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Hard work helps San Francisco's Mel Khlok become most efficient guard in the WCC

San Francisco Dons senior guard Mel Khlok has won the WCC's Player of the Month award for December after averaging 19.1 points and helping her team to a 4-3 record in December.

Although San Francisco Dons guard Mel Khlok has repeatedly talked about the importance of team whenever her individual performances are mentioned, her efforts in helping her team to one of the better starts in recent program history earned her WCC Player of the Month recognition.

Khlok is currently third in the WCC in scoring, averaging 15.9 points per game, to go along with 3.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game. It's an impressive leap for a player who showed flashes of great scoring ability last season, but averaged only half as many points (8 ppg).

"I think you're truly successful when the majority of your best players are your hardest workers, and I think Mel has learned how to work hard," Dons coach Jennifer Azzi said about Khlok regarding the conference award. "For our younger players to see that our hard work pays off, the time in the gym shooting. We always talk about extra work and getting extra shots up, that's something that she's done over the last couple of years and I think it's really paid off.

"She cares about the younger players. She cares about the program. She's been one of our best recruiters. She kind of gets the bigger picture of everything that's going on too, so it's good for us."

But more impressive than the fact of her scoring is that she has been quite efficient in doing so: although her field goal percentage is just 43.6%, her 37% 3-point shooting and ability to get to the free throw line has boosted her true shooting percentage to an outstanding 59.4%, which makes her the most efficient scorer of any guard in the WCC. That she has been able to increase her efficiency while steadily increasing how her offensive responsibility, including a dramatic increase in her 3-point shooting ability from 26.4% last season to 37% this season, is a testament to that hard work Azzi highlighted in her remarks.

The Dons are 7-8 on the season and are in Malibu to take on the Pepperdine Waves tonight at 7 p.m. USF returns home to face Portland on Saturday at 2 p.m.