The Pac-12 postseason awards were certainly interesting. The coaches’ choices were especially interesting, but there are questions about the entire process this season. Arizona featured in some of those decisions.
Senior forward Cate Reese was the sole member of the Arizona Wildcats to be named to the All-Pac-12 team by the coaches. They selected Sam Thomas honorable mention.
The media selected both Reese and Thomas to its All-Pac-12 team.
Both the media and the coaches selected Thomas to the All-Defensive team. The coaches gave Helena Pueyo the honorable mention nod.
Thomas joined Washington State’s Bella Murekatete as the only players in the top 20 in blocks who also averaged at least 1.5 steals per game. Still, neither Thomas nor Murekatete were honored as conference Defensive Player of the Year. Murekatete didn’t even make either All-Defensive team.
“(Thomas is) one of the most underrated defensive players in the country, and I’m gonna keep on saying that until someone listens,” Arizona head coach Adia Barnes said several weeks ago. “She continues to lock down her opponents. She continues to play good basketball, continues to show up when we need her.”
DPOY went to Stanford’s Cameron Brink on the basis of 2.4 blocks and league-leading 8.2 rebounds per game. Brink ranks third in the league in blocks, but she also accounts for high foul totals on the way to those numbers. That did not faze the coaches or the media voters.
Brink also won Player of the Year from the media. The coaches went with her teammate, Haley Jones.
Most improved player for the coaches was USC’s Jordyn Jenkins. Jenkins tied with Murekatete in the media vote. Shaina Pellington was among those nominated by the conference for the award.
The controversy came in the form of the Freshman of the Year selection. The media chose California’s Jayda Curry, who led the conference in scoring, a rare feat by a freshman. She is 40th in the country in scoring which ranks second among all Division I freshmen. She is also in the top 87th percentile in assists. The coaches did not include Curry on the All-Pac-12 team and chose Utah’s Gianna Kneepkens as FOTY. It was the first time the conference's leading scorer was not selected All-Pac-12 by the coaches.