaga

Coach of the Year: Jeff Judkins, BYU

Defensive Player of the Year: Valerie Higgins, Pacific

Newcomer of the Year: Ioanna Krimili, San Francisco

Sixth Woman of the Year: Melody Kempton, Gonzaga

2020-21 All-WCC Women’s Basketball First Team

Haylee Andrews, Jr., Portland

Jordyn Edwards, Sr, San Diego

Alex Fowler, Soph., Portland

Shaylee Gonzales, Soph., BYU

Lauren Gustin, Soph., BYU

Paisley Harding, Sr., BYU

Valerie Higgins, Sr., Pacific

Ioanna Krimili, Fr. San Francisco

Jill Townsend, Sr., Gonzaga

Jenn Wirth, Sr., Gonzaga