Missionaries Jenele Peterson, Kelly Peterson
named to all-northwest conference teams
WALLA WALLA - Whitman College senior Jenele Peterson has earned All-Northwest Conference basketball honors for the fourth time in four seasons, and junior Kelly Peterson has made it 3-for-3 in terms of postseason recognition.
Jenele Peterson, a multi-talented 5-foot-7 point guard, was named Tuesday to the All-NWC First Team for a second straight season. She earned All-NWC Second-Team kudos to cap her sophomore season, after receiving Honorable Mention recognition in her first season.
Kelly Peterson, a 5-foot-8 two-guard, received Honorable Mention for a third straight season.
Jenele Peterson was easily the best floor general in the NWC this season, leading her team in scoring at 13.8 points per game while topping the conference in assists by a wide margin.
With 114 assists in 25 games, she was the only player in the league to have 90 or more assists. She averaged 4.6 assists for the season as a whole and 5.2 in head-to-head competition with other NWC schools.
While running the offense, and many times emerging as its best scoring option, Peterson shot 45 percent from the floor and 77.7 percent from the free throw line. In NWC games only, her scoring numbers (14.5 points per game, 48 field-goal percentage, 80.6 free-throw percentage) were higher across the board.
As the 2012 All-NWC teams, as chosen by conference coaches, were announced on Tuesday, Peterson was also honored with the final NWC Student Athlete of the Week award for women's basketball, as selected by the league's sports information directors.
In her last two regular season games, Peterson averaged 21 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 61.5 percent (16-of26) from the floor. Whitman finished its regular season by winning 14 of its final 16 games with one of the two losses coming in overtime.
"Jenele's ability to pass the ball as part of her strong overall game is one of the primary reasons we won a lot of games down the stretch," Whitman coach Michelle Ferenz said.
"Being voted to the first team for a second straight season is a fitting tribute to what has been a great career for Jenele. She has always been one of the best players in the conference, but she definitely took it to another level this season.
"Jenele is one of the hardest workers I have ever coached. She has been a great leader and set an exemplary example for our younger players. We're going to miss her in a big way next season."
Peterson also earned one of the NWC's weekly awards as a junior, when she averaged 24.5 points in two games, making 17-of-30 shots from the floor (including 5-of-7 3-point attempts) while handing out nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds.
In playing her final regular-season game last week, Peterson became just the seventh player in the history of Whitman women's basketball to surpass 1,200-career points. She also pushed her career assist total past the 340 mark and will finish her career second all-time at Whitman in that statistical category.
Peterson, a fifth-year senior who missed one year due to injury, has been remarkably durable in her four active seasons, starting all 101 Whitman games during that span.
Peterson is a graduate of South High School in Redondo Beach, Calif.
As part of a balanced offense, Kelly Peterson was Whitman's second-leading scorer this season at 8.4 points per game. She also averaged 3.0 rebounds, was second on the team in total 3-point baskets with 25, and was at the point of a defense that made life difficult for opposing offenses.
In NWC games only, Whitman led the conference in defending the 3-point shot and was second in field goal defense overall. Opposing NWC teams shot just 36.6 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from the 3-point stripe.
"Kelly is always willing to do the dirty work; her play is all about heart and hustle," Ferenz said. "She brings great defense every night and really crashes the boards hard considering she is a shooting guard. We can always count on Kelly competing.
"It wonderful to see Kelly again get all-conference recognition. She quietly gets the job done, night in and night out."