Lobos' Don Flanagan named top coach

Updated: March 8, 2005, 10:58 PM ET
Associated Press

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Utah juniors Kim Smith and Shona Thorburn were named Mountain West Conference Co-Players of the Year on Monday afternoon.

It was the third straight time Smith was honored as the MWC Player of the Year, but her first time to share the award.

Both Smith and Thorburn were named the the All-Mountain West Conference First Team, which was selected by the league's head coaches and a selected media panel. It was Smith's third consecutive time on the first team, while Thorburn had been a second-teamer each of the past two seasons.

Smith finished as the Mountain West Conference regular-season scoring and rebounding champion. She averaged 17.8 points and 9.1 rebounds through the regular season. She was also ranked in the top 15 in 12 of the 13 MWC statistical categories. Smith tallied 12 double-doubles this season, also a conference-best mark.

Thorburn led the MWC in assists, averaging 6.5 per game. She was ranked in 11 of 13 of the conference's statistical categories. Thorburn was the MWC's top scorer in conference games, tallying 19.4 points per game in MWC games. She was the third-ranked scorer overall, averaging 15.7 points per game. Thorburn scored 20 points or more in seven of 14 conference games. She was in double figures in all but one conference game.

Don Flanagan, who over the past decade has turned the New Mexico women's basketball program into an ongoing success story, was named Coach of the Year.

Flanagan has led the Lobos to four consecutive seasons of 20 wins or more and three straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Lobos, who shared the regular-season title this year with Utah -- both finishing 12-2 in the league -- are 23-7 overall heading into this week's conference tournament in Denver.

New Mexico has had seven 20-win seasons since Flanagan took over the program in 1995. The Lobos finished 14-15 in Flanagan's first year and have not had a losing season since.

Flanagan's career record at New Mexico over 10 seasons stands at 214-93, but this is the first time Flanagan has received the Coach of the Year award, which is based on voting by the league's eight coaches. A complete look at the honorees:

Shona Thorburn, Utah, Jr., 5-11, G
Kim Smith, Utah, Jr., 6-1, F
Ashley Elliott, Wyoming, Sr., 5-7, G
Lindsey Arndt, New Mexico, Sr., 6-1, F
Julie Sullivan, BYU, Sr., 5-8, G

Sheena Moore, UNLV, Jr., 5-7, G
Mandi Moore, New Mexico, Sr., 5-7, G
RanDee Henry, UNLV, Sr., 6-1, F
Melissa Dennett, Colo. State, Jr., 6-2, F
Hanna Zavecz, Wyoming, Fr., 6-0, F

Third Team
Dionne Marsh, New Mexico, Fr., 6-1, F
Lindsay Thomas, Colo. State, Jr., 6-3, C
Danielle Cheesman, BYU, Sr., 6-2, F
Lana Sitterud, Utah, Sr., 5-10, G
Kristen Kozlowski, BYU, 6-2, Sr., F

Honorable Mention
Alecia Steele, Air Force, Fr., 6-0, F
Katie Montgomery, New Mexico, So., 5-10, G
Michelle Strawberry, San Diego St., Jr., 5-10, G
Erin Hicks, Wyoming, Jr., 5-9, G
Michelle Elliott, San Diego St., So., 5-11, G
Sequoia Holmes, UNLV, Fr., 6-1, F
Ambrosia Anderson, BYU, Jr., 6-2, F
Lauren Henderson, Air Force, Fr., 5-5, G

Co-Players of the Year: Kim Smith, Utah, and Shona Thorburn, Utah

Newcomer of the Year: Dionne Marsh, New Mexico

Defensive Player of the Year: Lana Sitterud, Utah

Coach of the Year: Don Flanagan, New Mexico

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press