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HELENA — At the University of Montana women's basketball awards banquet last month, junior guard McKenzie Johnston made history when she became the program’s first three-time Theresa Rhoads Award recipient as the player who best exemplifies Lady Griz basketball. The Capital High product also garnered the team’s Julie Deming Outstanding Defensive Player citation.

This past hoops season, Johnston led Montana in scoring, averaging 12.6 points, while joining the school’s coveted “1,000 Points” club. And she has one more year to go.

Johnston posted team-highs of 364 points and 4.1 assists per game, while tying for the UM lead with 35 steals and 63 free throws made. She was No. 2 with a .441 field goal percentage, as well, and at 5-foot-7, she ranked fourth on the squad at 5.2 rebounds per game.

"This award (the Theresa Rhoads) is such a perfect fit for Kenzie," Lady Griz coach Shannon Schweyen said. "She’s an incredible student, and she’s involved in projects and people’s lives in the community. Kenzie’s the type of kid we love to have in our program."

Johnston graduated from Capital High with a 4.0 GPA and 11 varsity letters. She collected five all-state selections (two each in basketball and softball, one in volleyball), and seven all-conference citations, while establishing at least eight CHS records (four hoops, four softball and leading the Bruins to the state hoops championship her senior year.

During the 2015 state tourney, Johnston averaged 14.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5 assists and 4.3 steals, and was selected the Class AA tournament MVP.

At Montana as a redshirt freshman in 2016-17, she led the team with 3.0 assists per game and 33 steals, and was No. 2 in scoring and rebounding, at 8.3 ppg and 5.0 rpg. Johnston garnered one Big Sky Conference Player of the Week honor, and was named the Lady Griz’s Mary Louise Pope Zimmerman MVP.

Her sophomore year, she paced the club in scoring (12.5 ppg), assists (5 apg) and steals (41), and was No. 2 in rebounds (5.5 rpg). She was selected for both the 2018 honorable mention all-Big Sky, and the Lady Griz Classic All-Tournament Team.

Johnston will enter her senior season sporting career game-highs of 28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and six steals. She has amassed 1,001 lifetime points, which includes 54 contests in double figures.

The daughter of Helena’s Mark and Sheri Johnston, McKenzie graduated this spring with a degree in Health and Human Performance. She will continue pursuing her master's degree in exercise management next fall at UM.

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Curt Synness can be reached at 594-2878 or by email at curt52synness@gmail.com. He’s also on Twitter @curtsynness_IR.

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