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Vandals’ Barr, Newlee collect major WAC women’s awards

Eastern’s Nelson a repeater on All-Big Sky women’s first team

Idaho guard Stacey Barr is the Western Athletic Conference women’s basketball Player of the Year and Vandals coach Jon Newlee is the Coach of the Year.

The league coaches vote on the awards, which were announced Monday.

Barr, a 5-foot-8 guard from Melbourne, Australia, was fourth in the league in scoring at 19.7 points per game, sixth in rebounding (8.6) and 10th in assists (2.94). She posted double-doubles in half of her WAC games and had nine games in WAC play with 20 or more points. She was a three-time WAC Player of the Week this season.

Newlee, in his sixth season at Idaho, led the Vandals to their first WAC regular-season title with a 15-1 league record and a 22-8 overall mark.

Idaho posted an 18.8 scoring margin in WAC games and ranks in the top 25 nationally in seven statistical categories. Newlee was also the coach of the year in the 2008-09 season.

Idaho sophomore Ali Forde picked up All-Defensive team honors. She led the conference in blocks (2.3 per game) and was seventh in rebounding (7.9).

Senior Alyssa Charlston made the all-conference second team. She is a three-time all-conference pick, earning first-team honors her sophomore and junior seasons.

Five different schools are represented on the first team. Joining Barr are Bakersfield’s Tyonna Outland, Grand Canyon’s Kaitlyn Petersen, Seattle U’s Kacie Sowell and New Mexico State’s Danesia Williams.

The WAC tournament begins Wednesday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas with the top-seeded Vandals taking on eighth-seeded Chicago State at noon.

Nelson on Big Sky first team

Eastern Washington junior guard Lexie Nelson is a repeat selection to the All-Big Sky Conference women’s first team, announced Monday.

Nelson, from Butte, Mont., is the fifth-leading scorer in the Big Sky with an average of 16.1 points per game.

She scored in double figures in all but four of EWU’s 29 games, going for at least 20 points seven times. Her 467 points rank sixth all-time in EWU single-season history. She is seventh in the nation in 3-point percentage, connecting on 44.7 percent of her shots behind the arc. Her 74 3-pointers ranks second all-time in EWU single-season history. She needs three more to set a school record.

EWU sophomore Hayley Hodgins, from Pasco, was named honorable mention. Last season’s Big Sky Freshman of the Year averages 13.6 points a game and reached double figures in 24 games.

Eastern opens play in the Big Sky tournament against fifth-seeded Idaho State on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. PDT.

The year’s tournament will be played at North Dakota in Grand Forks, N.D.

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updated  Her first choice was the right one, Eastern Washington President Mary Cullinan has decided. Lynn Hickey, whom Cullinan hired as interim athletic director 10 weeks ago, is now the school’s permanent Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics, university officials confirmed Tuesday night.