Utah Winter Sports Rake in Post Season Accolades

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Kiffer Creveling

The University of Utah plays against Stanford during an NCAA Basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sammy Mora, Assistant Sports Editor

 

While the season might not have ended the way all the University of Utah winter sports would have hoped, members of the teams are still being recognized by both the conference and national outlets for their achievements this year. 

 

Women’s Basketball

University of Utah freshman guard Brynna Maxwell (11) during an NCAA Basketball game vs. the University of Oregon at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020. (Photo by Jalen Pace | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

After finishing the season with a 14-17 record, the future looks bright for the Utah women’s basketball team. 

Standout Brynna Maxwell was named Pac-12 All-Conference Honorable Mention, and she secured her spot on the Pac-12 All-Freshman team. She is the first player since Utah joined the Pac-12 to make the All-Freshman team. The last freshman to make an All-Freshman team was Michelle Plouffe who made the Mountain West team in 2011. 

Maxwell led the team in multiple categories this season including 3-point percentage — making .472 of her shots. She also led the team in 3-pointers made with 83. She led the team in scoring this season as well, averaging 13 points a game. 

Freshman Lola Pendande also received conference honors. She was named honorable mention on the All-Freshman team from the Pac-12. 

Pendande was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive side of the ball this season. She led the team in blocks with 34 on the season. She also ranked fifth in the conference with that block total. She was also fifth in the conference with 1.21 blocks per game. She led the team from the field making .576 of her shots. She also led the team with 182 rebounds on the season. 

 

Men’s Basketball

University of Utah sophomore forward Timmy Allen (1) during an NCAA Basketball game vs. the USC Trojans at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (Photo by Jalen Pace | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

After a heartbreaking loss in the Pac-12 tournament, the men’s basketball team finished the season with a 16-15 record.

Timmy Allen was the lone member of the team to earn postseason accolades. Allen was named to the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District Team for District VIII. He is the first Runnin’ Ute to be awarded this honor since Kyle Kuzma earned the same title in 2017. 

That wasn’t the lone award for Allen, he was also named to the Second-Team All-Pac-12. He is the first Utah sophomore since Jakob Poeltl to earn this conference award. 

Before the season was cut short, Allen was averaging 17.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game. 

 

Gymnastics

The No. 4 Red Rocks gymnastics team was in the middle of a historic season when it was cut short. But all was not lost — the team was awarded the inaugural regular-season Pac-12 Championship. 

Five gymnasts were named regular season All-Americans by the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association. All five gymnasts were named to the second team. 

Senior Kim Tessen was named an All-American on the vault and the bars. In her last competition at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, Tessen scored a 10 on the vault. Her season-high on the bars was a 9.975. She scored a 9.90 on at least one event each meet during the season. 

University of Utah women’s gymnastics senior Kim Tessen performs on the vault in a dual meet vs. The Stanford Cardinals at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, March 6, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Cristal Isa earned honors on the bars and the beam. Isa scored above a 9.875 on seven out of nine bar routines this season. On the beam, she scored 9.95 three times in a row. 

Freshmen Abby Paulson and Maile O’Keefe were also both named All-Americans on the beam. Paulson took over the anchor spot and became one of the best in the country in the event. When facing UCLA and the meet came down to the final performance, Paulson came up clutch scoring a 10 for the team. 

O’Keefe also was able to put up the big scores for the Red Rocks, posting two scores of 9.975 on the event. She also had six straight scores above 9.90. 

University of Utah women’s gymnastics head coach Tom Farden looks at the crowd before the Vault in a dual meet vs. Oregon State University at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

Rounding out the All-American selections was Sydney Soloski who made the second team on the floor. Soloski scored 9.90 or above on six out of eight floor routines. Of those 9.90s, three of them were 9.950s. 

At the conference level, Tessen was named the Specialist of the Year. Head coach Tom Farden was named the conference’s coach of the year. He led the team to their first undefeated season since 1993 and the second in school history. This is the first time a Red Rocks coach has won the honor since 2015. 

Those were not the only awards the Red Rocks walked away with, eight gymnasts were named to the All-Pac-12 Teams. 

Tessen was named first-team on the vault and bars. Isa was also on first-team for beam and bars. Alexia Burch was named first-team on the vault. O’Keefe and Paulson were named first team on the beam. Soloski was the lone Red Rock to make the floor team.

Earning honorable mention was Adrienne Randall for beam and Missy Reinstadtler for bars. 

 

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