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PROVO — If BYU point guard Cassie Broadhead didn't prove herself to be the best player in the West Coast Conference, she was definitely the most improved.
In her first season as a full-time starter, the junior from Glenville, N.Y., averaged 18.2 points, 4.4 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game in leading the BYU women's basketball team to a 10-10 record, a 13-5 mark in WCC play, and the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament that opens Thursday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Broadhead was voted the West Coast Conference's Player of the Year, as announced Tuesday by the league office. It is the fourth-straight top honor for the BYU women's basketball team, joining Lexi Rydalch (2016), Morgan Bailey (2015), Jennifer Hamson (2014) and Kristen Riley (2012).
"For our team this year, Cassie has been the best," BYU coach Jeff Judkins said. "She's only had one game this year where she wasn't in double digits, and she had nine points; she probably could've had it if I had left her in the game."
Broadhead burst onto the scene in 2016-17 with the departure of Rydalch, who graduated as the WCC's all-time leading scorer. The former five-year varsity starter at Scotia Glenvilla High School scored nearly 15 points per game more than her sophomore season, and tallied double figures in all but one game of WCC play.
She also doubled her rebounding average and had nearly four times the assists per game as a sophomore, when she played primarily shooting guard and backed up starter Kylie Maeda at point guard.
West Coast Conference Postseason Awards
|Player of the Year||Cassie Broadhead||BYU|
|Defensive Player of the Year||Kalani Purcell||BYU|
|Newcomer of the Year||Jackie Johnson||Loyola Marymount|
|Coach of the Year||Lisa Fortier||Gonzaga|
|First team||Jill Barta||Gonzaga|
|First team||Stella Beck||Saint Mary’s|
|First team||Cassie Broadhead||BYU|
|First team||Rachel Howard||San Francisco|
|First team||Jackie Johnson||Loyola Marymount|
|First team||Kiara Kudron||Gonzaga|
|First team||GeAnna Luaulu-Summers||Pacific|
|First team||Lori Parkinson||Santa Clara|
|First team||Kalani Purcell||BYU|
|First team||Yasmine Robinson-Bacote||Pepperdine|
"She's been really consistent, not just offensively but defensively," Judkins said. "She sets the tempo for the team. If she hadn't been hurt against Oklahoma, we would've won that game. She's the key to our team."
Kalani Purcell took home WCC Defensive Player of the Year honors. The senior from Hamilton, New Zealand, posted a league-best 2.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game en route to first-team honors, where she was joined by Broadhead. BYU shooting guard Makenzi Pulsipher was named to the all-WCC second team, and point guard Brenna Chase earned all-WCC freshman team honors.
"Kalani is outstanding," Judkins said. "She started playing better in conference, and I think part of it was she had a long summer being on the (New Zealand) Olympic team. She was just a little bit tired."