Mountain West Announces 2011-12 Women's Basketball All-Conference Team

March 5, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The eight MW women's basketball coaches chose San Diego State junior Courtney Clements as the Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Year for 2011-12 as the all-Conference team and individual award winners were announced today. Clements' teammate Chelsea Hopkins was named Newcomer of the Year, while SDSU's Beth Burns earned her second MW Coach of the Year honor after guiding the Aztecs to their second MW regular-season title.  New Mexico senior Porche Torrance was awarded Defensive Player of the Year honors, while Colorado State's Meghan Heimstra was chosen as the Sixth Player of the Year. The Freshman of the Year award was awarded to TCU's Natalie Ventress.

Four seniors, eight juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen make up this year's all-MW teams. Five of the all-Conference picks were repeat selections from 2010-11, while two were 2009-08 honorees. CSU's Kim Mestdagh and UNLV's Jamie Smith earned the third all-MW honors of their careers. Mestdagh was the league's pick for 2011-12 Preseason Player of the Year, while Smith was the Freshman of the Year in 2009 and became just the second player in MW history to record 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds this season.

Five institutions were honored on this year's first team which features six players due to a tie in the voting. Joining Clements, Hopkins, Mestdagh and Ventress on the all-MW first team were New Mexico's Caroline Durbin and UNLV's Lenita Sanford.

Colorado State sophomore Sam Martin earned the second all-MW honor of her career by being named to the second team. Martin, a 2010-11 third-team honoree, was joined on the second team by Boise State's Lauren Lenhardt, UNLV's Kelli Thompson and Wyoming's Chaundra Sewell. Thompson and Sewell were honorable mention in 2010-11. There were just four members of the second team due to the tie on first team.

Torrance and Smith were joined on the third team by San Diego State's Malia Nahinu, UNLV's Mia Bell, and Wyoming's Kayla Woodward.

Burns led the Aztecs to the team's first outright Mountain West regular season title with a 12-2 conference record. SDSU finished the regular season 22-6 overall and will be the No. 1 seed in the 2012 Conoco Mountain West Women's Basketball Championship, March 7-10, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Profiles of All-MW First Team and Individual Award honorees

Courtney Clements (San Diego State) - Player of the Year, First Team All-MW
Clements earned her first first-team selection after being named the Newcomer of the Year and receiving honorable mention in 2010-11. Helping the Aztecs to a 22-6 overall and 12-2 Conference record, Clements averaged 17.9 points (1st) and 2.1 three-point field goals per game (3rd), while shooting 43.5 percent from the field (14th) and 95.2 percent from the free throw line (1st) in league play. The junior from Long Beach, Calif., recorded a league-leading eight 20-point performances in 14 MW contests.

Chelsea Hopkins (San Diego State) - Newcomer of the Year, First Team All-MW
Hopkins led the Mountain West in assist per game with 7.3 from her point guard position, 2.9 per game higher than the next player on the list. She was the only MW player to record double-digit assist games in Conference play with 12 against UNLV on Feb. 11 and 10 against Air Force on Feb. 18. In 14 MW games, Hopkins averaged 11.6 points (13th), 6.0 rebounds (t9th) and 2.5 steals (2nd) per game while carrying a 2.4 assist/turnover ratio (1st).

Natalie Ventress (TCU) - Freshman of the Year, First Team All-MW
Ventress finished MW play scoring 17.0 points per game (2nd) and shooting 87.0 percent from the free throw line (3rd). She was also strong from long distance with 2.4 three-point field goals made per game (2nd) on a shooting percentage of 41.0 (3rd). Ventress recorded six 20-plus point performances during league play. Ventress is the first freshman named to the first team since Utah's Kim Smith earned the honor in her rookie season, 2002-03.

Kim Mestdagh (Colorado State) - First Team All-MW
Mestdagh, a first-timer on the all-MW first team after two years on the second team, finished Conference play averaging 15.9 points (4th), 5.5 rebounds (t14th), 4.4 assists (t2nd), 2.8 steals (1st) and 2.6 three-pointers made per game (1st). She had a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio (4th) and shot 40.6 percent from the field (15th), including 36.6 from three-point range (8th) and 81.6 from the charity stripe (6th).

Caroline Durbin (New Mexico) - First Team All-MW
Durbin led an injury-riddled Lobo squad with 16.1 points per game in league action. A long-range threat, she shot 50.0 percent from behind the arc (1st) with 1.7 threes made per game (5th).

Lenita Sanford (UNLV) - First Team All-MW
Sanford was a defensive presence for the Lady Rebels, averaging 7.5 rebounds (4th), 1.5 steals (12th) and 1.6 blocks (3rd) per game. In league play, she shot 44.1 percent from the field (13th).

Porche Torrance (New Mexico) - Defensive Player of the Year
Torrance led the league in rebounding with 8.8 per game in Conference play, leading the league with five double-digit rebound games. She also scored 12.2 points per game, coming up with four double-doubles in 14 MW game, second in the league.

Meghan Heimstra (Colorado State) - Sixth Player of the Year
Heimstra came off the bench in all 14 MW games for the Rams this season. She averaged 8.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 44.2 (12th) percent from the field and 77.3 from the free throw line (9th).

(Selected by head coaches)
First-Team All-Mountain West
Name, Team Cl. Pos. Ht. Team
!#Courtney Clements Jr. G 6-0 San Diego State
#Chelsea Hopkins Jr. G 5-8 San Diego State
!^Kim Mestdagh Sr. G/F 5-10 Colorado State
Caroline Durbin Jr. G 6-0 New Mexico
Natalie Ventress Fr. G 5-11 TCU
Lenita Sanford Sr. F/C 6-3 UNLV
Second-Team All-Mountain West
Lauren Lenhardt Jr. F/C 6-2 Boise State
!Sam Martin So. F 6-2 Colorado State
!Kelli Thompson Jr. G 6-0 UNLV
!Chaundra Sewell Jr. F 6-1 Wyoming
Third-Team All-Mountain West
Porche Torrance Sr. F 6-1 New Mexico
Malia Nahinu Jr. C 6-6 San Diego State
Mia Bell Jr. G 5-6 UNLV
^%Jamie Smith Sr. F 6-0 UNLV
Kayla Woodward Fr. F 5-11 Wyoming
Honorable Mention All-Mountain West
Dymond James Jr. F 5-10 Air Force
Kati Isham Sr. G 5-8 Boise State
Kiyana Stamps So. G 5-9 San Diego State
Antoinette Thompson Sr. G 5-7 TCU
Ashley Sickles Jr. F 6-1 Wyoming
All-Defensive Team
!Porche Torrance Sr. F 6-1 New Mexico
Kalena Tutt Sr. C 6-2 San Diego State
Mia Bell Jr. G 5-6 UNLV
Lenita Sanford Sr. F/C 6-3 UNLV
Chaundra Sewell Jr. F 6-1 Wyoming
Player of the Year: Courtney Clements, San Diego State
Defensive Player of the Year: Porche Torrance, New Mexico
Newcomer of the Year: Chelsea Hopkins, San Diego State
Freshman of the Year: Natalie Ventress, TCU
Sixth Player of the Year: Meghan Heimstra, Colorado State
Coach of the Year: Beth Burns, San Diego State
# notes unanimous first-team selection
%2008-09 all-MW/Defensive team selection
^2009-10 all-MW/Defensive team selection
!2010-11 all-MW/Defensive team selection