Shaylee Gonzales dribbles against Gonzaga in the Marriott Center this season. (Decker Westenburg)

BYU’s Shaylee Gonzales wins WCC Player of the Year to lead conference awards

BYU women’s basketball star Shaylee Gonzales was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year for the second-straight season Wednesday.

Gonzales led BYU in scoring with 18.7 points per game this season, scoring double figures in 26 of BYU’s 27 games this season. She scored a career-high 35 points at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 12.

On top of her scoring, Gonzales is averaging 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game this season. 

“Shaylee deserves this award,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “She has been the best player in the league all season from start to finish and has been so consistent.”

Gonzales, Paisley Harding and Lauren Gustin were all named to the All-WCC First Team while Tegan Graham was named as an honorable mention.

Harding’s selection marks her third consecutive year on the first team. She is averaging a career-high 17.2 points per game this season while adding 3.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game. She scored a career-high 33 points in a win at Utah earlier this season.

Gustin has been a constant for BYU on the boards and in the paint this season averaging a double-double with 11.2 points and 11.7 rebounds. She currently ranks eighth in the country in rebounds per game and 19th in double-doubles with 14. This is Gustin’s second-straight All-WCC First Team selection.

Graham has been BYU’s best 3-point shooter this season shooting 40% from three while averaging 10.1 points per game. She set a program record and career-high when she made 10 threes in a game against Oklahoma earlier this season. Graham is also leading BYU and is second in the WCC with 4.8 assists per game. 

“I am happy for the players who received these honors and recognize everyone on our team has contributed to our success this year in a lot of different ways,” Judkins said. 

To go along with the players’ recognition, Judkins was named WCC Coach of the Year for the second-straight season.

Judkins helped lead BYU to arguably the greatest regular season in program history, with a 25-2 overall record and a 15-1 conference record to win the outright WCC Championship for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

“A coach of the year award is an award for your whole program,” Judkins said. “I am really proud of the championship we’ve won, and to accomplish that your players and coaching staff have to come through. These awards are for everyone involved in BYU basketball.”

Judkins now has won five conference championships in his career and six conference coach of the year awards to go along with his program-record 455 wins.

On the men’s side, Alex Barcello earned his second-straight All-WCC First Team selection at BYU, with Fouss Traore selected to the All-WCC Freshman Team. 

Barcello led the Cougars in scoring with 17 points per game while shooting over 45% from the field and 44% from three. Barcello is BYU’s career leader in 3-point percentage and was dubbed by ESPN’s Jay Bilas as the “best shooter in the country” earlier this season. Barcello is also averaging 3.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season. 

Traore, a BYU fan favorite, filled in nicely on the frontline for the Cougars after injuries to senior big men Richard Harward and Gavin Baxter. He is averaging nine points per game, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks this season. He elevated his play against conference opponents, boosting his averages to 10.4 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Both Barcello and Traore had season-high performances against Pepperdine this season with Barcello scoring a career-high 33 points including shooting 9-of-10 from three in a win at Pepperdine on Feb. 12. Traore ended the regular season with a BYU freshman record 19 rebounds and a career-high 25 points in a win on Senior Night against Pepperdine on Feb. 26.

This is the first time since BYU joined the WCC that it has had only one player selected to either the All-WCC first or second team.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will play in the WCC Tournament this weekend in Las Vegas with the men’s team playing Friday against the winner of LMU and Pacific while the women have a triple-bye to the semifinals and won’t play until Monday.

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