Austin Rustand | Posted: 1 Mar 2023 | Updated: 20 Jul 2023

Gustin earns WCC Defensive Player of the Year, All-WCC Honors for three Cougars

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Lauren Gustin, Nani Falatea and Amanda Barcello all received All-WCC honors, the West Coast Conference announced Wednesday.

SAN MATEO, Calif. — BYU junior forward Lauren Gustin was named the West Coast Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday. Gustin was also named an All-WCC First-Team selection along with sophomore guard Nani Falatea. Redshirt freshman Amanda Barcello was named to the WCC All-Freshman Team. 

Gustin currently leads the country in rebounds per game (16.5), total rebounds (478) and defensive rebounds (11.6). The 6-foot-1 forward from Salem, Utah also ranks second in double-doubles with 25 in 29 games, is third in minutes per game (38.3) and fourth in offensive rebounds per game (6.5). Gustin led the Cougars in four statistical categories during conference play with 38.8 minutes per game while averaging a double-double with 16.6 points, and 17.7 rebounds, while shooting 50.6 percent from the field.

“Lauren is an amazing player and an even better person," said BYU head coach Amber Whiting. "She gives everything she has each time she steps on the court and has a motor that won’t quit. She is a great example of what happens when you work hard."

With 478 rebounds and counting, Gustin passed two-time All-American and 1980 National Player of the Year Tina Gunn Robison for the BYU single-season rebounding record (463) while also tying the Marriott Center record for rebounds in a game (24) two times.

Gustin shared the league's best defender honor with San Diego's Ayanna Khalfani.

Falatea leads the Cougars in assists (4.6) and three-pointers per game (1.9) while trailing only Gustin in points per game (14.8), made field goals (162), field goal percentage (39.1%) and minutes per game (34.9).

"Nani [Falatea] is such a smooth, skilled player," said Whiting. "She is a talented playmaker that contributes to our team in many ways, including her ability to score and the way she can create for her teammates."

The Salt Lake City native scored a career-high 27 points at Pacific on Jan. 28, 2023, where she went 9-for-19 overall and 6-for-12 from three-point land while also recording five steals, two assists and two rebounds. Falatea has finished in double-figures 24 times in 29 games and has five 20-point games this season.  

Barcello, a redshirt freshman, was named to the WCC All-Freshman team after averaging 2.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19.5 minutes per game. She also recorded 25 assists, 16 steals and 13 blocks on the season. The product of Chandler, Arizona, scored a career-high 12 points against Oklahoma on Nov. 15, 2023, and was a constant defensive presence for the Cougars. Whiting characterized Barcello as a "high-energy, defensive player that gives us a spark off the bench."

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