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Honors pile up for Gonzaga

Lisa Fortier named WCC co-coach of the year, Sunny Greinacher, Elle Tinkle first-team selections

UPDATED: Tue., March 3, 2015

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier,left, and Gonzaga guard Elle Tinkle are all smiles after clinching the WCC title on Feb. 19 at McCarthey Athletic Center. On Tuesday, Fortier was named the WCC co-coach of the year and Tinkle joins teammate Sunny Greinacher on the all-WCC first team.  (Colin Mulvany)
Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier,left, and Gonzaga guard Elle Tinkle are all smiles after clinching the WCC title on Feb. 19 at McCarthey Athletic Center. On Tuesday, Fortier was named the WCC co-coach of the year and Tinkle joins teammate Sunny Greinacher on the all-WCC first team. (Colin Mulvany)
First-year Gonzaga women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier was named Tuesday the West Coast Conference co-coach of the year after leading the Zags to their 11th consecutive league title. In addition, senior forward Sunny Greinacher and junior guard Elle Tinkle were named to the 10-member WCC All-Conference first team. Senior guard Keani Albanez was named to the WCC second team and 6-foot-5 redshirt freshman Emma Wolfram was named to the WCC All-Freshman team. The Zags will play either eighth-seeded Loyola Marymount or ninth-seeded Pepperdine in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas on Friday at noon. For the first time the conference had three coaches share the coach of the year honor. Along with Fortier, Pacific’s Lynne Roberts and Paul Thomas of Saint Mary’s shared the award. Fortier said she’s fine with sharing the award. “It does take a bit of the luster out of it,” she said, smiling. “Just like I told the team, team success trumps all of this.” Greinacher, a 6-foot-4 forward from Essen, Germany, leads the team with 13.7 points per game. This marked the second consecutive season she was named to the WCC first team. “I’m honored to be selected to the first team,” she said. “There are a lot of talented players in this conference. I’m very flattered.” Tinkle, a 6-2 guard from Missoula, led Gonzaga with 14.9 points per game in conference play. She stepped into the starting role and flourished after senior Lindsay Sherbert went down with a knee injury early in the season. Tinkle didn’t know she earned the award until she got a group text from her family congratulating her. “I didn’t know what they were talking about,” Tinkle said. “I had to look it up. But, it’s an honor for sure.” Albanez, a 5-10 senior guard from Santa Barbara, California, averaged 12.9 points per game and is third in the WCC with 2.4 steals per contest. She is three steals away from eighth place all-time in program history. Wolfram, a center from Kamloops, British Columbia, is fourth in the league in blocks, averaging 1.4 per game. She also scored 6.2 points and grabbed 4.2 rebounds a game for Gonzaga. BYU’s Morgan Bailey was named the conference player of the year. San Diego’s Sophia Ederaine was named defensive player of the year and Saint Mary’s Stella Beck was named newcomer of the year. Greinacher and Tinkle were more excited about Fortier’s recognition than their own. “That’s something I’m just stoked about,” Tinkle said. “She’s recruited the majority of us. So for her to finally get her shot (and get recognized her first year) it is unbelievable.” Greinacher said many people doubted the move when Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth promoted Fortier to replace Kelly Graves, who left last year to go to Oregon. “There was a lot of pressure on her taking over a successful program,” Greinacher said. “She did a great job of proving them wrong and continuing the great legacy here.”
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