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Viks Enter Win Column Early; GNAC Action Resumes
In the Vikings' opening GNAC win on Tuesday, sophomore guard Lexie Bland tallied 15 points and three assists in Western Washington's 74-60 victory over Simon Fraser.
In the Vikings' opening GNAC win on Tuesday, sophomore guard Lexie Bland tallied 15 points and three assists in Western Washington's 74-60 victory over Simon Fraser.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

WEST REGION DOMINANCE: In the latest edition of the Division II Sports Information Directors of America Women’s Basketball Poll, six GNAC teams are ranked within the top-10 while two more receive votes. Alaska Anchorage, Seattle Pacific, Simon Fraser, Montana State Billings, Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon are all ranked, while Western Washington and Concordia received votes.

FOUR TEAMS LEFT UNSCATHED: Entering the fourth week of the Division II basketball season, four GNAC teams have yet to be beaten. Alaska Anchorage, Montana State Billings, Seattle Pacific and Western Oregon all have more than four wins on the season and look to carry its hot form into conference action today. One streak will end this week, however, as the Wolves host SPU this Saturday in Monmouth, Ore.

ABOUT LAST WEEK...: The GNAC was on fire during the Thanksgiving break, going combining for a 14-2 record during the week. Concordia ignited the GNAC’s dominance with a 70-56 win over Humboldt State on Monday before downing Multnomah 83-36 the following day. On Tuesday, the GNAC went a perfect 7-0 and continued to roll with a trio of wins on Wednesday. The only two losses suffered came at the hands of Valdosta State, who downed both Saint Martin’s and Western Washington in the Lynda Goodrich Classic over the weekend. The GNAC closed the weekend out strong as Central Washington and the Vikings earned blowout wins to help themselves back to .500.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC players have been selected to all-tournament teams during the 2017-18 season...

Stanislaus State CCAA/GNAC Challenge (Nov. 10-11, Turlock, Calif.): Raquel Jardine, NNU (Most Valuable Player), Lexi Tubbs, NNU, Bailey Cartwright, CU.

West Region Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 10-11, San Francisco, Calif.): Alisha Breen, MSUB (Most Valuable Player), Vanessa Stavish, MSUB.

Azusa Pacific West Region Crossover Classic (Nov. 17-18, Azusa, Calif.): Jordan McPhee, SPU; Courtney Hollander, SPU, Hannah Stipanovich, WWU.

Seawolf Hoops Classic (Nov.17-18, Anchorage, Alaska): Hannah Wandersee, UAA (Most Valuable Player), Yazmeen Goo, UAA, Ashlie Blackburn, UAF, Rodericka Ware, UAA.

Yellowjacket Classic (Nov. 16-18, Billings, Mont.): Alisha Breen, MSUB (Most Valuable Player), Danielle Hartzog, CU, Bailey Cartwright, CU, Rylee Kane, MSUB, Rachel Koehler, MSUB.

GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 21-23, Anchorage, Alaska): Shelby Cloninger, UAA (Most Valuable Player), Hannah Wandersee, UAA, Yazmeen Goo, UAA.

Lynda Goodrich Classic (Nov. 24-25, Bellingham, Wash.): Hannah Stipanovich, WWU, Gracie Castaneda, WWU, Elin Johansson, SMU.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Shelby Cloninger
Alaska Anchorage
F • 6-0 • Senior • Kamiah, Idaho
Cloninger was named the Most Outstanding Player of the women’s bracket of the final GCI Great Alaska Anchorage, averaging 16 points and seven rebounds in two wins over Division I foes. She led all scorers with 19 points on 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range to go along with seven rebounds in a 69-59 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore. Cloninger finished with 13 points to go with seven rebounds in a 59-53 win over Tulsa to win the tournament title.

Also Nominated: Rylee Kane (Montana State Billings), Elin Johansson (Saint Martin’s), Sophie Swant (Simon Fraser), Savannah Heugly (Western Oregon), Hannah Stipanovich (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• The Nanooks were off last week and enter GNAC action with a 2-2 record.

• In its two most recent contests, Alaska fell short in their opening game of the Seawolves Hoops Classic on Nov. 17, falling to the Western State (Colo.) 49-41 at the Alaska Airlines Center.

• The following day, Alaska earned its second victory of the season with a 73-29 win against Holy Names.

• As a team, the Nanooks shot 26 of 72 from the field for a 36.1 shooting percentage and went 10 of 29 from behind the arc. Additionally, Alaska shot 11 of 14 (78.6 percent) from the free throw line.

• Alaska ranks first in the GNAC and fifth in Division II in scoring defense, allowing just 47.5 points per game. They also rank 11th in the nation in field goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to 31 percent shooting.

• The Nanooks are first in the league in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing just 18 field goals on 80 attempts. They are second in the GNAC with 16 offensive rebounds per game.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter is ninth in the GNAC with 13.5 points per game while junior forward Ashlie Blackburn is tied for second with nine rebounds per game. Blackburn is also fourth with 1.3 blocks per game.

• The Nanooks begin GNAC play at home today as they host Northwest Nazarene at 7 p.m. (AKST).

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Hosting the final edition of the GCI Great Alaska Shootout last week, Alaska Anchorage won its seventh Shootout after defeating two Division I programs. Their wins earned the Seawolves the Red Lion Co-Team of the Week award, sharing the honor with Saint Martin’s men’s basketball.

• Senior forward Shelby Cloninger scored a career-high 19 points to lead host Alaska Anchorage to a 69-59 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore last Tuesday in the first round of the Shootout.

• On Thursday, All-tournament selections Hannah Wandersee and Cloninger combined for 27 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Seawolves to a 59-53 exhibition victory over Tulsa in the championship game.

• Cloninger, Wandersee and sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo were all named to the Shootout’s All-Tournament Team, with Cloninger picking up the Most Outstanding Player honor.

•  Averaging 16 points and seven rebounds in two wins over Division I foes, Cloninger was selected as the GNAC Player of the Week.

• The Seawolves lead the GNAC in scoring offense (82.8), scoring margin (+27.7), blocked shots (28), assists (136), steals (101) and turnover margin (+9.33).

• Wandersee is fifth in the GNAC with 15.5 points per game, boasting a .591 field goal percentage. She has also been perfect from the charity stripe this year, connecting on all 14 attempts.

• Junior guard Kian McNair leads the GNAC and is 11th in Division II with 3.83 steals per game.

• The Seawolves are ranked No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll and No. 2 in both the D2SIDA Media and WBCA Division II rankings.

• Alaska Anchorage begins its conference season at home today against Central Washington and ends the week against Northwest Nazarene.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• The Wildcats bounced back from its 1-3 start with a two-win week in non-conference action during the Thanksgiving festivities.

• Last Tuesday, Central Washington defeated Eastern Oregon 84-70 behind 21 points from senior guard Jasmin Edwards. Edwards added 10 assists to complete the double-double.

• The Wildcats finished with a 51.6 shooting percentage, shooting 16-for-26 from the field in the second half. Senior forward Taylor Baird tallied 17 points, three rebounds, one block and two steals. Junior guard Sadie Mensing finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

• Central Washington earned its second straight win over Pacific Lutheran on Saturday thanks to freshman forward Kassidy Malcolm’s double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) in the Wildcats’ 74-55 victory.

• As a unit, the Wildcats had 11 steals, six blocks and 43 rebounds, 23 of which were offensive. Sophomore forward Kaelie Flores also recorded a double-double, tallying 10 points and 10 rebounds.

• The Wildcats are second in the GNAC with 4.5 blocks per game and 15.8 offensive rebounds per game.

• Edwards ranks third in the GNAC with 5.5 assists per game and is shooting .522 from beyond the arc. Flores is second in the GNAC with 1.5 blocks per game.

• Central Washington opens GNAC play with a visit to Alaska Anchorage today and finishes the week against the Nanooks.

CONCORDIA
• Playing in its second straight home game last week, Concordia sits two games above .500 entering GNAC action.

• The Cavaliers enter GNAC play with a 4-2 record after going 2-0 at home last week defeating Humboldt State 70-58 on Monday and Multnomah 83-36 on Tuesday.

• In their win over Humboldt State, junior forward Erin Higbie and senior guard Danielle Hartzog each recorded 16 points. Junior forward Bailey Cartwright added 12 points and nine rebounds while junior guard Keesha Sarman chipped in 11 points and dished out five assists.

• Concordia held Humboldt State to 29 percent shooting including 14 percent from beyond the arc while forcing 14 turnovers. The Cavs also dished out 14 assists on 22 baskets led by Hartzog with six.

• In last Tuesday’s 83-36 win over Multnomah, Hartzog had 15 points and Cartwright recorded a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

• In the latest D2SIDA Regional rankings released Tuesday, Concordia is among teams receiving votes.

• Cartwright leads the GNAC and is 44th in Division II with 10 rebounds per game. Sarman has been the main ball handler for the Cavs this year, averaging 5.7 assists, good for second in the league. She has also shot well from deep, recording a .583 mark from downtown (7-12).

• Concordia continues its five-game homestand with a pair of conference games today and Saturday. The Cavaliers will host No.13 Seattle Pacific today and Saint Martin’s two days later.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Playing in two games last week, the Yellowjackets came away 1-1. However, their 67-47 loss to Division I Montana State was marked as an exhibition.

• Prior to the Thanksgiving break, MSUB stifled South Dakota Mines 80-64 at Alterowitz Gym.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen netted 12 points in 33 minutes of action, completing her double-double with 12 rebounds.

• Breen has lived up to her GNAC Preseason Player of the Year tag thus far, as she is second in the GNAC with 18.4 points per game and nine rebounds per game.

• Shooting 43.4 percent from the floor, the Yellowjackets have the third-highest field goal percentage in the GNAC. They have also shared the ball pretty well this year, ranking second in the GNAC and 19th in Division II with 19.6 assists per game.

• Senior guard Rylee Kane has had at least six assists in all five games this season and leads the conference with an average of 6.4 assists per game. Kane is second on the team in scoring with 10.8 points per game.

•  Six of the 10 teams ranked in this week’s D2SIDA West Region Poll hail from the GNAC, including the Yellowjackets who checked in at No. 6 for the second straight week.

• MSUB is one of four GNAC teams entering the first weekend of conference play with a perfect record.

•The Yellowjackets (5-0) will host Western Washington today at 7 p.m. and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Winning its only matchup last week, Northwest Nazarene enters the first week of conference play 4-1.

• In their non-conference game against Point Loma last week, five Nighthawks scored in double figures for an 89-82 victory Johnson Sports Center.

• Senior forward Lexi Tubbs had a team-high 19 points along with six rebounds and four assists. Junior guard McKenna Walker added 16 points and seven rebounds while sophomore guard Marina Valles had 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

• Northwest Nazarene is one of six GNAC teams ranked in the top-10 of the D2SIDA West Region Poll. Ranked for the first time this year, the Nighthawks see themselves in ninth.

• The Nighthawks boast the second-highest GNAC scoring offense at 80.2 points per game. Shooting at a high percentage certainly helps that cause, as NNU is first in the GNAC and 26th in Division II with a .455 mark from the floor. Northwest Nazarene is also averaging 10.4 steals per game, good for second in the GNAC.

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine has been on fire to start the season, leading the GNAC shooting .625 from the field. Sophomore guard Avery Albrecht leads the team with a .625 three-point field goal percentage.

• Northwest Nazarene opens GNAC play at Alaska before facing Alaska Anchorage on Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• It was a busy week for the Saints, as they came away with a 2-1 record during the Thanksgiving break.

• Behind senior forward Elin Johansson’s 22 points and 12 rebounds and freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu’s 16 points, the Saints extended their win streak to three games with a 69-59 victory over Biola last week Tuesday.

• Dominating performances from Johansson and Simpson-Patu in Saint Martin’s following game against Academy of Art led to an 82-61 victory at the Lynda Goodrich Classic on Friday.

• Two game-defining runs by the Saints (19-2 and 17-4), along with a career-high for Johansson at 27 points set the tone in the blowout victory.

• In the Saints’ final game of the Lynda Goodrich Classic, a 16-2 second-half run by No. 20 Valdosta State proved to be enough to stifle SMU’s fourth-quarter comeback attempt, as the Saints fell 89-73.

• Johansson finished with a team-high 22 points, along with four rebounds and two blocks. Simpson-Patu added 11 points and a team-high eight rebounds while sophomore guard Makenna Schultz recorded 11 points off the bench.

• Johansson was named to the All-Tournament team after averaging 24.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, 1.5 blocks per game and shooting 59.5 percent from the field.

• Johansson leads the GNAC with 19 points per game. She is also fifth in the league shooting .536 from the floor. Senior guard Hannah Reynolds is ninth in the GNAC with 3.4 assists per game.

• Saint Martin’s will begin conference play today at Western Oregon. The Saints finish out the week at Concordia.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• With five straight non-conference victories, Seattle Pacific has put itself into a solid early-season position among West Region teams.

• Undefeated to begin the season, Seattle Pacific enters the WBCA Division II rankings at No. 13 after breaking into the top-25 last week.

• Although it has two more non-conference games still to play in December, this marks the second straight year Seattle Pacific will head into GNAC play with an undefeated record. The Falcons are coming off a 78-52 rout of Biola last Wednesday.

• Seattle Pacific is 15-1 all-time in GNAC openers and 8-1 on the road. The only time the Falcons have lost a conference opener was 79-74 at Simon Fraser on Dec. 1, 2011.

• Senior guard Lindsay Lee pumped in a career-high 16 points and was one of four players in double figures in SPU’s 78-52 win over Biola.

• All 13 players on the active roster saw action in the home-opener. Of those 13, nine Falcons scored.

• Senior forward Jordan McPhee has been the go-to scorer for the Falcons, averaging 16.6 points per game. Another senior, Courtney Hollander, has solidified her presence in the paint, ranking fifth in the GNAC with 8.6 rebounds per game.

• The Falcons hit the road to begin their 2017-18 GNAC schedule, visiting Concordia today before its afternoon contest at Western Oregon on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• The three ball was the Clan’s best friend last week, as Simon Fraser connected on a GNAC-best 18 shots from beyond the arc to claim an 88-49 win over Academy of Art last week.

• Sophomore guard Tia Tsang was on fire beyond the arc connecting on 6-of-8 threes and scoring 21 points, leading three Clan players with 20 or more points. Tsang also grabbed 7 rebounds.

• Sophomore guard Nicole Vander Helm was 3 of 6 on threes and led all scorers with 23 points. Junior forward Sophie Swant had an incredible game in a starting role, going 3 for 3 beyond the arc for 20 points.

• Simon Fraser is one of six GNAC teams ranked within the top-10 of the D2SIDA West Region Poll. The Clan is ranked No. 5 for the second straight week.

• In their GNAC opener on Tuesday, Simon Fraser fell 74-60 to Western Washington at Carver Gymnasium.

• Leading by one point after three quarters, Western Washington outscored the Clan 25-12 in the fourth quarter to pull away for the victory. The Vikings went 7 of 11 from the field and outrebounded the Clan 13-4 in the period.

• Simon Fraser leads the GNAC and is ranked 16th in Division II shooting .396 from beyond the arc. The Clan has taken care of the ball pretty well this season, boasting a +4.17 turnover margin, which is good for second in the league.

• Sophomore guard Tayler Drynan is fourth in the GNAC with 4.9 assists per game. Swant has been nearly perfect from the charity stripe with a .950 percentage (19-20). Freshman guard Jessica Jones and Drynan are tied for fifth in the GNAC with 14 three-pointers made this season.

• Simon Fraser visits Montana State Billings in another GNAC contest this Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• One of four remaining undefeated GNAC teams, Western Oregon continued its hot start last Tuesday with a 64-62 win over Humboldt State.

• In their back-and-forth affair against Humbolt State last week, the Wolves used balanced scoring to earn their fourth win of the season. Senior guard Shelby Snook led Western Oregon with 15 points, as the Wolves limited HSU to just six bench points.

• Following the 4-0 start, Western Oregon broke into the top-10 in the D2SIDA West Region Media Poll at No. 10.

• The Wolves 4-0 start to the season is the third best in program history since 1976-77 and the best since the program transitioned to Division in 2000.

• Helping the team lead the GNAC with a +10.2 rebounding margin, junior guard Kaylie Boschma leads the team and is ranked fourth in the conference with 8.8 rebounds per game. Boschma has either led or shared for the team lead in rebounds during all four games this season, including a season-best 10 rebounds against Notre Dame de Namur on Nov. 17.

• Through four games, five different Wolves are averaging at least 10 points per game. Snook leads the Wolves with 14 points per game and is followed by senior guard Sydney Azoor at 11.3 points per game.

• Western Oregon boasts the best free throw percentage in the GNAC (.804) and has pulled down the most defensive rebounds (135). Snook is sixth in the league with a .882 free throw percentage.

• The Wolves begin conference play this week as they welcome Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific to Monmouth, Ore.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• After going 1-1 in the Lynda Goodrich Classic last week, Western Washington earned a 74-60 win over Simon Fraser in the league’s opening conference game on Tuesday.

• Last week, the Vikings went 1-1 in the Lynda Goodrich Classic, falling 59-56 loss to No. 20 Valdosta State on Friday. One day later, the Vikings defeated Academy of Art 82-66 after using a dominant third quarter to outscore the Urban Knights 25-7 in the period.

• Western Washington made 14 of 32 three-pointers in the victory over Academy of Art, coming within one three-point field goal make and attempt of tying school records.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich and freshman guard Gracie Castaneda were named to the six-player All-Tournament Team.

• Using a dominant fourth quarter performance, Western Washington had all five starters score in double figures for a 74-60 victory over Simon Fraser Tuesday night at Carver Gym.

• Tuesday night’s win was No. 997 all-time in program history, picking up their third straight GNAC opener. Castaneda has set a career high in points scored during each of the last two games in her freshman season.

• Stipanovich is fourth in the GNAC with 15.7 points per game. She is also sixth in the league shooting .518 from the floor.

• The Vikings face a quick turnaround traveling to Billings, Mont., to take on the undefeated Yellowjackets today.

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