By: Keller Sherman
Featured Image Courtesy of Southern Utah Athletics
CEDAR CITY, Utah — Both of Southern Utah’s basketball kicked off the WAC era on a high note. The women’s team won an outright regular season title while the men’s team finished 3rd. These efforts did not go unnoticed as the postseason awards from the WAC showed as voted on by the conference head coaches.
Lizzy Willamson is the WAC defensive player of the year as well as the second-team all-WAC and all-defensive team. The newcomer of the year and sixth woman of the year awards went to Tomekia Whitman. Whitman is also on the second-team all-WAC and all-newcomer team. Tracy Sanders is the WAC coach of the year after leading the Thunderbirds to an outright regular season crown in year one in the conference. This is a feat that Sanders could not accomplish in four years of coaching SUU in the Big Sky Conference. With the WAC considered a tougher conference than the Big Sky, this makes the accomplishment all the more impressive. Last, but far from least, Cherita Daugherty was a first-team all-WAC honoree.
The men’s team did not receive as many accolades as the women’s team did, but there was still plenty of recognition. The Thunderbirds racked up big wins at home en route to a 3rd place finish in the conference. Dee Barnes is the sixth man of the year and the only Thunderbird to earn an individual award. Tevian Jones, a leading scorer in many games for SUU is a first-team all-WAC selection. Maizen Fausett, another dynamic scorer is a second-team honoree. Drake Allen rounds out the honors on the men’s side with his entry to the all-newcomer team.
Both teams will open WAC tournament play this week. The 2nd-seeded Lady Thunderbirds tip-off on Wednesday. They will face either New Mexico State or UT-Rio Grande Valley. On the men’s side, SUU is the 3 seed and will face either Stephen F Austin or Utah Tech on Thursday night.