SAN BRUNO, Calif. – BYU senior guard Lexi Rydalch was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year after a season that saw her become the WCC’s all-time leading scorer while leading the Cougars to the regular season title. San Diego junior Maya Hood earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades, BYU junior Kalani Purcwell was tabbed the Newcomer of the Year and Cougars head coach Jeff Judkins was selected as 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.
Rydalch, the most prolific scorer in WCC history with 2,437 career points, earned the conference’s top honor after averaging a league-best 24.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. The fifth active leading scorer in the NCAA, Rydalch earned four double-doubles this year after leading BYU to last year’s WCC Tournament championship. Rydalch is the third straight Cougar to capture Player of the Year honors, joining former teammates Morgan Bailey (2015) and Jennifer Hamson (2014).
Hood earned Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading the WCC with 2.5 steals per game while also pulling down 5.1 defensive rebounds per game. Hood averaged 14.4 points and 9.3 rebounds per game – second-most in the conference – to pace San Diego. Hood is the second straight Torero to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors, joining former teammate Sophia Ederaine who took home the award last season.
Purcell, a JC transfer form Hutchinson Community College, took the league by storm in her first season at BYU. The Hamilton, New Zealand native was the only player in the conference to average a double-double with her 11.6 points and 12.5 rebounds per game averages. Her 9.3 defensive rebounds per game ranked second in the NCAA this season. The triple-double threat also led the league in assists at 4.8 per game while collecting a total of 16 double-doubles on the year.
Jeff Judkins put together a 16-2 season to lead BYU to its first WCC regular season title. The Cougars reeled off 16 consecutive wins in conference play, setting a new program mark for longest winning streak in BYU history. The 24-5 regular season record marked Judkins’s 10th season of 20 or more wins at BYU.
Of the 10-member All-WCC First Team, five appeared on the 2015-16 preseason All-WCC squad. Rydalch makes her third consecutive appearance on the All-WCC First Team. Malina Hood of San Diego, Lauren Nicholson of Saint Mary’s and Taylor Proctor of San Francisco are all making their second straight appearances.
All 10 West Coast Conference teams head to Las Vegas to compete for the 2016 West Coast Conference Basketball Championship and subsequent automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tournament action tips off Thursday, March 3 at the Orleans Arena.
Player of the Year: Lexi Rydalch, BYU
Coach of the Year: Jeff Judkins, BYU
Defensive Player of the Year: Maya Hood, San Diego
Newcomer of the Year: Kalani Purcell, BYU
|2015-16 All-WCC Women's Basketball First Team|
|Marie Bertholdt||Jr.||F||Santa Clara|
|Malina Hood||Sr.||G||San Diego|
|Lauren Nicholson||Sr.||G||Saint Mary's|
|Lori Parkinson||Jr.||F||Santa Clara|
|Taylor Proctor||Sr.||F||San Francisco|
|2015-16 All-WCC Women's Basketball Second Team|
|Stella Beck||Soph.||G||Saint Mary's|
|Zhane Dikes||Sr.||G||San Francisco|
|Maya Hood||Jr.||F||San Diego|
|Sophie Taylor||Sr.||F||Loyola Marymount|
2015-16 WCC Women's Basketball Honorable Mention Selections
Devon Brookshire, Saint Mary’s; Shelby Cheslek, Gonzaga; Desire Finnie, Pacific; Rachel Howard, San Francisco; Devin Hudson, Santa Clara; Kylie Maeda, BYU; Kaylie Van Loo, Portland
|2015-16 WCC Women's Basketball All-Freshman Team|
|Savanna Hanson||G||Santa Clara|
|Sydney Raggio||F||Saint Mary's|
|Cheyanne Wallace||F||Loyola Marymount|