BYU’s Riley named WCC Player of the Year

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Hard work, sweat and perseverance have paid off this season as BYU women’s basketball has claimed honors and awards from the West Coast Conference. Players on the team have been recognized all season long in the WCC tournament for their outstanding performance, and this week is no different.

The WCC announced its 2011-12 awards on Tuesday, with BYU’s senior Kristen Riley earning WCC Player of the Year honors.

Riley leads the team in rebounds and points, averaging 7.9 rebounds and 11.8 points per game. She’s ranked fifth in scoring, first in rebounding, fourth in field goal percentage, second in 3-point field goal percentage, fifth in blocked shots and first in defensive rebounds during conference games. She has become BYU’s 22nd player to get 1,000 points in her career, and recorded eight double-doubles.

True freshman Lexi Eaton was named WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year, and she also made the All-Freshman team. Eaton is BYU’s second-leading scorer averaging 10 points a game, and picking up three rebounds.

Another senior who got high honors was Haley Steed, as both she and Riley were named to the All-Conference team. Steed leads the team in assists, 215, and steals, 66. She is ranked second all-time in career assists and broke BYU’s record for assists in one season.

Also on Tuesday, sophomores Kim Parker and Jennifer Hamson were named in the WCC 2012 Women’s Basketball All- Academic Team.

At the end of each season, the WCC picks students who demonstrate academic excellence by maintaining at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average. Parker has a 3.78 GPA in school health. Hamson hasĀ  a 3.70 GPA while studying exercise science.

“I was raised with parents that taught me academics come first,” Parker said. “Even though I love basketball. They raised me up teaching that balance is the most important thing to have in your life.”

This is the first year that BYU is in the WCC, and the Cougars and the rest of the league’s teams are preparing for the conference tournament this weekend.

“We’ve made it a goal now to forget everything, the good and the bad,” Steed said. “And move forward from this point with one goal in mind.”

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