WAC Hoops Women’s Basketball Postseason Awards

The end of the 2022-23 regular season has come. With that being said, Chelsea and Derryl, who have covered women’s basketball around the WAC all season, bring us their postseason awards.

Coach of the Year

Derryl – Tracy Sanders, Southern Utah

When the preseason polls came out both her fellow coaches and the media had modest expectations for Southern Utah in their inaugural season of WAC play. The Thunderbirds shattered those expectations (6th by the Coaches and 8th in Media voting) by winning a regular season title and earning a number two seed for WACVegas. 

Southern Utah head coach Tracy Sanders. Courtesy SUU Athletics.

Chelsea – Jody Adams, New Mexico State

This was a really hard decision to make. So many great teams led by so many great coaches. At the end of the day, I chose Adams because she took a team that went 6-12 in conference play and turned it around to go 10-8. The team has so much potential with her at the helm and I’m so excited to see what they do in CUSA. 

New Mexico State women’s basketball head coach Jody Adams. Courtesy NMSU Athletics.

Player of the Year

Derryl – Breaunna Gillen, Utah Tech

Utah Tech finishes in the top-5 in the WAC in their second full year of women’s basketball at the Division I level. A lot of that is thanks to the senior guard who averaged 17.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in conference play. She’ll likely win the conference scoring championship and assist title. Nationally, if Utah Tech’s statistics counted on NCAA leaderboards, Gillen would be 17th in assists.

Utah Tech guard Breaunna Gillen has had a stellar 2022-23 season. Photo by Stan Plewe.

Chelsea – Starr Jacobs, UT Arlington

The Lady Mavs may not have had the season they were hoping for or that pretty much everyone expected from them. However, Jacobs did anything but disappoint. She was the only player in, not just the WAC, but the entire country to average 17 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and 2.5 assists. That is dominance on both ends of the court. She also had nine games where she scored 20+. She absolutely lived up to the hype. What’s even better is the Lady Mavs are playing their best basketball of the season down the stretch.

Starr Jacobs has had a big season for the Lady Mavs. Courtesy UTA Athletics.

Freshman of the Year

Chelsea and Derryl – Grace Schmidt, California Baptist

Derryl – After the graduations of Caitlyn Harper and Brittany Thomas there were questions about who’d step into the void and handle the Lancers post scoring. Schmidt, a freshman from Xionia, Wisconsin, filled the gap nicely averaging 13.4 points and 5.5 rebounds in conference play. She has also won six Freshman of the Week awards out of the 16 weeks the award has been handed out so far this year.

Chelsea – Honestly how could you pick anyone else? She won FOTW six times. She averaged ridiculous numbers for a true freshman. There was not a single time she looked like a freshman. I’ve said this before, but she’s without a doubt the most dominant freshman big to come out of the WAC since Katie Scott for GCU in 2020-21. She has a fantastic future at CBU.

Derryl and Chelsea each chose CBU forward Grace Schmidt as the Freshman of the Year. Courtesy CBU Athletics.

Defensive Player of the Year

Derryl – Lizzie Williamson, Southern Utah

Tracy Sanders expected her tandem of posts to be impact players this season but I think a lot of us meant that to be on the offensive end. Williamson, a 6-5 center from Australia, recorded 41 blocks entering Thursday’s finale against GCU and has altered so many shots around the rim. When you add 210 defensive rebounds to her ledger you’ve got the makings of a stellar campaign. On the year Williamson is 13th nationally in Blocks Per Game at 2.36.

Southern Utah center Lizzy Williamson leads the WAC in blocked shots. Courtesy SUU Athletics.

Chelsea – Tiarra Brown, Grand Canyon

This was another award that was extremely difficult to choose. There are a ton of basketball players that could take this award. I almost gave it to Lizzie Williamson or Starr Jacobs. But I went with Brown for what’s not on the stat sheet. She was a constant, smothering presence on defense in every single game she played for the Lopes this season. She averaged just under two steals and had 14 blocks on the regular season. Again, on paper she doesn’t look like a defensive minded player. And honestly, I highly doubt she will end up with the award. But in my mind, after watching her night after night, she deserves to be considered for it. 

Tiarra Brown is one of the best defenders in the WAC. Photo by Jayden Todd/GCU Athletics.

All-WAC Teams

First Team

First Team All-WAC
Trinity San Antonio - CBUTrinity San Antonio - CBU
Cherita Daugherty - SUUCherita Daugherty - SUU
Starr Jacobs - UTAStarr Jacobs - UTA
Aiyana Johnson - SFAAiyana Johnson - SFA
Breaunna Gillen - UTUBreaunna Gillen - UTU

Second Team

Second Team All-WAC
Molly Kaiser - NMSUGrace Schmidt - CBU
Iyana Dorsey - UTRGVIyana Dorsey - UTRGV
Addison Martin - ACUMaleeah Langstaff - ACU
Aspen Thornton - ACUNaudia Evans - GCU
Tomekia Whitman - SUUOlivia Lane - GCU

All-Newcomer Team

All-Newcomer Team
Jordan Harrison - SFAChyna Allen - Sam Houston
Grace Schmidt - CBUGrace Schmidt - CBU
Maleeah Langstaff - ACUMaleeah Langstaff - ACU
Olivia Lane - GCUOlivia Lane - GCU
Teresa Da Silva - TarletonTeresa Da Silva - Tarleton

All-Freshman Team

All-Freshman Team
Jordan Harrison - SFAJordan Harrison - SFA
Grace Schmidt - CBUGrace Schmidt - CBU
Kaylee Byon - UVUKaylee Byon - UVU
Taleyah Jones - UTATaleyah Jones - UTA
Addison Martin - ACUAddison Martin - ACU


About the author

Derryl Trujillo

Derryl Trujillo is a Southern California based sportswriter who won the 2019 Inland Empire Baseball Coaches Association's Supporter of the Year award. He joined the WAC Hoops Digest staff in 2020 and also covers local sports for Inland Sports and the Valley News. Before transitioning to media Derryl was a high school, collegiate and club volleyball official along with serving as a high school basketball scorekeeper for ten years.

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