Mar 082004
 
Authors: Collegian sports staff

The Mountain West Conference announced its 2003-04 men’s and

women’s basketball awards Monday. The league’s eight men’s head

coaches, along with a selected media panel, picked the

all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and

defensive awards.

Air Force head coach Joe Scott captured Coach of the Year honors

after leading the Falcons to the best season in school history with

a regular-season conference title and a 22-5 overall record.

Scott’s Falcons also became the first team in the five-year history

of the Mountain West to win 12 games. Nick Welch of Air Force and

Rafael Araujo of Brigham Young were selected as Co-Players of the

Year, marking the first time two players share the top individual

honor. Freshman of the Year honors went to Andrew Bogut of Utah,

while BYU’s Mike Hall was named Defensive Player of the Year.

Matt Nelson was the lone CSU representative, as he garnered his

second consecutive third-team selection by averaging a team-high

15.7 points per game and shooting over 60 percent from the

field.

Women’s awards

For the women, it was Utah sophomore Kim Smith who took home top

honors, repeating as MWC Player of the Year. Newcomer of the Year

honors went to UNLV junior RanDee Henry. Wyoming senior Brenda

Pickup and UNLV junior Sherry McCracklin shared Defensive Player of

the Year honors, and Wyoming head coach Joe Legerski, who led the

Cowgirls to a 6-8 conference record in his first year with the

team, was named Coach of the Year.

Three sophomores represented the Rams on the team, each

achieving selections for the first time in their careers. Vanessa

Espinoza earned a second team selection, while sophomores Melissa

Dennett and Lindsay Thomas made the third team’s roster. Seniors

Jasai Ferrucho and Joy Jenkins were both honorable mention

selections.

Espinoza leads the team with 13.0 points per game, has connected

on a team-best 48 3-pointers and is shooting .462 from beyond the

arc – the school record for a single season. Dennett is second on

the team in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 12.9 points and

6.6 rebounds. Thomas leads the team in rebounding with 7.2 per game

and is third on the team with 12.0 points per. Ferrucho broke the

conference record with 93 assists in league play and has 149 on the

year. Jenkins is second on the team with 40 3-pointers and has hit

at least one in the last 12 games.

The all-conference Rams will face Legerski’s Wyoming club in the

opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament on

Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The men will

face Air Force’s flight of award winners Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets

are available by calling the Pepsi Center Ticket Office at (303)

405-1111.

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