Jill Barta named WCC Player of Year, Fortier Coach of the Year - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Jill Barta named WCC Player of Year, Fortier Coach of the Year

Lisa Fortier Wins WCC Coach of the Year Lisa Fortier Wins WCC Coach of the Year

By Gonzaga Athletics

SAN BRUNO, Calif. – The Gonzaga Bulldogs had three players selected to the 2018 All-West Coast Conference Team, the conference office announced Tuesday. Jill Barta was named the Player of the Year, the first Zag to be honored since Taelor Karr in 2013, along with being a first team selection.

In addition, Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier was selected as the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the third time after leading her team to the Regular-Season WCC Championship for the third time in four years.

Juniors Chandler Smith and Zykera Rice were both selected to the second team, first time honors for both. Jenn Wirth was tabbed to the five-person All-Freshman Team.

Barta was selected to the first team for the third time. She joins Heather Bowman and Courtney Vandersloot as the only Zags to do that in program history. This season, Barta is second in the conference in scoring at 18.1 points per game, fifth in rebounding at 8.5 per game, seventh in field goal percentage at 47.7 percent, first in free throw percentage at 86.7 percent, ninth in steals at 1.9 per game, and sixth in blocks at 1.1 per game. She was selected the WCC Player of the Week three times, and set new school records with 22 rebounds in a game and six 30+ point games in her career. She is the eighth Zag to earn the player of the year award since 2005.

Coach Fortier is the first coach in conference history to be selected coach of the year three times in their first four seasons. This season, she led the Zags to a 24-5 overall record and 17-1 conference mark, a new conference record in wins. The team wrapped up the regular-season title with three games remaining and won 20+ games, becoming the first coach in program history to do that three times in their first four years.

Smith, already an All-Academic Team and Academic All-District selection, averages 10.1 points per game, third on the team, 5.9 rebounds per game, second on the team, is 13th in the conference at .7 blocks per game, and fifth in the WCC at 1.9 steals per game. She has played four different positions for the Zags this year and led the team in at least three statistical categories in a game five times.

Rice emerged as consistent force for the Zags this season. She is 15th in the league in scoring and second on the team at 12.2 points per game. She is fifth in the league in shooting percentage at 50 percent and second on the team and 13th in the WCC in blocked shots at .7 per game. Rice has scored in double figures in 25 of her 29 games this year and was voted WCC Player of the Week once.

Jenn Wirth was thrown into the fire this season and has responded in impressive fashion, averaging 4.6 points per game, shooting 47.5 percent from the field, third on the team, and grabbing 3.2 rebounds per game, third on the Zags. Wirth also blocked .4 shots per game, fourth on the team. She recorded a double-double and scored in double figures twice.

BYU freshman Sara Hamson earned Defensive Player of the Year accolades and Loyola Marymount junior Gabby Green was tabbed the Newcomer 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.

Of the 10-member All-WCC First Team, six appeared on the 2017-18 preseason All-WCC squad. Barta is making her third-consecutive appearances on the All-WCC First Team while Stella Beck of Saint Mary’s, Cassie Devashrayee of BYU, GeAnna Luaulu-Summers of Pacific and Yasmine Robinson-Bacote of Pepperdine are making their second-consecutive First Team appearances.

All 10 West Coast Conference teams head to Las Vegas to compete for the 2018 West Coast Conference Basketball Championship and subsequent automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Tournament action tips off Thursday, March 1 at the Orleans Arena.

Women’s Basketball All-WCC Honors
Player of the Year: Jill Barta, Gonzaga
Coach of the Year: Lisa Fortier, Gonzaga
Defensive Player of the Year: Sara Hamson, BYU
Newcomer of the Year: Gabby Green, Loyola Marymount
Name Institution Yr. Pos.
Jill Barta Gonzaga R-Jr. F
Stella Beck Saint Mary’s Sr. G
Brenna Chase BYU Soph. G
Cassie Broadhead Devashrayee BYU Sr. G
Gabby Green Loyola Marymount Jr. G
GeAnna Luaulu-Summers Pacific Sr. G
Megan McKay Saint Mary’s Jr. F
Yasmine Robinson-Bacote Pepperdine Jr. F
Anna Seilund San Francisco Sr. G
Aubrey Ward-El San Diego Sr. G
Name Institution Yr. Pos.
Maya Hood San Diego Sr. G
Sydney Raggio Saint Mary’s Jr. F
Michaela Rakova San Francisco Sr. G
Zykera Rice Gonzaga Jr. F
Chandler Smith Gonzaga R-Jr. G
Name Institution
Bree Alford Loyola Marymount
Makenzie Cast Loyola Marymount
Paige Fecske Pepperdine
Jasmine Forcadilla Saint Mary’s
Ameela Li Pacific
Anaya Brooklyn McDavid Pacific
Morgan McGwire Santa Clara
Kalyn Simon San Francisco
Darian Slaga Portland
Julie Spencer Portland
Name Institution Yr. Pos.
Sara Hamson BYU Fr. C
Maddy Holland Saint Mary’s Fr. G
Anaya Brooklyn McDavid Pacific Fr. G
Myah Pace San Diego Fr. G
Jenn Wirth Gonzaga Fr. F
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