Chelsea Hopkins Headlines All-MW Postseason Honors
March 11, 2013
SAN DIEGO - San Diego State's Chelsea Hopkins headlined the Mountain West postseason honors as she was named conference player of the year, the league announced Monday. Beth Burns, meanwhile, was tabbed the coach of the year and Courtney Clements was named to the first team. Erimma Amarikwa and Malia Nahinu were also recognized, being named to the third team and honorable mention list, respectively. On the all-defensive team, Hopkins and Gabrielle Clark made up one-third of the group.
With Hopkins being the Mountain West Player of the Year, it marks the second straight season in which an Aztec has taken home the league's top individual honor. In 2012, Clements was named the conference's best player. For SDSU, this is also the second time an Aztec has won the award in MW history.
In addition to being the player of the year, Hopkins was a unanimous first-team selection, marking the second straight year she has landed on the top squad. The Las Vegas, Nev., native earned the aforementioned accolades after producing a season that saw her post four double-doubles, which is the most in the nation and in MW history. Among her conference peers, the senior finished the campaign ranked first in assists (6.1), third in rebounding (8.3), third in steals (2.9) and fifth in scoring (15.3). In addition, the guard posted seven double-doubles, six double-figure rebounding efforts and four double-digit assist games.
For the second straight year and third time overall, Burns is the MW Coach of the Year. The eighth-year head coach, who is in her second stint at SDSU, guided the Aztecs to a 15-1 mark inside the league, including 15 straight victories to close out the year. The 15-game winning streak is tied for the second-longest in school history and the 15-1 record is the second-best conference record ever in Mountain West history. The back-to-back regular-season champions won this year's title outright and is the top-seeded team heading into this week's conference tournament.
Clements joined Hopkins on the first-team, which marks the second straight season she has been voted to the top group and third year in a row she has garnered all-league accolades. A unanimous first-teamer, Clements finished in a second-place tie in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per outing, and was second in the league in free-throw shooting (.872). The senior also was tied for sixth in three-pointers made (1.9), 10th in steals (1.8), 11th in three-point field-goal percentage (.366), 14th in field-goal percentage (.423) and tied for 14th in blocked shots (0.60). At season's end, Clements logged seven games with 20 or more points.
Amarikwa picked up her first-ever all-league appointment, landing on the third team. The sophomore forward was tops in the league in field-goal percentage, connecting on 53.2 percent of her attempts. In conference play, Amarikwa averaged 10.2 points to rank 23rd and pulled down 6.1 boards an outing (13th). She scored in double figures nine times against MW foes and posted one double-double, a 14-point, 11-rebound performance at Nevada.
For Nahinu, this is the second straight year in which she has been honored with a postseason award. The senior ranked first in blocked shots (2.2), sixth in field-goal percentage (.470) and tied for ninth in offensive rebounds (2.1). Nahinu blocked multiple shots on 10 different occasions, including a career-high six on Senior Day vs. Boise State. On the boards, she grabbed five or more nine times and pulled down a season-high 11 at Fresno State where she also scored a career-high 18 points. Nahinu's 18-point game at Fresno State was one of five double-digit scoring games.
With Hopkins and Clark on the all-Mountain West defensive team, it marks the fourth straight season in which an Aztec has been voted to the squad. The two SDSU honorees are the second-most in school history only to the 2008-09 team that saw Jene Morris, Paris Johnson and Quenese Davis make the team. Hopkins and Clark were a part of a San Diego State defense that ranked first in scoring defense (49.5), scoring margin (+18.6), field-goal percentage defense (.335), three-point field-goal percentage defense (.266), blocked shots (5.8) and rebounding margin (+7.6), and second in steals (9.6). During their 15-game winning streak, Hopkins and Clark led a defense that did not allow more than 60 points and held 11 foes to 50 or fewer points.
The top-seeded Aztecs return to action on Thursday when they face the winner of eighth-seeded Air Force and the nine-seed, Nevada. Tip time for the game is noon PT inside Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Single-session tickets are available through UNLVtickets.com.