Pacific Women's Basketball: Three Tigers Receive Big West Post-Season Awards
Thompson and fellow sophomore Eliza Dy (Chino Hills, Calif.) earned Honorable Mention All-Big West recognition, while freshman Erica McKenzie (Sparks, Nev.) headlined the All-Freshman Team for the Tigers. In addition to the all-conference awards, Thompson was also voted 2009-10 Big West Sixth Woman of the Year in the Big West Specialty awards which are voted on by all the players in the conference.
"The fact that the honorees for us are freshmen and sophomores says a lot about the direction this program is headed," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "We're going to keep building around the strength of our youth and continue to head in the right direction, starting with the Big West Conference Tournament this week."
All season long Thompson stepped up for Pacific, finishing the regulation season as the team's top scorer. The sophomore averaged 11.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in 19.3 minutes played off the bench. In Big West play, Thompson only got better as she finished with 11.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds. Her most impressive showing of the season took place in only the second conference game of the year, tallying a career and team-high 30 points against Cal State Fullerton back on Jan. 4. One game prior to that, she established a then-career high with 23 points and three blocks in Pacific's 76-70 overtime victory on the road at Cal State Northridge. Both awards are the first of the sophomore's career and by claiming Sixth Woman of the Year, Thompson becomes the first Tigers to do so since Gillian d'Hondt back in the 2003-04 season.
"Chris Thompson spent the entire season coming off the bench for us, so for her to win an award that's voted on by her peers says a lot for her performance this season," Roberts said. "She's had a great year and other team have also recognized that fact."
After a late push into the 2009-10 season, McKenzie established herself as the team's second-leading scorer both in overall and in conference play for Pacific. The freshman finished the regulation season averaging 8.9 points and per game with 70 total assists, and was a force from behind the three-point arc sinking almost half of Pacific's treys this year with 52 three-point shots. In Pacific's record books, that puts McKenzie just out of reach of the top 10 career three-point shooters, as she will look to break into the books her sophomore season with Pacific. Against Big West opponents, McKenzie averaged 9.8 points per game along with 40 assists and 34 treys. During three games this season Erica recorded six three-pointers to tie for the third-best single game three-point shooting performance in Pacific history. She did so against UC Santa Barbara (Jan. 9), at Sacramento State for a career-high 28 points (Feb. 13) and closed out the regulation season with six against Cal State Northridge on March 6.
"Erica made a strong case for Freshman of the Year this season," Roberts said. "She finished as the leading scorer as a freshman in the conference and was second in the Big West for threes made, so that's a great honor for her. I'm proud of all the freshmen for playing significant minutes and significant roles this year."
Like McKenzie, Dy also served as a force behind the three-point line this season and her 93 assists along with 50 steals this season were tops among Pacific players. Eliza finished third in scoring this season, averaging 8.3 points per game and 8.8 points per game in conference match-ups. Also in conference play, Dy tallied 54 assists to lead the team, along with 19 steals. Dy's single-game career performance came back on Feb. 11, when Pacific upset top-ranked UC Davis as she too dropped six three-pointers to land third in Pacific single-game history. Dy went on to record a career-high 26 points to lead the Tigers in that contest. Her second-best showing came during the final game of the regulation season against Cal State Northridge on March 6. In the double overtime victory over the Matadors, Eliza tallied a team-high 18 points and recorded the first double-double of her career with a personal-best 11 assists to lead either team in that conference.
"Eliza finished the season strong and immediately began contributing in only her first year with the program," Roberts said. "She either led or was second on the team in threes made, assists and steals this season and she is one of the reasons why we're looking forward to the future of this young group."
Pacific will continue its 2009-10 season this week at the Big West Conference Tournament in Anaheim, Calif. The eighth-seeded Tigers will take on No. 5 UC Santa Barbara at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10.