BIG WEST WOMEN'S BASKETBALL ALL-SPECIALTY AWARDS ANNOUNCED
The 2001-02 Big West Women's Basketball All-Specialty Team was announced today on the eve of the 19th annual women's conference tournament. UC Irvine's Cindy Oparah was selected Defensive Player of the Year, Pacific's Nancy Dinges was named Best Sixth Man and Cal Poly's Odessa Jenkins repeated with the Best Hustle award.
The awards were voted on by the Big West players, who were not allowed to select their teammates. This is the second straight year that the Big West has fielded an All-Specialty Team.
Oparah, a 5-11 forward, ranked sixth in the conference with 2.4 steals per game. She posted a career-high 65 steals for the Anteaters, and moved into sixth on the school's all-time list with 155 thefts. She registered three or more steals 11 times, including in each of her last five games. The senior also tops the Big West with 15.5 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.
Dinges, a 5-10 guard, pumped life into the Pacific offense as the top player off the bench. She averaged 11.7 points per game, 14th-best in the Big West, and connected for 62 three-pointers. Dinges led the Tigers in scoring on seven occasions, including a career-high 25 points against Portland on Dec. 15. The sophomore ranked second in the league with her 62 treys and fifth with a 39.2 three-point field goal percentage.
Jenkins won the Best Hustle award for the second straight year. The 5-4 guard stood among the Big West leaders in scoring, assists, steals, free throw percentage and assist-turnover ratio. Jenkins ranked seventh in the conference with 2.3 steals per game and had at least one steal in 23 out of 27 games. The senior played 30 or more minutes in a game 16 times. Jenkins has accumulated at least 50 steals in all four of her seasons at Cal Poly.
2001-02 DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Cindy Oparah, UC Irvine
2001-02 BEST SIXTH MAN
Nancy Dinges, Pacific
2001-02 BEST HUSTLE
Odessa Jenkins, Cal Poly
UC SANTA BARBARA'S CHRISTENSEN NAMED BIG WEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The 2001-02 Big West Women's Basketball All-Conference Team was announced today, and headlining the group was UC Santa Barbara's Kayte Christensen as the Big West Player of the Year. UC Santa Barbara's Kristen Mann and UC Riverside's Jennifer Young were honored as the conference's Freshman and Coach of the Year, respectively.
Christensen, a 6-3 senior forward, finished the regular season as the Big West leader in field goal percentage (.580) and among the top 10 in scoring, rebounding and free throw percentage. She posted 11 double-doubles and tallied double-digit points in 23 out of 27 contests. Christensen topped the 30-point barrier in consecutive games, including a career-high 36-point performance against Cal State Northridge on Jan. 6. She followed that effort up with 34 points on 16-of-17 shooting versus Arizona on Jan. 14. The native of Alturas, Calif. became the fifth Gaucho in the last six seasons to garner the conference's top individual honor.
Mann, a 6-2 guard/forward, ranked in the Big West top 10 in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage during the regular season. She was the conference's 10th-best scorer (13.1 ppg) and ranked ninth in rebounding (6.6 rpg). Mann tallied five double-doubles and hit the double-digit mark in scoring in 20 games. She is the second straight Gaucho and the third in the last five years to collect Freshman of the Year honors.
Young, in her fifth season at UC Riverside, guided UC Riverside to a 15-12 record overall and 12-4 mark in conference play in its first season as a Big West member. The Highlanders were picked to finish eighth by the coaches and ninth by the media at Big West Media Day in November, but finished in a tie for second place. UCR started the season 0-6 under Young, but rebounded to win 15 of its next 21 games.
A total of five seniors and one sophomore were selected to the All-Big West First Team. Pacific led all schools with two selections to the first team, with senior Selena Ho making her second straight appearance. UC Irvine's Cindy Oparah also landed on the first team for the second straight year.