March 3, 2014

Graves repeats as WCC coach of the year

Haiden Palmer, Sunny Greinacher on All-WCC first team
By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves was selected as the WCC coach of the year for the eighth time.
(Full-size photo)

With the school’s 10th straight West Coast Conference regular-season championship trophy in hand, Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Kelly Graves earned another piece of hardware and three Bulldogs earned accolades, as well.

Fellow coaches tabbed Graves as WCC Coach of the Year for the eighth time Monday, and named senior guard Haiden Palmer, the Zags’ leading scorer, and junior forward Sunny Greinacher to the All-WCC first team. Senior guard Jazmine Redmon received honorable mention.

“I’m honored in that it is something that is voted on by my peers,” Graves said.

“But I don’t pay as much attention to that as I do the team awards and the fact that we won a championship.”

Brigham Young center Jennifer Hamson was named WCC Player of the Year, but Graves said Palmer and several others also earned consideration.

“I’m a big believer that the best player on the best team should get it,” he said. “Jennifer Hamson is very deserving as the player-of-the-year. I thought this year was the deepest player-of-the-year pool that it’s ever been.”

Graves ranks second in WCC history in the number of coach-of-the year awards to a familiar name: GU men’s coach Mark Few. He holds the record with nine.

Hamson, a 6-foot-7 center, averaged 18.5 points and 11.4 rebounds for BYU, which finished 24-5 and second to Gonzaga in the WCC standings. In addition to player of the year, coaches also picked Hamson as Defensive Player of the Year.

Palmer, a 5-8 guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., led the Bulldogs with 16.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. She also averaged 2.8 steals per game, which led the conference.

Greinacher, a 6-4 junior forward from Essen, Germany, averaged 10.9 points and 4.8 rebounds this year. She scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds Saturday in a 71-68 win over Pacific.

As the top seed, No. 21 Gonzaga (26-4) will play at 6 p.m. Friday against the winner of the Thursday first-round matchup between Santa Clara (10-19) and Loyola Marymount (9-20).

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