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Vérin Named MW Freshman Of The Year

Kelli Thompson led the league in scoring this year at 19.0 ppg in conference games.

March 11, 2013


UNLV forward Réjane Vérin became the second Lady Rebel to be named Mountain West Women's Basketball Freshman of the Year, while senior Kelli Thompson was a first-team selection, as the league office announced its season awards on Monday. Vérin was an honorable mention all-conference selection.

"Réjane just kept getting better and better every game out," said UNLV head coach Kathy Olivier. "She is such a hard worker, extremely coachable and very athletic, everything you need to be a very good basketball player. Kelli meanwhile has been one of the best players in the Mountain West all year long. She's been one of the top scorers for us for the entire season, and has been unbelievable for us the last four years. We're going to miss her."

Vérin, a 6-2 native of Les Abymes, Guadeloupe, joins Jamie Smith (2008-09 season) as MW Freshman of the Year honorees from UNLV, and both players were recruited by head coach Kathy Olivier. She is the third all-time in school history, as Linda Fröhlich was the WAC Freshman of the Year in 1998-99. After coming off the bench in the first five games, she became a starter following the season-ending injury to Alana Cesarz (ACL) and has been on a roll ever since. In the 11 games since, she has posted numbers of 14.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game while shooting 54% from the floor and 72.7% at the line. She has notched five double-doubles in that 11-game stretch, which placed her third in the conference in league play.

Her last four games of the season has resulted in a pair of career-high 26-point games, as well as a 19-rebound performance at Boise State on March 6, which set a new conference freshman record. She was named MW Co-Player of the Week the final two weeks of the season as well (March 4, March 11), becoming the first Lady Rebel to earn conference weekly honors twice as a freshman.

Thompson, a senior guard from Compton, Calif., finished the regular season as the top scorer in the Mountain West with 18.6 points per game, which also ranks 38th in the nation. She recently passed Constance Jinks to move into third place all-time at UNLV in career scoring, and currently stands with 1,833 in her four years. Thompson had her best overall season as a Lady Rebel, ranking 11th in league in both rebounding (6.0 rpg) and assists (2.7 apg), is 13th in steals (1.6 spg), and her 2.1 three-pointers per game is fourth-best among MW players. This is her third career all-conference honor after an honorable mention recognition as a sophomore and earning second team status a year ago. She scored in double-figures in 15 of 16 league games, including seven 20+ point performances. Thompson set a career-high with 33 points in a win over Boise State on Feb. 2 in Las Vegas, and posted 29 points in a win at New Mexico on Feb. 9, which included a pair of game-winning free throws in the final seconds in the one-point win.

San Diego State's Chelsea Hopkins was named the Player of the Year, while Fresno State's Ki-Ki Moore earned the Defensive Player of the Year honor. Boise State's Brandi Henton was the Newcomer of the Year, New Mexico's Antiesha Brown was the Sixth Player of the Year, and Beth Burns from San Diego State was named the Coach of the Year.

The All-MW First Team was made up of Thompson, Hopkins, Moore, Courtney Clements from San Diego State and Chaundra Sewell from Wyoming. On the second team was Lauren Lenhardt (Boise State), Sam Martin (Colorado State), Rosie Moult (Fresno State), Caroline Durbin (New Mexico) and Kayla Woodward (Wyoming). The third team was comprised of Alicia Leipprandt (Air Force), Alex Sheedy (Fresno State), Taylor Thompson (Fresno State), Erimma Amarikwa (San Diego State), Kaitlyn Mileto (Wyoming) and Ashley Sickles (Wyoming). Joining Moore on the All-Defensive Team was Hopkins, Meghan Heimstra (Colorado State), Moult, Gabrielle Clark (San Diego State) and Sewell.

UNLV, the fourth seed in the 2013 Reese's MW Championships, will open against fifth-seeded New Mexico in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 2:30 pm in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.



2012-13 All-Mountain West Honors

First Team
Courtney Clements, San Diego State
Chelsea Hopkins, San Diego State
Kelli Thompson, UNLV
Chaundra Sewell, Wyoming
Ki-Ki Moore, Fresno State

Second Team
Lauren Lenhardt, Boise State
Sam Martin, Colorado State
Caroline Durbin, New Mexico
Rosie Moult, Fresno State
Kayla Woodward, Wyoming

Third Team
Alicia Leipprandt, Air Force
Alex Sheedy, Fresno Stat
Taylor Thompson, Fresno State
Erimma Amarikwa, San Diego State
Kaitlyn Mileto, Wyoming
Ashley Sickles, Wyoming

Honorable Mention
Brandi Henton, Boise State
Caitlin Duffy, Colorado State
Meghan Heimstra, Colorado State
Danika Sharp, Nevada, Reno
Malia Nahinu, San Diego State
Réjane Vérin, UNLV

Ki-Ki Moore, Fresno State
Chelsea Hopkins, San Diego State
Meghan Heimstra, Colorado State
Rosie Moult, Fresno State
Gabrielle Clark, San Diego State
Chaundra Sewell, Wyoming

Player of the Year: Chelsea Hopkins, San Diego State
Defensive Player of the Year: Ki-Ki Moore, Fresno State
Freshman of the Year: Réjane Vérin, UNLV
Newcomer of the Year: Brandi Henton, Boise State
Sixth Player of the Year: Antiesha Brown, New Mexico
Coach of the Year: Beth Burns, San Diego State

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