Cougar earns Second National Weekly Award and Fourth Conference Honor
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Nina Puikkonen, a 6-3 junior middle blocker at No. 12 Brigham Young University, has been chosen the AVCA/Sports Imports Division I National Player of the Week for leading the Cougars to the Mountain West Conference championship with victories over two ranked teams. Puikkonen has won the award twice this season.
Puikkonen averaged 4.08 kills, 2.62 blocks, 2.31 digs and 0.15 service aces per game as then-No. 13 BYU defeated Wyoming 3-0, then-No. 19 Utah 3-1 and then-No 4 Colorado State 3-2. She chalked up 24 kills, 14 digs and 13 blocks to notch her second triple-double of the season versus Utah in the conference semifinals on Nov. 17. Puikkonen also attacked at a .422 clip in the semifinal match. She recorded 15 kills, 12 digs and eight blocks to lead BYU over Colorado State on Nov. 18 in the championship match, ending the Rams' 44-match home-court winning streak.
Puikkonen, the MWC Tournament Most Valuable Player, set a conference tournament record with 34 blocks, including individual-match conference tournament records of 13 blocks against Wyoming on Nov. 16 and Utah. For the week, she averaged 17.7 kills, 10.0 digs and 11.3 blocks per match for a different kind of triple-double.
Puikkonen and former Cougar Amy Gant are the only BYU players to have won the award, both winning it twice. Puikkonen was also awarded the MWC Player of the Week award Monday. She has won the conference award four times this season.