Feb. 20, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. - Though still a junior, Washington State forward Kate Benz has made quite an impact in the history of the Cougar women's basketball program.
As a sophomore last season, Benz posted the fifth-best rebounding performance in school history en route to becoming the first Cougar to lead the Pacific-10 Conference in that category.
Earlier this season, Benz pulled a career-best 21 rebounds -- just one shy of the school record -- in the Cougars' 74-51 win over Idaho State at the Hawaiian Airlines Rainbow Wahine Classic.
Now, Benz can add another achievement to her growing list of accomplishments.
The junior from Portland, Ore., has been named the U.S. Bank Pac-10 Women's Basketball Player of the Week for Feb. 13-19, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced, Monday, Feb. 20.
The Player of the Week honor is the first for Benz, and the first for Washington State since Jan. 27, 1997 when Jade Hyett earned the award. It is the 10th all-time selection for WSU.
"Kate is a consummate team player," WSU Head Coach Sherri Murrell said. "She is someone who will always sacrifice for the best of the team and has worked extremely hard to help this program win. It is fitting that she receives an award like this."
Benz averaged 15 points, 11 rebounds, one assist, 1.5 blocks and 0.5 steals in two games as the Cougars split their home weekend series with Oregon and Oregon State. For the week, Benz shot 52.1 percent from the field (12-of-23) and 75 percent (6-of-8) from the foul line.
In the 68-53 win over Oregon, Feb. 18, Benz produced game-highs in points (17) and rebounds (12) in leading WSU to its eighth win of the season and its first over Oregon since the 2001 season. She shot 54.5 percent from the floor (6-of-11) and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. In the first half, Benz nearly pulled down as many rebounds (eight) as the entire Ducks team did (10).
"This is a wonderful award for our school to receive, after not having it for so long," Benz said. "This award recognizes the team's accomplishment; we fought hard for the win."
In Thursday's game versus Oregon State, Benz recorded a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Benz's two double-doubles increased her career total to 17 in that category.
In addition, with 22 total rebounds last week, Benz increased her career rebound total to 670, which ranks fifth all-time in school history. Entering the week, Benz needed just five boards to surpass Jeanne Eggart for fifth on the all-time list. She needs just 18 more boards to tie for fourth place on the WSU career charts (Jonni Gray, 1986-89).
Once again, Benz is setting the pace in the Pac-10 in rebounding with a 9.7 average. If the season ended today, Benz's 229 rebounds would place her eighth on the school's single-season rebounding list. Last year, Benz grabbed 254 rebounds, fifth best in school history. The single-season school record is 294 rebounds by Jennifer Grey (1975).
Washington State (8-17 overall, 2-14 Pac-10) will hit the road for the final weekend of regular season conference play, taking on California (Feb. 23) and Stanford (Feb. 25).