It was no surprise that a search for Kennedy Leonard on Tuesday afternoon ended in the practice gym, where she was alone and working on her shot.

"She's worked as hard as any player maybe that I've ever coached," Colorado women's basketball head coach JR Payne said. "She loves the game of basketball and it shows in her work ethic."

That work helped Leonard earn first-team all-Pac-12 honors on Tuesday. Leonard was one of 15 players who earned first-team honors, as voted on by the conference's 12 head coaches.

"It's exciting," Leonard said. "I didn't expect it. It's a cool feeling. It's fun to see some hard work pay off, but at the same time, it doesn't mean you stop working now."

Leonard finished the regular season fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.1 points per game), second in assists (5.72 per game) and second in steals (2.38 per game).

Leonard joins Chucky Jeffery (2012 and 2013) as the only Buffs to earn first-team All-Pac-12 in the six years that CU has been in the conference.

"She's earned it," Payne said of Leonard's all-conference honor. "I think people recognized that she had to carry a pretty heavy load and she did so very consistently."

Senior Haley Smith and sophomore Alexis Robinson earned all-Pac-12 honorable mention. Smith also received honorable mention for the all-defensive team, making her the CU player to get any kind of all-defense recognition since 2014, when three Buffs received honorable mention.


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Washington senior Kelsey Plum, who became the NCAA's all-time leading scorer on Saturday, was named the Pac-12 player of the year.

Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu was named the freshman of the year; Oregon State's Gabriella Hanson was named defensive player of the year; and the Beavers' Scott Rueck was named coach of the year.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at howellb@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.