Hamson, Drollinger, Johnson garner WCC honors
LAS VEGAS – Junior center Sara Hamson was named the West Coast Conference Women's Basketball Defensive Player of the Year while Brenna Drollinger and Paisley Johnson were named to the WCC First Team, the league announced today.
Gonzaga junior guard Jill Townsend was named the WCC Player of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to the best regular season in program history en route to a fourth-consecutive WCC regular-season title. Hamson was named the Defensive Player of the Year, Portland’s Alex Fowler was named the Newcomer of the Year and Cindy Fisher was named the Coach of the Year as announced Tuesday by the league office.
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.
Townsend is the WCC Player of the Year after leading No. 11/10 Gonzaga to a record-tying 17-win conference season, the first Top 10 national ranking in program history and the best overall regular-season record in program history. The junior led the Zags with 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in conference play while also posting the second-best three-point field goal percentage in the league at .431 through 18 conference games. Townsend becomes the seventh Bulldog to earn the league’s top honor, and it is the league-leading ninth all-time award in program history.
Hamson is the WCC Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career after a regular season that saw the junior lead the NCAA in blocks per game at 4.75 and in total blocks at 133. A Naismith Defensive Player of the Year semifinalist, Hamson increased her defensive presence in conference play with an average of 5.3 blocks per game on totals of 95 blocks in 18 games played for the Cougars. She also pulled down 5.8 defensive rebounds per game in conference play en route to becoming just the fourth student-athlete in conference history to win the Defensive Player of the Year honor twice in a career. Hamson was previously honored as a freshman in the 2017-18 season.
Fowler becomes just the second Portland Pilot to be named WCC Newcomer of the Year – or its predecessor WCC Freshman of the Year – after a season that saw the freshman from Australia finish second in the conference in scoring (17.3 points per game) and field goal percentage (.528) while also finishing sixth in rebounds per game (7.9). She helped lead the Pilots to their first winning record in 10 seasons while also becoming the first Pilot to earn a spot on the All-WCC First Team since Laiken Dollente was honored in the 2009-10 season.
Cindy Fisher earns her third career WCC Coach of the Year honor after leading the Toreros from a ninth-place finish last season to a second-place showing in this year’s campaign. Fisher, who previously won the award in 2011-12 and 2006-07, engineered an 11-game improvement in conference play after leading her team to a 13-5 record after winning just two games the season prior. The Toreros were predicted to finish eighth in the preseason poll before taking the conference by storm and earning a bye to the WCC Tournament semifinal round.
Of the 10-member All-WCC First Team, seven appeared on the 2019-20 preseason All-WCC squad. Brenna Chase Drollinger is making her third-consecutive First Team appearance while Valerie Higgins of Pacific is making her second-consecutive appearances.
All 10 West Coast Conference teams head to Las Vegas to compete for the 2020 University Credit Union West Coast Conference Basketball Tournament and a subsequent automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tournament action tips off Thursday, March 5 at the Orleans Arena.
|Player of the Year: Jill Townsend, Gonzaga|
|Coach of the Year: Cindy Fisher, San Diego|
|Defensive Player of the Year: Sara Hamson, BYU|
|Newcomer of the Year: Alex Fowler, Portland|
|Brenna Chase Drollinger||Sr.||G||BYU|
|Myah Pace||Jr.||G||San Diego|
|Sam Simons||So.||G||St. Mary's|
|Jordyn Edwards||Jr.||G||San Diego|
|Mikayla Williams||Gr.||F||San Francisco|
|Kate Anderson, Portland; Chelsey Gipson, LMU; Ashlyn Herlihy, Santa Clara; Jessie Loera, Gonzaga; Madison Pollock, San Diego; Leticia Soares, San Diego; Leilah Vigil, San Francisco; Taycee Wedin, Saint Mary’s|