Big West Conference awards UCSB’s Johnson, Nesbit

Emilie Johnson

Nicole Nesbit

UC Santa Barbara senior Emilie Johnson became the first Gaucho in nearly a decade to be honored by the Big West in all four of her years as the conference announced its season awards on Monday.

Johnson was picked as a Second Team All-Big West selection, the second time she has been honored as such, while sophomore Nicole Nesbit was chosen as an Honorable Mention selection and tied in voting for the Sixth Player of the Year award.

The senior Johnson, who also garnered All-Freshman honors and was a First Team All-Big West honoree last season, is the first UCSB player since Kristen Mann (2001-05) to be honored by the Big West in all four of her years in Santa Barbara. Mann was a three-time All-Big West First Team selection.

Johnson, who is one of 10 finalists nationwide for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award, which combines competition, classwork and her work in the community, leads the Gauchos in points, assists and steals. It is the third straight season Johnson has led UCSB in those categories. (To vote for Emilie for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS award, visit The Loomis, Calif. native is averaging 9.4 points, 2.9 assists and 1.0 steals per game. She ranks in the top-10 in UCSB school history in assists, three-pointers made and attempted and free throw percentage. She is also just two points shy of 15th all-time in school scoring history.

Nesbit, meanwhile, was honored for the second consecutive season by the Big West. Last season she was an All-Freshman Team choice and this season she wound up as an Honorable Mention. Nesbit is averaging 8.2 points and 2.2 assists per game, both second to Johnson on the Gauchos. She tied with Cal State Northridge’s Violet Alama in Sixth Player of the Year voting as the Northridge, Calif. native has started just three of the Gauchos’ 29 games this season. Nesbit becomes the first Gaucho since Ashlee Brown in 2008 to be honored as the Sixth Player of the Year.

UCSB is seeded sixth in the Big West Tournament and plays the opening round on Tuesday at No. 3 seed UC Irvine. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and the game can be heard live on AM 990 in Santa Barbara and online by clicking here. To purchase tickets, please call 893-UCSB.

Cal Poly’s Kristina Santiago was honored as the conference’s Player of the Year while CSUN’s Jason Flowers was named the Coach of the Year. Tre’Shonti Nottingham from UC Riverside was named the Big West Defensive Player of the Year and Cal Poly’s Jonae Ervin was honored as the Hustle Player of the Year. To see all the Big West teams and honorees, please click here.