Wyoming's Zavecz Named MWC Defensive Player of the Year, First Team All-MWC

March 10, 2008


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Utah's Leilani Mitchell was selected as the Mountain West Conference women's basketball Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year for 2007-08 as chosen by the head coaches, the MWC announced Monday. Freshman of the Year honors went to TCU's Helena Sverrisdottir, while Wyoming's Hanna Zavecz was chosen as the Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in her career. Utah's Elaine Elliott, who guided the Utes to their sixth MWC title, earned her fourth Coach of the Year honor.

Mitchell, a senior guard, helped the Utes to a perfect 16-0 conference record and their sixth MWC regular-season title. She led the league in assists (7.75 ppg), and was second in steals (2.56 spg) and fourth in scoring (16.4 ppg) during the conference slate.

Ten seniors, two juniors and four sophomores make up this year's all-MWC team. Ten all-conference picks were repeat selections. Eight of the nine institutions were represented, as Utah, Wyoming, and New Mexico each had three players honored on the team. TCU and UNLV had two players apiece.

Five different institutions were honored on this year's first team. Joining Mitchell on the all-MWC first-team was unanimous selection Morgan Warburton of Utah and Hanna Zavecz of Wyoming. Zavecz was named a first-team all-conference member for the third consecutive year, while Warburton has been selected two years in a row. Sequoia Holmes of UNLV earned her second straight all-conference honor, while New Mexico's Dionne Marsh also garnered accolades, collecting her fourth all-MWC selection.

Four second-team honorees this year earned all-league honors for the second consecutive year. Adrianne Ross of TCU, Mallary Gillespie-Carling of BYU, Kalee Whipple of Utah and Wyoming's Justyna Podziemska all received second-team accolades after being all-MWC selections last season. Sophomore Jene Morris of San Diego State was also honored on the second-team after competing in just her first year in the league.

Air Force's Alecia Steele earned her third straight third-team honor, while UNLV's Shamela Hampton was honored on the third-team for the second consecutive year. Lorie Butler-Rayford of TCU, Brandi Kimble of New Mexico, and a pair of sophomores, Wyoming's Aubrey Vandiver and New Mexico's Amy Beggin, each made their first appearance on the all-conference list.

Player of the Year: Leilani Mitchell, Utah
Newcomer of the Year: Leilani Mitchell, Utah
Freshman of the Year: Helena Sverrisdottir, TCU
Defensive Player of the Year: Hanna Zavecz, Wyoming
Coach of the Year: Elaine Elliott, Utah

First Team All-Mountain West Conference

#Leilani Mitchell, Utah, Sr., 5-5, G
#*Morgan Warburton, Utah, Jr., 5-11, G
***Hanna Zavecz, Wyoming, Sr., 6-0, F
*Sequoia Holmes, UNLV, Sr., 6-1, F
***Dionne Marsh, New Mexico, Sr., 6-1, F

Second Team All-Mountain West Conference

*Kalee Whipple, Utah, So., 6-0, F
Jene Morris, San Diego State, So., 5-9, G
**Adrianne Ross, TCU, Sr., 5-8, G
*Mallary Gillespie-Carling, BYU, Sr., 5-10, G
*Justyna Podziemska, Wyoming, Sr., 6-2, F

Third Team All-Mountain West Conference

Lorie Butler-Rayford, TCU, Sr., 5-11, F
**Alecia Steele, Air Force, Sr., 6-0, F
Brandi Kimble, New Mexico, Sr., 5-8, G
Aubrey Vandiver, Wyoming, So., 5-11, G
Amy Beggin, New Mexico, So., 5-6, G
*Shamela Hampton, UNLV, Jr., 6-3, C

Honorable Mention All-Mountain West Conference

Helena Sverrisdottir, TCU, Fr., 6-2, F
Sara Hunter, Colorado State, Sr., 5-6, G
Jodi Bolerjack, Wyoming, Sr., 5-9, G
Allison Duffy, San Diego State, Fr., 6-2, F
Paris Johnson, San Diego State, Fr., 6-4, C
Lauren Riley-Varley, BYU, Sr., 6-3, C
Pamela Findlay, Air Force, Sr., 5-11, G

* notes repeat all-conference selection
** notes three-time all-conference selection
*** notes four-time all-conference selection
# notes unanimous first-team selection