LBSU Makes History With Sweep of Specialty Awards
Big West Women's Basketball Specialty Awards Release
For the first time in Big West history, a school swept the specialty awards as Long Beach State took home all three honors.
A senior trio was responsible for the haul, led by Jewelyn Sawyer who repeated as the Defensive Player of the Year. Raven Benton claimed the Best Sixth Player while Anna Kim wrapped up the haul as she was named Best Hustle.
Sawyer, who is from Paramount, Calif., is the leading defender on one of the nation’s most disruptive defensive units. Sawyer averages 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game while defending the opponent’s top perimeter threat. She led a defense that ranks 17th in the NCAA in turnovers forced per game (20.7) and 50th in steals per game (9.7), while allowing just 63.6 points per game. Sawyer also has three double-doubles, recorded a career-high 15 rebounds against Pepperdine on November 13 and recorded at least two steals in six of her last seven games including a career-high tying five against CSUN in the final week of the regular season.
Benton, hailing from Tacoma, Wash., made a successful transition to a reserve role this season. She averages 11.0 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.7 in just under 20 minutes per outing. In conference play, Benton upped her game to the tune of 12.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 45.1% from the floor. Her penchant for explosive offensive showings remained as she recorded 10 double-figure scoring games including a season-high 23-point showing in 26 minutes against UC Santa Barbara on February 18. Benton is the third LBSU player to claim the Best Sixth Player award and the first since since Jinga Gosschalk following the 2002-03 season.
Kim, a native of Fullerton, Calif., has been one of the 49ers most indispensible players during her four-year career. Kim averages 10.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals while shooting 45.7% from the floor, 40.3% from three-point land and 74.2% from the foul line. Kim has routinely supplied what the Beach has needed, whether it be a career-high 27 points in a personal best 40 minutes against Loyola Marymount or her 11 games of at least five assists. Kim also ranks in the top 10 in LBSU history in free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage, three-pointers made and games played.
2016-17 Big West Defensive Player of the Year
Jewelyn Sawyer, Long Beach State
2016-17 Big West Sixth Woman of the Year
Raven Benton, Long Beach State
2016-17 Big West Best Hustle
Anna Kim, Long Beach State