LONG BEACH – Long Beach State women’s basketball made history as the Beach swept the Specialty Awards category marking the first time in Big West history a school completed that trifecta. The senior trio of Raven Benton, Anna Kim, and Jewelyn Sawyer led LBSU which totaled four players, including senior Madison Montgomery, on the Big West All-Conference Team.
Sawyer repeated as the Defensive Player of the Year, while Benton claimed the Best Sixth Player award, and Kim earned the Best Hustle honor.
A three-year starter for Long Beach State, Benton was utilized as a reserve in her final year after battling injuries throughout her career. The senior guard came off the bench and made the most of it as she averages 11.0 points per game and 4.2 rebounds per game to lead the team. In Big West Conference action, Benton averaged 12.0 points per contest with 4.6 boards per game and 2.1 assists per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field.
During the regular season, Benton recorded 10 double-figure scoring games, including a season-high 23 point performance against UC Santa Barbara last month. She is the third Long Beach State player to earn the Best Sixth Player award, and the first since Jinga Gosschalk following the 2002-03 season.
Kim has been a key component to the Long Beach State program in her four years with the Beach and in her senior season, averaged 10.0 points per game, 3.8 assists per game, 2.9 rebounds per game, and 1.4 steals per game, while shooting 45.7 percent from the field, 40.3 percent from long distance and 74.2 percent from the line. Kim’s gritty, hard-nosed style of play has become her trademark as she is known to give the game her all day-in and day-out.
This season she poured in a career-high 27 points against Loyola Marymount, led the team in assists with 111, dished out five or more helpers on 11 different occasions, and ranks in the Top 10 in Long Beach State history in free throw percentage, three-point field goal percentage, three-pointers made, and games played.
Sawyer earned the Defensive Player of the Year award for the second year in a row after leading the Long Beach State defense with 6.3 rebounds per game and 1.4 steals per game. This season, she has led one of the top defenses in the nation as the Beach rank 17th in the country in turnovers forced per game (20.7) and in the Top 50 in the country in steals per game (9.7).
In her senior season, Sawyer has recorded three double-doubles, notched a career-best 15 rebounds against Pepperdine, and notched at least two steals in six of her last seven games, including a career-high tying five against CSUN in the final week of the regular season.
In addition to taking home the specialty awards, Kim was named to the All-Big West Conference First Team, while Benton earned Second Team honors and Sawyer was an Honorable Mention selection.
Joining Sawyer as an Honorable Mention selection was Montgomery who finished the regular season averaging 10.1 points per game to go along with 4.0 rebounds per game. Thus far, Montgomery has put up 117 blocks to rank in the Top 10 at Long Beach State.
This season, she has tallied 13 double-figure scoring games, and pulled down a season-high 11 rebounds at UC Davis. Additionally, in the final regular season game of her career, she posted a career-high five blocks at Hawaii to bring her season total to 34.
Big West All-Conference Teams
Hannah Gilbert, CP
Channon Fluker, CSUN
Anna Kim, LBSU
Morgan Bertsch, UCD
Pele Gianotti, UCD
Sarah Toeaina, UH
Lynn Leaupepe, CP
Serafina Maulupe, CSUN
Raven Benton, LBSU
Dani Nafekh, UCD
Drew Edelman, UCSB
Eliza Matthews, CSUN
Nina Bessolo, UCD
Brooke Bayman, UCI
Skyler Lewis, UCR
Julissa Tago, UH
Player of the Year: Channon Fluker, CSUN
Freshman of the Year: Eliza Mathews, CSUN
Coach of the Year: Jennifer Gross, UCD
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