Washington named 2017 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year
LAWRENCE, Kan. – After leaving her mark in the league this season, redshirt junior guard Jessica Washington became the first Kansas Jayhawk to be named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, as announced by the conference Wednesday afternoon.
Not only is Washington the first KU player to garner newcomer of the year recognition, but she is the first Jayhawk to win one of the top conference honors since 1997 when Tamecka Dixon was named the Big 12 Player of the Year.
“Obviously, I am really proud of her,” said head coach Brandon Schneider. “Any time that you have an individual accomplish something there’s also a team component. Jess is one of those rare players who can score the ball in so many ways and it’s impressive to see her numbers go up throughout Big 12 play, which rarely happens.”
This season, Washington led all scorers in 11 of her 18 conference outings. The Tulsa, Oklahoma native recorded a total of 22 double-digit scoring efforts, including 11 for 20 or more points and two for 30 or more. Washington ranked third in scoring with 17.0 points per game, but elevated her game during league play to lead the conference in scoring with 19.3 points per game.
“I think that it’s her mentality that really makes her who she is in terms of always being in attack mode,” Schneider added. “She doesn’t take plays off and she’s very aggressive in how she plays the game. She never let our lack of team success deter her from competing every possession.”
During the second meeting of the 2016-17 with Iowa State (2/21), Washington netted a career-high 36 points against the Cyclones behind a 12-for-19 (.613) effort from the field. Her previous personal best was 31 points, which she scored at Kansas State (1/11) after connecting on 71.4 percent (10-for-14) of her attempts from the floor. Washington also sank seven of her 10 attempts from long range in Manhattan, the second-most triples made in a game in Kansas women’s basketball history. In all, she has connected on 40 percent or higher from the field on 11 occasions this year.
In addition to her Big 12 Newcomer of the Year accolade, Washington was also named to the 2017 All-Big 12 Second Team. The guard is the first Jayhawk to earn all-conference honors since 2015 when four KU players were selected.
Kansas heads to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. KU’s first-round matchup against Oklahoma State will air on FCS and the Jayhawk Radio Network on Friday, March 3, inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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