UVU basketball: Jensen wins second-straight GWC Player of the Year
Kellen Hiser, UVU Athletics
CHICAGO — For the second consecutive season, Utah Valley University's Sammie Jensen has been named Great West Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year.
Jensen received the award Wednesday as the GWC announced its individual awards and All-Conference teams.
Kaycee Mansfield, who was named co-Defensive Player of the Year, joined Jensen on the All-Conference first team while sophomore transfer Tina Doughty found her name on both the second team and All-Newcomer lists.
The Wolverine women's basketball team also collected the GWC regular season championship trophy — its first since joining the league in 2009 — while head coach Cathy Nixon captured the league's Coach of the Year recognition. UVU finished atop the GWC with a 7-1 conference mark and will take the top seed into the upcoming league tournament.
"Easily my favorite award was the team award," Nixon said. "Winning the regular season title was what we had set out to do at the start of the year. But I think our girls are smart enough and experienced enough to know that there aren't any true individual awards in basketball. It's a team sport and anything we accomplish, we accomplish together."
Player of the Year Jensen closed the regular season with a double-double average 17.6 points per game and 14.2 rebounds per contest, surpassing last season's POY numbers of 13.4 ppg and 10.1 rpg. She closed the regular season ranking second in NCAA Division I in rebounding. The senior from Stansbury Park, Utah, tallied 19 double-doubles in 26 games this season and notched nine GWC Player of the Week awards.
In conference games only, Jensen averaged a remarkable 19.4 ppg and 17.0 rpg.
"It's been a phenomenal year for Sammie considering the numbers she's put up and how consistent she's been," Nixon said. "It's not easy to perform that way when you're the preseason favorite to take Player of the Year and everyone has placed a target on your back. I'm just proud of all she's accomplished this season."
Mansfield, a native of American Fork, Utah, was third on the team in scoring at 9.7 ppg and second in rebounding at 7.1 rpg. While a pivotal contributor on the offensive end, Mansfield shined through her defensive effort and ability. Routinely trusted with the most difficult defensive assignment on the floor, the senior earned the notice of the league's coaches and was voted co-Defensive Player of the Year.
"Kaycee getting Defensive Player of the Year is a great recognition," Nixon continued. "She's a player that does all the little things for us — and has done all the little things throughout her career. To see the other coaches recognize her effort and abilities is a special thing and she's a deserving recipient of that award."
A transfer from New Mexico, Doughty emerged to finish second on the team and fourth in the conference in scoring with 10.4 points per contest. A sophomore from Granbury, Texas, Doughty finished the year shooting 39 percent from beyond the three-point arc, including six made treys at Air Force in late December.
"I'm excited for Tina as well," Nixon said. "I'm even more excited that we get to have her back for two more years and I'm looking forward to seeing her continue to grow."
Utah Valley will look to double up on conference championships when it begins the GWC tournament Friday at 1:30 p.m. MT. The top-seeded Wolverines have a bye into the semifinals and await the winner of four seed Chicago State and five seed Houston Baptist.
Kellen Hiser is sports information assistant at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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