Zags sweep All-WCC major awards

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JEFF CHIU/Associated Press Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura (21) reacts after dunking against Saint Mary's during the first half Saturday in Moraga, Calif.

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — Gonzaga’s Mark Few was selected as the West Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year, Rui Hachimura was titled the Player of the Year and Brandon Clarke was named the Defender and Newcomer of the Year, league officials announced Tuesday.

Hachimura, Clarke, Zach Norvell Jr., and Josh Perkins were tabbed first team all-WCC. Filip Petrusev was on the conference’s all-freshman team. It’s only the third time in league history that four players from the same team have been named first team, and the first time since GU’s Jeremy Eaton, Richie Frahm, Quentin Hall and Matt Santangelo were tabbed first team in 1998-99. Loyola Marymount had four WCC first team selections in 1987-88.

Few extended his own conference record, capturing his 13th Coach of the Year honor. He received the honor for the third straight season, after leading Gonzaga to a 29-2 record thus far, which marks the Zags’ 12th straight season with at least 25 wins. The Bulldogs are one victory from reaching 30 wins for the fifth time in program history. It would be the third straight 30-win season, and all five would have come in the last seven years. Few has also led GU to its seventh straight WCC regular season title. The top-ranked Zags returned to No. 1 poll twice this season, the third and fourth times in program history.

Hachimura is third in the West Coast Conference averaging 20.6 points per game. He is sixth in the league in shooting at 61.3 percent from the field and eighth in rebounds at 6.6 per game. The junior also has 23 blocks this season. He made 63.5 percent of his shots from the field in conference play, which ranks fourth in the league. The Toyama, Japan, native has scored in double digits in each of the Zags’ 31 games this season, reaching 20 or more points 19 times. He has four double-doubles so far this season. This was his second straight All-WCC first team honor.

Clarke’s 99 blocks are the second-most in the country, while his 3.19 blocks per game ranks third. He’s already broken the GU single-season record, and now ranks sixth in program history for most blocks in a career, with all 99 blocks coming this season. The Phoenix native now ranks second in WCC history for most blocks in a single season, 15 away from the record. He finished second in league history with 52 blocks in conference action. Clarke tops the nation shooting 68.8 percent from the field, which is on pace for the WCC record. He leads the conference, and is ninth in country, making 70.5 percent of his shots inside the arc. The redshirt junior is averaging 16.6 points per game, which is eighth in the WCC, and 8.5 rebounds per outing, which is third in the league. He leads the conference averaging 3.1 offensive rebounds per game.

Norvell Jr. tops the conference with 85 made 3-pointers this season, which also ranks eighth for most makes in a single season in program history. His 15.7 points per game ranks 10th in the WCC, along with his 3.1 assists per game. The redshirt sophomore was tabbed the conference’s Newcomer of the Year last season, along with honorable mention All-WCC and all-freshman team.

Perkins receives his second straight all-WCC first team honor, was honorable mention in 2016-17, and all-freshman in 2015-16. He became Gonzaga’s all-time assist leader this season, breaking the program’s career assists record. The redshirt senior sits at 683 assists in his career, which ranks sixth in West Coast Conference history, and 205 this season. His 205 assists are the second-most in a single season in program history. Perkins is also a finalist for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, and Senior CLASS Award for his efforts in the classroom, community and on the court.

Petrusev is averaging 6.4 points on 54.5-percent shooting from the field during his first year with the Zags. He has appeared in 30 games this season, averaging 11.6 minutes per game.

James Batemon of LMU, BYU’s Yoeli Childs, San Francisco’s Frankie Ferrari, Jordan Ford of Saint Mary’s, San Diego’s Isaiah Pineiro and Pepperdine’s Colbey Ross were also named First Team All-WCC.

All four individual awards — along with the all-West Coast Conference teams and the all-freshman team — were voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches.

The West Coast Conference Championships begin Thursday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The championship game is scheduled for Tuesday night.


Player of the Year: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Coach of the Year: Mark Few, Gonzaga

Defensive Player of the Year: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

Newcomer of the Year: Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga

FIRST TEAM —James Batemon, Sr., G, LMU: Yoeli Childs, Jr., F, BYU; Brandon Clarke, Jr., F, Gonzaga; Frankie Ferrari, sr., G, San Francisco; Jordan Ford, Jr., G, Saint Mary’s; Rui Hachimura, Jr., F, Gonzaga; Zach Norvell Jr., So., G, Gonzaga; Josh Perkins, Sr., G, Gonzaga; Isaiah Pineiro, Sr., F, San Diego; Colbey Ross, So., G, Pepperdine.

SECOND TEAM — Taj Eaddy, So., G, Santa Clara; Malik Fitts, So., F, Saint Mary’s; TJ Haws, Jr., G, BYU; Charles Minlend, So., G, San Francisco; Olin Carter III, Sr., G, San Diego.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM — Gavin Baxter, F, BYU; Dameane Douglas, G/F, LMU; Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine; Filip Petrusev, F, Gonzaga; Trey Wertz, G, Santa Clara.

HONORABLE MENTION — Kameron Edwards, Pepperdine; Roberto Gallinat, Pacific; Mattias Markusson, LMU; Marcus Shaver, Portland; Jalil Tripp, Pacific; Josip Vrankic, Santa Clara; Isaiah Wright, San Diego.


Three Zags selected first team All-WCC; Fortier Coach of the Year

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — The Gonzaga Bulldogs had three players selected to the 2019 all-West Coast Conference first team, the conference office announced Tuesday. In addition, head women’s basketball coach Lisa Fortier was selected as the WCC Coach of the Year for the fourth time in five seasons after leading her team to the WCC regular-season title for the fourth time in five years.

Seniors Zykera Rice, Chandler Smith and Laura Stockton were all selected to the first team, the second all-WCC honor for both Rice and Smith and the first for Stockton. Jill Townsend was one of six in the conference to be named All-WCC Honorable Mention.

Fortier is the only coach in conference history to be tabbed coach of the year four times in her first five seasons. This season, she led the Zags to their third-straight WCC regular-season title with a 27-3 overall record and 16-2 mark in conference play. The Bulldogs have been ranked in the Associated Press and USA Today polls for 14 consecutive weeks, and Gonzaga was highlighted as a 4-seed in the NCAA Selection Committee’s early reveal in February. With GU’s 27 wins, Fortier extended her streak of 20-plus win seasons to three and is the only coach in program history to have four 20-plus wins in four of their first five seasons.

Rice picked up her second-straight all-WCC honor after being selected to the second team a season ago. Rice led the Zags in scoring (14.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.9 rebounds per game) to rank 11th and 15th in the conference, respectively. The Tacoma native also ranked third in the conference in field goal percentage at 52.2 percent.

Smith also earned her second all-WCC honor and her first career all-WCC first team selection. The redshirt senior from Brewster, Wash., a transfer from Nebraska, ranked second on the team in both scoring and rebounding with 9.3 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per game.

For Stockton, it’s her first all-WCC first team selection after having previously been named honorable mention in 2017. The senior led the Bulldogs and ranked fourth in the WCC with 4.3 assists per game, and she moved into third all-time in career assists in GU history with her first assist of the night at Santa Clara on Feb. 21. The Spokane native averaged 9.1 points per game, good for a tie for third on the team.

Townsend, a sophomore, was named all-WCC honorable mention for the first time in her career. Townsend, from Okanogan, Wash., averaged 9.1 points per contest to tie for third on the team and adds 4.7 rebounds per game, good for fourth on the squad.

Pepperdine senior Yasmine Robinson-Bacote was tabbed Player of the Year and Pacific’s Valerie Higgins earned Defensive Player of the Year honors while BYU freshman Shaylee Gonzales was named Newcomer of the Year.

All four individual awards — along with the all-West Coast Conference teams and the all-freshman team — were voted on by the league’s 10 head coaches.

Of the 10-member all-WCC first team, seven appeared on the 2018-19 preseason All-WCC squad. Robinson-Bacote of Pepperdine is making her third-consecutive first team appearance while Brenna Chase of BYU and Megan McKay of Saint Mary’s are making their second-consecutive appearances.

The WCC tournament begins Thursday at the Orleans Arena.


Player of the Year: Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, Pepperdine

Coach of the Year: Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga

Defensive Player of the Year: Valerie Higgins, Pacific

Newcomer of the Year: Shaylee Gonzales, Brigham Young

FIRST TEAM — Brenna Chase, Jr., G, BYU; Chelsey Gipson, So., G, LMU; Shaylee Gonzales, Fr., G, BYU; Valerie Higgins, So., G, Pacific; Megan McKay, Sr., F, Saint Mary’s; Sydney Raggio, Sr., F, Saint Mary’s; Zykera Rice, Sr., F, Gonzaga; Yasmine Robinson-Bacote, Sr., F, Pepperdine; Chandler Smith, Sr., F, Gonzaga; Laura Stockton, Sr., G, Gonzaga.

SECOND TEAM — Tia Hay, Jr., G, Santa Clara; Paisley Johnson, So., G, BYU; Brooklyn McDavid, So., F, Pacific; Shannon Powell, Sr., G, San Francisco; Julie Spencer, Sr., F, Portland.

HONORABLE MENTION — Bree Alford, Loyola Marymount; Jasmine Forcadilla, Saint Mary’s; Ashlyn Herlihy, Santa Clara; Ameela Li, Pacific; Barbara Sitanggan, Pepperdine; Jill Townsend, Gonzaga.

ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM — Haylee Andrews, G, Portland; Malia Bambrick, G, Pepperdine; Shaylee Gonzales, G, BYU; Sam Simons, G, Saint Mary’s; Lindsey VanAllen, G, Santa Clara.

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