Women's Hoops' Clements Named MW Player of the Year
March 5, 2012
SAN DIEGO - The San Diego State women's basketball team picked up three of the Mountain West's top awards Monday, as junior Courtney Clements was named player of the year, Beth Burns was tabbed coach of the year and junior Chelsea Hopkins earned the newcomer-of-the-year award, the league office announced Monday evening. Clements, who led the conference in scoring, becomes the first Aztec to be named Mountain West Player of the Year in league history. Burns, meanwhile, earns her second coach-of-the-year accolade in the last four seasons and Hopkins is the third consecutive Aztec to be named the MW's top newcomer.
Clements and Hopkins both were unanimously selected first-team all-conference, marking just the second time the Aztecs have had multiple first-team honorees (also 2008-09) in the same campaign. The SDSU duo was joined by Colorado State's Kim Mestdagh, New Mexico's Caroline Durbin, TCU's Natalie Ventress and UNLV's Lenita Sanford.
Clements boasted an MW-best 17.9 points per conference outing and also was tops in free-throw shooting with a 95.2 mark, making 40 of her 42 chances, including 30 in a row. She has 12, 20-point performances with eight of those coming in league action. The Long Beach, Calif., native has 17 or more points 18 times, has scored in double-figures in 24 of 28 games and has not been held to less than double-figures in back-to-back outings in 2011-12. Clements, who was an honorable mention pick a year ago, ranks in the top 60 nationally in scoring and 3-point percentage (35.6).
In the seventh season of her second stint on The Mesa, Burns has been a conference coach of the year five times with the Aztecs. The first three came when San Diego State competed in the Western Athletic Conference in 1994, 1995 and 1996, and the fourth happened in 2009, when the squad went 24-8 overall and 13-3 to earn a share of the Mountain West regular-season crown. This year, Burns has led the Aztecs to a 22-6 record, the outright league regular-season title and a No. 1 seed in this week's MW tournament. San Diego State also put together a 13-game midseason winning streak, including a perfect 7-0 run in the first half of league play, and was 13-1 on its home court. SDSU entered this year coming off a 12-17 campaign and had six players on its 13-player roster who did not compete in the Red & Black a year ago.
Hopkins is the third-straight Aztec to come away with the league's newcomer of the year honor, joining Clements (2011) and former standout Jessika Bradley (2010). The 5-foot-8 point guard leads the Mountain West in assists with 61 more than any other player, including a +41 margin in the 14 conference outings. Hopkins is SDSU's top rebounder at 5.7 per game and ranks eighth in the nation in assists (6.5/g) and 21st in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.0). The Las Vegas, Nev., native has scored over 10 points in 15 games and has a team-high four double-doubles. Her 182 assists already rank fifth in school single-season history.
The team's other three starters also garnered Mountain West honors, as junior center Malia Nahinu (Hayward, Calif.) was a third-team all-conference pick, sophomore guard Kiyana Stamps (Moreno Valley, Calif.) earned honorable mention accolades and senior center Kalena Tutt (Long Beach, Calif.) was selected to the five-member all-defensive squad.
San Diego State is the top seed for this week's conference championships in Las Vegas and will take on No. 8 seed Air Force at noon PT on Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be televised live on The Mtn. HD and will also be shown locally on Channel 4 San Diego. All of the Aztecs' games in Las Vegas will be carried by XTRA Sports 1360AM.
2012 Mountain West Conference Postseason Awards
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 6th Player of the Year: Meghan Heimstra, Colorado State Coach of the Year: Beth Burns, San Diego State
First Team All-Mountain West Conference #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 # notes unanimous first-team selection
Second Team All-Mountain West Conference 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 Conference Malia Nahinu, Jr., C, 6-6, San Diego State Porche Torrance, Sr., F, 6-1, New Mexico 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 Conference Kiyana Stamps, So., G, 5-9, San Diego State Dymond James, Jr., F, 5-10, Air Force Kati Isham, Sr., G, 5-8, Boise State Antoinette Thompson, Sr., G, 5-7, TCU Ashley Sickles, Jr., F, 6-1, Wyoming
All-Defensive Team Kalena Tutt, Sr., C, 6-2, San Diego State Porche Torrance, Sr., F, 6-1, New Mexico Mia Bell, Jr., G, 5-6, UNLV Lenita Sanford, Sr., F/C, 6-3, UNLV Chaundra Sewell, Jr., F, 6-1, Wyoming