As it turned out, Jenn Wirth was a can’t-miss choice for co-player of the year in the West Coast Conference.
Three days after leading Gonzaga to a 16-1 WCC record and a fifth consecutive regular-season title, Wirth won the top individual honor in the conference Tuesday.
Wirth’s scoring average of 13.2 ranked only 10th in the conference, but she brought a complete game to the court.
The senior from Mesa, Arizona, averaged a conference-best 56.7% shooting from the field, averaged 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 steals and posted nine double-doubles.
Wirth did all that while playing only 25 minutes a game.
Wirth, the 10th Zag in program history to win the honor, shared it with BYU’s Shaylee Gonzales.
Jeff Judkins of BYU was named coach of the year after leading the Cougars to a second-place finish.
Wirth was joined on the 10-player first team by last year’s player of the year, senior guard Jill Townsend of Okanogan, Washington.
Townsend averaged 13.8 points, almost five rebounds and 2.5 assists in making the All-WCC squad for the second year in a row.
Forward Melody Kempton won the WCC’s inaugural sixth woman of the year award after averaging 7.0 points and 3.7 boards. The junior from Post Falls was typically the first player off the bench for the Zags.
Kempton, who reached double-figure scoring six times this year, was joined as an honorable mention selection by senior forward LeeAnne Wirth and sophomore point guard Kayleigh Truong.
LeeAnne Wirth averaged 8.9 points, shot 55.8% from the field and 82.9% from the free-throw line.
Truong earned her second consecutive All-WCC honor as she was selected All-WCC honorable mention after taking home WCC all-freshman honors a season ago. Truong led the Zags and ranked third in the conference with 4.25 assists per contest, logging 12 games with at least five assists.
“I’m really happy for our players,” GU coach Lisa Fortier. “I know that they are most interested in how we do as a team, and the quest to be our best, but it is always an honor to be recognized for their contributions to our team’s success.”
Pacific senior Val Higgins was named defensive player of the year after averaging 3.7 steals (ranking third nationally) and 9.8 rebounds.
The newcomer of the year was freshman Ioanna Krimili of San Francisco, who finished second in scoring at 18.1 points per game and leading the WCC in 3-point field goals (58) and free-throw percentage (91.1%).
Higgins and Krimili also made the 10-player first team.
At BYU, Judkins didn’t win the conference or exceed preseason expectations, the usual benchmarks for coach of the year.
Picked to finish second behind GU, the Cougars did just that with a 13-3 mark.
Gonzales, a sophomore guard, earned co-player of the year honors after missing the 2019-20 season with a torn ACL suffered the previous summer. She returned to form this season, averaging 17.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.6 steals.
Other first-team picks were Haylee Andrews and Alex Fowler of Portland; Paisley Harding and Lauren Gustin of BYU; and Jordyn Edwards of San Diego.
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