March 3, 2008
SAN BRUNO, CA -- Gonzaga swept the WCC's yearly individual honors after claiming its fourth straight women's basketball regular season title, and the top seed in the WCC Tournament. Sophomore Heather Bowman was named WCC Player of the Year, while junior Jami Bjorklund was tabbed for Defensive Player of the Year honors, and freshman Courtney Vandersloot was named as the conference's top newcomer. Gonzaga's Kelly Graves earned WCC Coach of the Year recognition for the fourth time in his career, as the Zags became the first conference program to sweep the individual awards since U.S. International accomplished the feat in 1985-86, the league's inaugural season of women's basketball.
Bowman becomes the third Bulldog in the last four seasons to earn WCC Player of the Year honors, following Shannon Mathews in 2004-05 and Stephanie Hawk last season. The sophomore, who was named WCC Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, finished the regular season averaging a conference-high 20.0 points per game, and ranked fourth in the WCC with 8.5 rebounds per contest. She is one of just two players to finish the campaign ranked among the WCC's top-five in both scoring and rebounding.
Graves guided the Zags to a 13-1 record in conference play, and a 22-7 overall mark during the regular season, en route to his fourth Coach of the Year honor in the last six seasons. Bjorklund becomes the first Gonzaga player to earn Defensive Player of the Year recognition after helping the Bulldogs rank second in the WCC in scoring defense during conference play, as the Zags surrendered just 63.0 points per game to league opponents.
Vandersloot follows Bowman as Gonzaga's second straight WCC Newcomer of the Year award recipient, after the freshman ranked second in the WCC in assists (5.72 apg), fourth in steals (1.93 spg), and third among conference freshmen in scoring (10.7 ppg).
San Francisco senior Dominique Carter became just the second player in conference history to earn first team All-WCC honors four times during her career, following former Don Brittany Lindhe, who earned first team recognition from 1995-99. Six players received first team honors for the second time in their respective careers this season.
Coach of the Year
Kelly Graves, Gonzaga
Player of the Year
Heather Bowman, Gonzaga
Defensive Player of the Year
Jami Bjorklund, Gonzaga
Newcomer of the Year
Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga
2008 All-Conference Team
Miranda Ayim, PEP - 6-3 - F/C - SO - London, Ont., Canada
Heather Bowman, GON* - 6-2 - F - SO - Spokane, WA
Dominique Carter, USF*** - 5-11 - F - SR - Tracy, CA
Chandice Cronk, SCU* - 5-8 - G - SR - Wasilla, AK
Jen Gottschalk, SCU - 6-0 - F - SR - Littleton, CO
Daphanie Kennedy, PEP* - 5-7 - G - SR - Oakland, CA
Amanda Rego, USD* - 5-10 - G - SR - San Diego, CA
Jontelle Smith, SMC* - 5-5 - G - JR - Pinole, CA
Amber Sprague, USD* - 6-5 - C - JR - San Diego, CA
Courtney Vandersloot, GON - 5-8 - G - FR - Kent, WA
*Previous times on All-WCC first team
GON: Jami Bjorklund
LMU: Amanda DeCoud, Renahy Young
POR: Karlie Burris, Laiken Dollente, Rachel Warren
USF: Necolia Simmons
2008 All-Freshman Team
Sam Child, USD - 6-0 - G - Portland, OR
Katie Menton, PEP - 5-10 - G - Yosemite, CA
Louella Tomlinson, SMC - 6-4 - F - Melbourne, Australia
Courtney Vandersloot, GON - 5-8 - G - Kent, WA
Renahy Young, LMU - 5-8 - G - Carson, CA