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Hottest Players From Hot Hoop Teams Take Weekly Honors
Western Oregon's Andy Avgi and Montana State Billings' Alisha Breen lead their teams to two wins each to stay in first place ties in the GNAC standings.
Western Oregon's Andy Avgi and Montana State Billings' Alisha Breen lead their teams to two wins each to stay in first place ties in the GNAC standings.

Monday, January 25, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – The top players from two of the conference’s hottest basketball teams lead the selections for the GNAC Player of the Week awards.

Western Oregon forward Andy Avgi was named the Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for third time this season. Avgi averaged 27.5 points per game to lead the Wolves to wins over the Alaska schools. In Thursday’s 76-66 win over Alaska Anchorage, Avgi scored a game-high 31 points on 13 of 21 from the field with three assists and four blocks. He then turned around and scored 24 points in Saturday’s 64-59 win over Alaska. He went 5 of 8 from three-point range and 9 of 10 from the free throw line.

Alisha Breen of Montana State Billings was named the Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season as she led the surprising Yellowjackets to a pair of wins to maintain their first place tie with Alaska Anchorage. Breen scored a game-high 21 points on 8 of 18 from the field to lead MSUB past Western Washington on Thursday, 53-47. She added a 22-point performance, which included 8 of 8 from the free throw line, to go alonf with five rebounds in the Yellowjackets’ 67-62 win over Simon Fraser.

A record-setting performance leads the list of indoor track and field honorees. Concordia’s McKenzie Warren was named the Women’s Field Athlete of the Week for the second consecutive week after she again set a GNAC record in the women’s shot put. The sophomore won the event at the Bronco Invitational with a mark of 54 meet, breaking her own record set last week by nearly a foot. The performance is the best in Division II this season and 17th in the nation in all divisions. Warren also placed third in the weight throw. Her mark of 55 feet, 5.5 inches is No. 4 on the GNAC all-time list.

Saint Martin’s picked up two weekly awards. Shannon Porter was selected as the Women’s Track Athlete of the Week after she broke a nine-year-old meet record in the 3,000 meters at the WSU Indoor Open. Porter won the race in a time of 10:10.44, eclipsing the record of 10:15.95 set by Central Washington’s Katie Hummel in 2007. Porter also smashed her own school record in the event by 19 seconds (10:29.64).

Mikel Smith was selected as the Men’s Field Athlete of the Week after he finished second in the high jump at the WSU Indoor Open with a mark of 6 feet, 10.75 inches. The performance is a season best and currently ties him for eighth on the Division II best list. Smith notched a provisional qualifier for the NCAA Championships with his previous season best of 6 feet, 9 inches, at December’s Jackson’s Open.

Northwest Nazarene’s Kyle McLaughlin was named the Men’s Track Athlete of the Week. The junior finished fourth in a Division I laden field in the 60-meter hurdles at the Bronco Invitational. His time of 8.41 seconds was a season best and is fourth best in the GNAC this season.

GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK SELECTIONS – WEEK 21
MEN’S BASKETBALL
Andy Avgi
(Western Oregon, F, 6-6, 260, Sr., Woodburn, Ore. - Woodburn): Avgi averaged 27.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks in two games as the Wolves swept the Alaska schools. He scored a game-high 31 points on 13 of 21 from the field with three assists and four blocks Thursday as WOU handed Alaska Anchorage their first conference loss, 76-66. Avgi then scored 24 points in Saturday’s 64-59 win over Alaska, going 5 of 8 from three-point range and 9 of 10 from the free throw line to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. Also Nominated: Almir Hadzisehovic (Alaska), Michael Harper (Simon Fraser), Emmanuel Johnson (Montana State Billings), Fred Jorg (Saint Martin’s), Ricardo Maxwell (Western Washington), Sekou Wiggs (Alaska Anchorage), Mike Wright (Northwest Nazarene).

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL
Alisha Breen
(Montana State Billings, F, 5-10, Jr., Choteau, Mont. - Choteau): Breen delivered two consistent performances for the Yellowjackets, averaging 21.5 points per game in two wins. Breen scored a game-high 21 points on 8 of 18 from the field on Thursday, leading MSUB past Western Washington 53-47. In Saturday’s 67-62 win over Simon Fraser, Breen scored 22 points to go along with five rebounds and an 8 of 8 performance from the free throw line. Breen has led Montana State Billings to an impressive 9-1 GNAC record, tying them for first in the league standings with No. 1 ranked Alaska Anchorage. Also Nominated: Tia Briggs (Western Washington), Alysha Devine (Alaska Anchorage), Ellie Logan (Northwest Nazarene), Jasmine Parker (Central Washington), Kaillee Skjold (Alaska), Megan Wiedeman (Saint Martin’s).

MEN’S TRACK
Kyle McLaughlin
(Northwest Nazarene, Jr., Kuna, Idaho - Kuna): In a field dominated by Division I competition, McLaughlin finished fourth in the 60-meter hurdles at the Bronco Invitational with a time of 8.41 seconds. It is a season best for the junior and fourth best in the GNAC this season. Also Nominated: Austin Collins (Concordia), Jackson Hand (Saint Martin’s), Landon Polkow (Montana State Billings).

MEN’S FIELD
Mikel Smith
(Saint Martin’s, Sr., Muskogee, Okla. - Muskogee): Smith finished second in the high jump at the WSU Indoor Open with a season-best mark of 6 feet, 10.75 inches. The GNAC leader and record holder in the event enters the week tied for eighth on the Division II best list. Also Nominated: Nels Flanagan (Montana State Billings), Cole Hoberg (Northwest Nazarene), Josh Koch (Concordia).

WOMEN’S TRACK
Shannon Porter
(Saint Martin’s, Sr., Vancouver, Wash. – Treasure Valley CC): Porter broke a nine-year-old meet record at the WSU Indoor Open, winning the 3,000 meters in a time of 10:10.44 and smashed her own Saint Martin’s record in the event by 19 seconds. Porter currently sits sixth on the GNAC top-times list. Also Nominated: Sierra Manzer (Northwest Nazarene), Caitlyn Safley (Concordia), Josey Smiedala (Montana State Billings).

WOMEN’S FIELD
McKenzie Warren
(Concordia, So., Sandy, Ore. – Mt. Hood CC): For the second straight week, Warren broke the GNAC record in the shot put. She won the event at the Bronco Invitational by a foot with a personal best of 54 feet. The mark is second best in Division II this season and is the 17th best collegiate mark this season (all divisions). In addition, Warren placed third in the weight throw. Her personal best of 55 feet, 5.5 inches is No. 4 on the GNAC all-time list. Also Nominated: Emmi Collier (Western Oregon), Rachel Miller (Northwest Nazarene), Kirby Neale (Saint Martin’s), Janessa Williams (Montana State Billings).

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