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Johnson Named Defensive Player Of The Year, Johnson And Powell All-MW

March 5, 2018

LAS VEGAS ( - UNLV senior guard Brooke Johnson was voted the Mountain West Women's Basketball Defensive Player of the Year, while she and junior center Katie Powell were both named to the MW All-Conference team, the league announced on Monday. In addition, junior guard Nikki Wheatley was Honorable Mention All-Mountain West, giving the conference champion Lady Rebels a league-high three total selections. In addition, both Johnson and Powell were named to the MW All-Defensive Team.

Johnson, a native of Hanford, California, has been one of the top defensive players in the league her entire career, and paced the MW in steals as a sophomore and junior before finishing second this year with 1.8 per game. Her defensive play in the backcourt was key in the Lady Rebels' ranking of second for team field goal defense at 38.7%, while UNLV also ranked second in steals per game at 7.9. Johnson finished fifth in MW games in scoring with 16.6 points per game and posted five 20+ point games, which included 22 on a Senior Night victory that gave UNLV its first MW regular-season championship. One of the top shooters in the league, she finished first in MW play in free throw percentage at 91%, and also ranked sixth in assists (4.3 apg) and eighth in assist/turnover (1.5). This is the second straight year Johnson was named to the All-Defensive squad, the first Lady Rebel to earn the honor twice, while she was also Honorable Mention a season ago. She is the first Lady Rebel to be named MW Defensive Player of the Year since Sequoia Holmes in 2007, and the fourth in the 19-year history of the league.

Powell, a native of Atlanta, Georgia, was one of the most improved players in the MW after doubling her scoring average from a year ago to post 17.2 points per game during the conference schedule, which ranked her fourth. She was also third in the MW in rebounding with 8.5 per contest, and was one of two players to rank in the top four in both categories. Named MW Player of the Week a league-high tying three times during the season, Powell scored in double-figures in 15 straight games and 16 of the 17 she appeared in. Her five double-doubles against league opponents was a team high, while she drew 11 charges to pace the Lady Rebels. Her presence in the post helped UNLV lead the league in rebound margin at +7.7, well over two rebounds higher than the next best team, while Powell paced the MW in defensive rebounds with 6.4 per contest. She ranked among the league leaders in blocks as well with 1.2 per game.

Wheatley, a native of La Verne, California, missed the first four games of the league slate with a foot injury, but came back strong, scoring in double-figures in the next 14 outings to finish 10th in the MW with 14.4 points per game. Another outstanding defender for the Lady Rebels, she was right behind Johnson in steals per game with 1.7 to rank fourth, while also grabbing 5.6 rebounds per contest (19th), despite standing just 5-foot-6. She greatly improved her free throw percentage this season, finishing the MW season ranked 12th at 75.3%, and also stood ninth in assists (3.5 per game) and in assist/turnover ratio (1.5). This marks Wheatley's first MW honor since her selection to the MW All-Freshman team in 2014-15.

The Lady Rebels ended the regular season at 19-10 and finished in a tie for first place in the conference standings with Boise State at 14-4. The 14 victories set a school mark, topping the 12 MW wins from a year ago. UNLV, the second seed in the 2018 MW Championships, opens play in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at 6 pm against the winner of seven-seeded UNR vs. 10th-seeded San Diego State in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

2017-18 All-Mountain West Honors

Player of the Year: Liv Roberts, Wyoming
Defensive Player of the Year: Brooke Johnson, UNLV
Newcomer of the Year: Tesha Buck, New Mexico
Freshman of the Year: Kaelin Immel, Air Force
Sixth Player of the Year: Marta Gomez, Wyoming
Coach of the Year: Joe Legerski, Wyoming

All-Conference Team
Marta Hermida, Boise State
Riley Lupfer, Boise State
Hannah Tvrdy, Colorado State
Candice White, Fresno State
Teige Zeller, Nevada
Cherise Beynon, New Mexico
Jaisa Nunn, New Mexico
Katie Powell, UNLV
Brooke Johnson, UNLV
Liv Roberts, Wyoming

All-Conference Honorable Mention
McKynzie Fort, San Diego State
Myzhanique Ladd, San José State
Nikki Wheatley, UNLV

All-Defensive Team
Hannah Tvrdy, Colorado State
Cherise Beynon, New Mexico
McKynzie Fort, San Diego State
Brooke Johnson, UNLV
Katie Powell, UNLV
Bailee Cotton, Wyoming

All-Freshman Team
Kaelin Immel, Air Force
Emily Conroe, Air Force
Grace Colaivalu, Colorado State
Aly Gamez, Fresno State
Maddi Utti, Fresno State
Naje Murray, San Diego State



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