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Sports >  Gonzaga women

Gonzaga’s Lisa Fortier named WCC Coach of the Year; Kudron, Barta make first team

For the second time in three years. Gonzaga’s Lisa Fortier is the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
For the second time in three years. Gonzaga’s Lisa Fortier is the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

In this case, two out of three is off the charts.

For the second time in her three years in charge of the Gonzaga program, Lisa Fortier is the West Coast Conference coach of the year.

It wasn’t easy. The Zags, preseason favorites to win the WCC, began the conference season 0-2, but Fortier didn’t push the panic button.

“She was just very humble, she didn’t really get on us - she just said that we had to continue looking forward,” senior Kiara Kudron said after Tuesday’s practice at the Kennel.

Fortier, who won a conference title in her first year in 2014-15, repeated the feat this season, leading the Zags to a record of 23-6 overall and 14-4 in the WCC.

Fortier couldn’t have done it without some key players. Duly, Kudron and fellow forward Jill Barta were named first-team all conference.

“Our inside has been the crux of what we’ve built our team around all year, and those two were exceptional,” Fortier said. “They’re so steady and consistent, and they both bring versatility to their game.

Gonzaga also placed guard Elle Tinkle on the second team, while point guard Laura Stockton made honorable mention.

For Kudron, this is her first all-conference selection. The senior recently became the 17th member of the 600-career rebound club at Gonzaga, and has 616 in her career.

Kudron is shooting 50.7 percent from the field while averaging 10.7 points and a team-high 7.8 rebounds that also was fifth-highest in the league.

Kudron also averaged 3.1 assists and posted three double-doubles.

Barta, a redshirt sophomore, made the first team for the second time in a row, matching GU legends Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot.

Barta averaged 16.2 points and 5.7 rebounds, and shot 85 percent from the foul line, fourth in the league and 45th in the country. She scored 20-plus points in nine games.

She also came through in the clutch, hitting a game-winner at the buzzer at San Diego, and making two foul shots with two seconds left to beat Santa Clara, 50-49.

Tinkle, who was selected first team in 2015, returned from injury this season to average 8.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game.

Tinkle, the Zags’ leader in career games played, also averaged two steals and 1.1 blocked shots.

Stockton emerged as starting point guard this season. Her 4.2 assists per game ranked sixth in the league and her 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio was good for fourth.

Stockton also scored 7.9 points a game, fourth-best on the team.

Tinkle and Kudron were also selected to the West Coast Conference All-Academic Team earlier this year.

BYU junior guard Cassie Broadhead was named the conference Player of the Year and Cougar teammate Kalani Purcell earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades.

Loyola Marymount senior Jackie Johnson is the Newcomer of the Year.

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