Three Tigers Named To All-Big West Women's Hoops Teams
Irvine, Calif. – Junior forward Kendall Rodriguez, junior guard Erica McKenzie, and freshman forward Kendall Kenyon earned 2011-12 All-Big West honors, announced by the conference office Monday, Mar. 5. The awards were the first of Rodriguez and Kenyon's careers while it was the second career All-Big West honor for McKenzie.
Rodriguez was a First Team All-Big West selection after leading Pacific in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (7.8). The junior from La Habra recorded six double-doubles on the year, scoring 20 or more points four times and grabbing 10 or more eight times. Additionally, the junior led the way with 18 double-digit scoring efforts. A force on both sides of the court, Rodriguez harassed opposing players into 42 steals while forcing numerous turnovers that do not show up in the box scores. Captaining the team on the court, Rodriguez showed her leadership where it mattered most, at the line as she hit 80.7 percent of her free-throw attempts to pace the team. Against Florida, she scored seven points for the Tigers in the final seconds to seal a three-point win over the SEC foe.
"I thought Kendall truly had a first team season," head coach Lynne Roberts said. "I am very proud of the confidence and leadership she showed this season. She wants the ball at critical times and is not afraid to take the big shots. The honor is extremely well-deserved."
Pacific's sharp-shooter from distance, McKenzie left her mark on every team the Tigers played throughout the season en route to earning honorable mention honors. Leading the Big West from behind the arc, McKenzie posted 2.5 three-pointers made in the regular season while hitting at an impressive 36.3 percent clip. McKenzie finished the regular season with 69 three-pointers made, including hitting seven against Florida (12/9), five against No. 4 UConn (11/15), five against Northridge (1/14) and five in the Tigers' comeback win at Nevada (11/30). Against Nevada, she hit five three-pointers in the second half, including a pair 15 seconds apart that cut an eight-point Wolf Pack lead down to two. For the year, McKenzie was third on the team in scoring at 11.8 points per game while starting all 28 games for the Tigers.
Transitioning from point guard last season to shooting guard this season, McKenzie nearly doubled her points per game average over last season (6.5), while maintaining a point-guard-like vision on the court. She led Pacific with 85 assists (3.0 compared to 3.1 last season) and ranks fourth in the Big West in assist-to-turnover ratio. The post-season award was the second career award for McKenzie as she also earned all-freshman honors in 2009-10.
"Erica had a tremendous season for us," Roberts said. "She is truly a winner and her competitiveness shows through in her willingness to do whatever it takes to win games. She's the epitome of a clutch player and made numerous shots in close games that propelled us to victory."
The lone freshman for the Tigers to earn post-season honors, Kenyon followed in the footsteps of McKenzie and sophomore Gena Johnson before with a selection to the All-Freshman team. Coming up big in her first collegiate season, Kenyon made an immediate impact for the Tigers with her impact felt no bigger than on the glass. Entering the starting lineup midway through the season, Kenyon helped improve the Tigers' rebounding efforts by nearly six rebounds per game. For the year, Kenyon averaged 5.6 rebounds per game while also posting 6.6 points per game in just under 14 minutes per game. As a starter, Kenyon average just under 12 points and nine rebounds. Kenyon earned her first player of the week award on Feb. 12 after turning in career-high scoring efforts in wins over UC Riverside and UC Irvine. She first posted 18 points against UC Riverside with her fifth double-double of the season, tying her career-high tying 11 rebounds. Kenyon set a new career-high with 22 points against UC Irvine.
"I think Kendall's honor is very well deserved," commented Roberts. "She made the most of her opportunity, and I think the sky is the limit for her. We always knew she would have success, but this honor is a great testament to other people seeing her potential."
The Tigers will open their quest for the Big West title with a quarterfinal matchup at UC Davis on Tuesday at 7 p.m.