Skyline Sports All-Big Sky Conference awards
Most Valuable Player — Peyton Ferris, Montana State, senior — The former Montana Gatorade Player of the Year finished her stellar career with a crescendo. She led the league in scoring overall (17.9 points per game) and in conference play (18.8) while chipping in 7.6 rebounds and shooting 50.4 percent as the Bobcats repeated as league champions for the first time since 2002 and 2003.
Coach of the Year — Tricia Binford, Montana State — Binford led the Bobcats to 20 wins for the first time in her 11th season last season. In her 12th season, despite losing the Big Sky MVP in Jasmine Hommes and program stalwarts like point guard Lindsay Stockton and Alexa Dawkins, Binford’s Bobcats were even better. MSU enters the Big Sky Tournament at 22-6, tying the school record for wins in a season with at least two games to play (MSU will earn an at-large bid to the WNIT if it doesn’t advance to the NCAA Tournament). The Bobcats won 15 league games, also a school record. MSU posted its first undefeated season at home, winning all 13 contests at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse to push its home winning streak to 25 games, another school record.
Defensive Player of the Year — Riley Nordgaard, Montana State, senior — The catalyst for the Bobcats averaged 8.1 rebounds per game during conference play, fifth in the league, despite her 5-foot-10 height and the frame of a wing. Her contributions on the glass have been key for MSU as the Bobcats rank second in the league to Idaho State in rebounding margin (+4.6) and second in defensive rebounding percentage (.713). Nordgaard sets the tone for MSU’s team defensive concepts and makes plays individually as well; she averaged 1.9 steals per Big Sky contest, fourth in the league.
Reserve of the Year — Taylor Pierce, Idaho, sophomore — Pierce has come off the bench the last 11 games for the Vandals as Idaho enters the Big Sky Tournament having won seven of 10. Pierce averaged 13.3 points per game in league play and her 2.7 3-pointers per game ranked third in the Big Sky.
Freshman of the Year — Estafania Ors, Idaho State — The true freshman from Altura, Spain is one of the league’s best shooters already and was a top candidate for Top Reserve as well. Ors scored in double figures eight times in Big Sky play, with a high of 22 at North Dakota. She is averaging 9.6 points per game and is shooting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc, including 44.7 percent from deep in league play, second in the league.
Newcomer of the Year — Ashley Bolston, Portland State, sophomore — The 6-foot-2 guard sat out last season after transferring from Washington State. This season, she has been a key factor in PSU’s resurgence. Bolston scored 24 points in PSU’s win over North Dakota Friday night to deny the Fighting Hawks their first outright league title. Bolston averaged 17.3 points per game in conference play, third in the league, and her 4.6 assists per game are second in the league. Her 156 free throw attempts lead the league and she is shooting 84.6 percent from the stripe, third in the Big Sky.
FIRST TEAM ALL-BIG SKY
Peyton Ferris, Montana State, senior
Makailah Dyer, North Dakota, senior
Savannah Smith, Northern Colorado, sophomore
Delaney Hodgins, Eastern Washington, junior
Riley Nordgaard, Montana State, senior
SECOND TEAM ALL-BIG SKY
Lexi Klabo, North Dakota, sophomore
Hannah Caudill, Montana State, junior
Ashley Bolston, Portland State, sophomore
Mikayla Ferenz, Idaho, sophomore
Savannah Scott, Northern Colorado, junior
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-BIG SKY
Tisha Phillips, Eastern Washington, senior
Courtney Smith, Northern Colorado, sophomore
Sidney Rielly, Portland State, sophomore
Fallyn Freije, North Dakota, sophomore
Maranne Johnson, Sac State, senior
Freya Newton, Idaho State, senior
Geraldine McCorkell, Idaho, junior
Photos by Brooks Nuanez. All Rights Reserved.