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WCC names Yvonne Ejim top player, Lisa Fortier top coach as Gonzaga women dominate awards

Mar. 5—Gonzaga senior forward Yvonne Ejim was a terror on the court and more than a handful for West Coast Conference teams to deal with this season.

Six times she was named the WCC Player of the Week.

It was fitting that Ejim was named the WCC's Player of the Year on Tuesday. She also was named the WCC Defensive Player of the Year.

"I'm very proud of myself and very grateful for the year I've been able to have and the year that my team has been able to have," Ejim said. "A lot of the success that comes from me comes from them as well."

Gonzaga was well represented in the WCC awards voted on by the conference's nine coaches. Lisa Fortier was named Coach of the Year and three other starters — graduates Brynna Maxwell (wing), Kaylynne Truong (guard) and Kayleigh Truong (guard) — were named to the first team.

Gonzaga's fifth starter, graduate forward Eliza Hollingsworth, was named to the second team.

Ejim, Maxwell and the Truongs were all preseason first-team picks.

Junior forward Maud Huijbens was named sixth woman of the year.

"I didn't see it coming at all. It was a fun surprise," Huijbens said. "... Coming off the bench and getting immersed into the starting five just shows how talented of a team we have. ... I'm very proud to be part of it."

Kaylynne Truong was the WCC's Player of the Year last season.

"I'm happy for our players," Fortier said. "We don't aspire to those things necessarily, it's just a byproduct of playing well as a team. This year we're very deserving of the awards. Vonne was a clear choice for the player of the year. I wasn't sure she'd be the defensive player of the year, but she leads a lot of categories in blocks, steals and defensive rebounds. ... She makes it difficult for anybody she is guarding."

Ejim had her way against WCC teams this season. She averaged 20 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.

She has scored in double figures for 35 straight games dating to last season. She led the WCC in field-goal percentage (62.8), which ranks sixth in the nation. She also has 11 double-doubles this season.

The last time a Zags player won defensive player of the year was in 2012-13.

It's the 12th time a Gonzaga player has been named the WCC Player of the Year and second consecutive season.

Fortier has a conference-best winning percentage (94.1). Her career winning percentage (81.1) is fifth best among action NCAA Division I coaches.

It's the sixth time Fortier has been named coach of the year and second straight year.

The Zags posted their first undefeated conference season (16-0) under Fortier.

Maxwell averages 14.4 points and 2.9 rebounds per game; Kayleigh Truong averages 12.4 points and 4.6 assists; and Kaylynne Truong averages 11.8 points and 5.9 assists.

Maxwell and Kaylynne Truong have been named first team in back-to-back seasons.

Hollingsworth averages 10 points and a second-best 7.1 rebounds per game.

As the first player off the bench for Gonzaga, Huijbens averages 6.7 points. She is the third Zag in the past four years to be named sixth player of the year.