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Women's Hoops Continues With GNAC Postseason Looming
SPU's Rachel Shim was named the GNAC Player of the Week for her role in the Falcons’ 66-48 win over UAA last week. Shim led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8 of 13 from the field.
SPU's Rachel Shim was named the GNAC Player of the Week for her role in the Falcons’ 66-48 win over UAA last week. Shim led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8 of 13 from the field.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

FALCONS CONTINUING TO FLY HIGH: Highlighted by its first victory over Alaska Anchorage in seven years, a two-win week for Seattle Pacific gave the Falcons much to cheer about as the first half of GNAC action came to a close. Adding to the pair of wins over the Alaska schools inside Brougham Pavilion, Seattle Pacific was selected as the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

Not only did Seattle Pacific hand Alaska Anchorage its first conference loss of the season, it snapped the Seawolves’ 33-game GNAC win streak and handed Alaska Anchorage its first conference road defeat in 23 games.

Prior to their 66-48 win against the Seawolves on Saturday, the Falcons took care of Alaska, 86-54, on Thursday. Seattle Pacific (15-3, 9-2) is in second place in the GNAC and has won its last six games.

Senior guard Rachel Shim led Seattle Pacific with 12.5 points per game in the two contests. Senior forward Courtney Hollander had a solid all-around week as well, averaging 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds over the two games. Seattle Pacific’s bench played a key role in both games as it outscored its opponents by a combined 41 points (58-17).

Not only did the Falcons stifle UAA on defense, but they dominated the glass, outrebounding Alaska Anchorage 46-30 for 12 second-chance points. The Falcons also shot well from deep, converting 9 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc while the Seawolves shot just 29.2 percent. Saturday’s win gave Seattle Pacific its first win over Alaska Anchorage since a 67-62 victory on Feb. 2, 2012.

GNAC REPRESENTED WELL IN D2SIDA WEST REGION POLL: In the latest D2SIDA West Region Media Rankings, five GNAC teams have positioned themselves in the weekly poll. Despite the loss on Saturday, Alaska Anchorage remains at No. 1 for the 10th consecutive week while Seattle Pacific improves two spots to No. 2. Northwest Nazarene, Montana State Billings and Concordia sit in the six, seven and 10 spots.

GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS TICKETS ON SALE: Tickets are on sale for the 2018 GNAC Basketball Championships, which take place Mar. 1-3 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Tournament passes for all three days are available for $30 for adults, $18 for students, seniors and youth, while single-game tickets are available for $15 for adults, $9 for students, seniors and youth. Tickets can be purchased online at gnachooptickets.com.

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.

Viking Holiday Hoops Classic (Dec. 18-19, Bellingham, Wash.): Anna Schwecke, WWU, Hannah Stipanovich, WWU, Sophie Swant, SFU.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Rachel Shim, Seattle Pacific
G • 5-7 • Senior • Sammamish, Wash.

Shim posted a pair of career highs in scoring and rebounding to lead the Falcons to a 66-48 upset of Alaska Anchorage on Saturday. She led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range to go along with a career-high eight rebounds. The performance helped the Falcons hand the Seawolves their first GNAC loss of the season and ended UAA’s 33-game GNAC win streak.

Also Nominated: Danielle Hartzog (Concordia), Rylee Kane (Montana State Billings), Danielle Jardine (Northwest Nazarene), Saniah Simpson-Patu (Saint Martin’s), Sydney Azorr (Western Oregon), Hannah Stipanovich (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska continues to search for its first conference win of the season after dropping an 86-54 decision to Seattle Pacific on Thursday before falling to Saint Martin’s, 66-61, on Saturday.

• Junior guard Emily Evans led the Nanooks in scoring with 16 points per game over the two games while sophomore guard Kylie Wallace averaged 14.5 points during the weekend.

• Both Evans and Wallace supplied 16 points against the Falcons. It was the bench battle that proved to be Alaska’s undoing, as Seattle Pacific outscored UAF 39-9 in points off the bench.

• Saturday’s contest was a different story. Tied at 53 with 3:22 remaining, Alaska was unable to match baskets with the Saints, who knocked down five of its last six free throws to seal the game.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter continues to lead the team in scoring with 13.3 points per game. Junior forward Ashlie Blackburn is ninth in the GNAC with 6.7 rebounds per game while knocking down 46.1 percent of her shots.

• The Nanooks continue to get things done on the defensive boards with 27.4 per game, ranking third in the GNAC. They are seventh in the GNAC in scoring defense, allowing 67.1 points per game.

• Alaska returns home to start the second half of its GNAC schedule, taking on Simon Fraser on Thursday before facing Western Washington on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• After defeating Saint Martin’s 76-57 on Thursday, Alaska Anchorage suffered its first conference defeat to Seattle Pacific, 66-48 on Saturday.

• The loss snapped the Seawolves’ 33-game GNAC win streak and handed them their first road defeat in 23 games.

• Junior forward Hannah Wandersee led Alaska Anchorage with 14 points and 8.5 rebounds per game over the two contests. Sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo averaged five steals while junior guard Kian McNair collected three steals per game over the weekend.

• Wandersee (16 points) was one of three starters to score in double figures against the Saints. Senior guard Kaitlyn Hurley and Goo each collected 15 points. The Seawolves forced 28 turnovers for 33 points. Wandersee is seventh in the GNAC with 13.9 points per game and leads the league with 1.4 blocks per game.

• It was an uncharacteristic game for the Seawolves on Saturday, who shot just 26.4 percent (14-53) from the floor and 7 of 24 from the three-point line. Senior forward Shelby Cloninger led the team with 13 points on 4 of 10 shooting. She leads the team with 14.1 points per game. Despite forcing 22 turnovers, Alaska Anchorage only managed 19 points off those takeaways.

• The Seawolves have the top-three steal leaders in the GNAC. McNair leads the league and is 23rd in Division II with 2.8 steals per game while Goo has 2.7 and senior guard Rodericka Ware averages 2.3 steals per game.

• Alaska Anchorage leads the GNAC in assists (19.8), steals (14.2), turnover margin (+7.17), assist/turnover ratio (1.2) and scoring margin (+16.6).

• The Seawolves remain No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll and are No. 9 and No. 8 in the WBCA Division II and D2SIDA National Rankings.

• Alaska Anchorage kicks off the second half of GNAC play with a pair of home games against Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington came away with two home wins to end the first half of GNAC play. On Thursday, the Wildcats defeated Simon Fraser, 77-71, before earning a 77-73 win against Western Washington on Saturday.

• Senior forward Taylor Baird averaged 14 points during the two games while junior guard Sadie Mensing tallied 27 points on 10 of 19 shooting. Mensing and senior guard Jasmin Edwards are tied for 12th in the GNAC with 13.1 points per game. Baird is eighth in the league with 6.8 rebounds per game.

• The Wildcats took advantage of a short-handed Simon Fraser team that finished the game with six active players. Central Washington enforced its presence in the paint, outscoring the Clan 42-28 down low.

• The team’s three leading scorers combined for 49 points in CWU’s win over Western Washington. Mensing posted 18 points on 6 of 12 shooting while Baird supplied 17 points and eight rebounds. Along with six assists, Edwards managed 14 points in 38 minutes.

• The three-point line was where the game was won. Despite Western Washington converting two more field goals than the Wildcats, Central Washington nailed four more three-point field goals.The Wildcats also got to the free throw line 10 more times than WWU.

• Central Washington is averaging 71.4 points per game and leads the GNAC with 3.8 blocked shots per game. Sophomore forward Kaelie Flores is second in the GNAC with 1.4 blocked shots per game.

• Entering the second half of GNAC action, Central Washington heads down the I-5 corridor to take on Concordia on Thursday before visiting Western Oregon on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• After a hot start to conference play, Concordia has lost its last three contests. The Cavaliers fell to Western Oregon last Tuesday, 68-51, and to Montana State Billings on Saturday, 69-61.

• Junior forward Bailey Cartwright continues to be a scoring and rebounding machine as she averaged 13 points and nine rebounds over the two contests. She recorded her 11th double-double of the season against the Yellowjackets with 14 points and 10 rebounds. She is 11th in the GNAC with 13.2 points per game and is 19th in Division II with 10.4 rebounds per game.

• Senior guard Danielle Hartzog led the Cavs in scoring with 18.5 points against the two teams. She rebounded from a 4 of 17 shooting night against the Wolves for a game-high 25 points against the Yellowjackets while going 7 for 8 from the free throw line. She remains second in the GNAC with 16.4 points per game and is second on the team with 2.4 assists per game.

• Junior guard Keesha Sarman continues to display her exquisite passing ability after averaging 4.5 assists over the two contests, six of which came against Western Oregon. Sarman leads the league and is 20th in Division II with 5.6 assists per game.

• Against the Wolves, Concordia was limited to just 2 of 14 from beyond the arc and was outscored by 14 points in the paint.

• In the latest D2SIDA West Region rankings, Concordia is among five GNAC teams ranked within the top-10 at No. 10.

• Concordia is averaging 69.8 points per game and has limited opponents to a GNAC-best 36.7 percent from the field.

• The Cavaliers continue its three-game homestand this Thursday when they take on Central Washington. They finish the weekend looking to snap Northwest Nazarene’s three-game win streak on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings extended its win streak to three games following a 65-56 win over Western Oregon on Thursday and a 69-61 win against Concordia on Saturday.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen led the Yellowjackets in scoring and rebounding with 18 points and 10.5 rebounds per game over the two contests. She recorded 19 points and went 8 for 10 from the free throw line against the Wolves before recording her ninth double-double this season at Concordia. Breen continues to lead the GNAC and is 16th in Division II with 20.2 points per game.

• Senior guard Rylee Kane provided solid minutes as the main ball handler, averaging 15.5 points while pulling down 5.5 rebounds per game. She pumped in 16 points on 7 of 16 shooting against the Wolves with seven rebounds. Kane was even more efficient on Saturday, connecting on 60 percent of her shots for 15 points. Second on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game, Kane is second in the GNAC and 38th in Division II with 5.1 assists per game. She is also among the GNAC steals leaders, averaging 2.1 takeaways.

• Montana State Billings make trips to the free throw line a common theme in both games, as it attempted a combined 49 free throws during the two contests.

• Taking care of the ball and finding the open player have been two aspects that MSUB has excelled at this season. The Yellowjackets are third in the league with 15.1 assists per game and have a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio.

• Montana State Billings is among five GNAC teams included in this week’s D2SIDA West Region Poll at No. 7. The ‘Jackets have scored 70.4 points per game this season while allowing 66.2 points per game.

• The Yellowjackets return home to take on Washington foes Saint Martin’s on Thursday before facing Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene extended its win streak to three games as well, earning an 82-62 win over Western Washington on Thursday and an 88-65 victory against Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Senior guard Lexi Tubbs had a career night against the Vikings, scoring 27 points on 8 of 13 from the field. The senior totaled 31 points over the two games and led NNU with five rebounds per game over the two contests. Tubbs improved to 10th in the GNAC with 13.3 points per game and is sixth in three-point percentage (.410).

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine had a decent week for the Nighthawks, averaging 14 points per game while pulling down 3.5 rebounds. She recorded 16 points in 17 minutes off the bench and went a perfect 4 for 4 from the charity stripe. She leads the GNAC shooting 57.6 percent from the floor.

• Flying under the radar, junior guard McKenna Walker compiled 23 points last week, 16 of which came against the Clan. Like Jardine, she has been shooting the ball at an efficient rate, ranking fourth in the GNAC with a .496 field goal percentage.

• Northwest Nazarene shot better than 48 percent in both games and forced 47 turnovers.

• The Nighthawks boast the highest scoring offense in the GNAC with 79.7 points per game. A big factor to Northwest Nazarene’s offensive output has been its league-leading .448 field goal percentage.

• Ranked No. 6, Northwest Nazarene is one of five GNAC teams ranked in the top-10 of the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

• The Nighthawks visit the Beaver State when they face Western Oregon on Thursday before ending the weekend at Concordia.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s earned a split last weekend, taking a 69-58 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before snapping its eight-game losing skid to Alaska on Saturday, 66-61.

• Freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu led the Saints with 15.5 points per game and averaged 5.5 rebounds last weekend. She came up big against the Nanooks, recording a game-high 24 points and seven rebounds.

• Playing just six minutes against Alaska, the Saints’ leading scorer, senior forward Elin Johansson, managed just two points before exiting the contest with an injury. She remains third in the GNAC with 14.9 points per game and is shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.

• Saint Martin’s received positive minutes from sophomore guard Makenna Shultz and senior guard Hannah Reynolds on Saturday. Both players figured in double-digit scoring with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Eight of Reynolds’ 10 points came from the free throw line.

• The Saints dropped a tough game Tuesday night, falling 94-76 to Seattle Pacific in Lacey, Wash. Schultz exploded for 33 points on 9 of 12 shooting off the bench and connected on all but one of her 10 free throws. Six of her field goals came from beyond the arc.

• Saint Martin’s is averaging 64.4 points per game and is limiting opponents to 28.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Saints also rank sixth in the GNAC with 26.1 defensive rebounds per contest. Johansson is eighth in the GNAC with 0.8 blocks per game.

• Saint Martin’s ends the week in Billings on Thursday to take on Montana State Billings.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific impressed with a weekend sweep, beating Alaska 86-54 before handing Alaska Anchorage its first conference loss of the season on Saturday, 66-48.

• Senior guard Rachel Shim was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for her role in the Falcons’ win over UAA. Shim led all scorers with a career-high 23 points on 8 of 13 from the field and 5 of 6 from three-point range to go along with a career-high eight rebounds.

• Senior forward Courtney Hollander collected 11.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game last week, improving to fifth in the GNAC with 7.5 rebounds per game. She pulled down eight boards against the Seawolves and went 5 of 8 from the field.

• The Falcons leading scorer, junior forward Jordan McPhee, tallied 22 points and eight rebounds. She continues to lead SPU with 14.7 points per game and is third in the league with 2.3 steals per game.

• The Falcons were named the GNAC Team of the Week after snapping the Seawolves’ 33-game GNAC win streak and handing them their first conference road loss in 23 games.

• On Tuesday, the Falcons improved their win streak to six games after defeating Saint Martin’s 94-76. Junior guard Riley Evans led SPU with a team-high 20 points.

• Seattle Pacific has dominated the defensive glass this season and leads the GNAC with 28.2 per game. The Falcons lead the GNAC allowing just 60.2 points per game while scoring 73.5 points per contest.

• Seattle Pacific is among five GNAC teams included in this week’s D2SIDA West Region Poll, improving two spots to No. 2. The Falcons are also No. 19 in the D2SIDA National Media Poll and received votes in the WBCA Division II Rankings.

• The Falcons finish the week at Montana State Billings on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Shorthanded for most of the week, Simon Fraser took two losses to end the first half of GNAC play. The Clan fell 77-71 at Central Washington on Thursday before losing to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, 88-65.

• Sophomore guard Nicole VanderHelm managed nine points at CWU before exiting in the second quarter with an injury. Finishing the game with six players, Simon Fraser saw its 30-point fourth-quarter comeback fall short.

• Junior forward Sophie Swant averaged 16.5 points over the two games, scoring 19 against the Wildcats. She converted all 10 free throw attempts to improve to No. 1 in the GNAC with a .917 free throw percentage. Swant leads the team and is eighth in the GNAC with 13.6 points per game.

• Sophomore guard Tia Tsang played in all but five minutes last week. She averaged 14 points per game and tallied a game-high 19 points against the Nighthawks. Tsang combined for five three-pointers on 13 attempts and ranks 14th in the GNAC with 1.6 three-pointers made per game.

• VanderHelm is second on the team with 12.9 points per game. The sophomore has also been excellent from the free throw line, ranking seventh in the GNAC with a .806 free throw percentage.

• Simon Fraser is averaging 70.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC shooting almost 80 percent (282-354) from the free throw line.

• The Clan finishes its four-game road trip at Alaska on Thursday and Alaska Anchorage on Sunday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon split its contests last week, earning a 68-51 win over Concordia last Tuesday before taking a 65-56 loss to Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• The Wolves used a strong interior presence to hand the Cavs their second straight loss, outscoring Concordia 36-22 in the paint while pulling down 11 more rebounds.

• Sophomore center Natalie DeLonge led the Wolves in scoring with 12 points per game over the two contests. She did most of her scoring against the Yellowjackets, compiling 16 points on 4 of 10 shooting and went 8 for 8 from the charity stripe.

• Senior guard Sydney Azorr recorded 22 points over the two games, 15 of which came in the Wolves’ win over Concordia. In 30 minutes, Azorr posted 15 points and went 9 for 9 from the free throw line. She also added 11 rebounds on Saturday. The senior is second on the team with 10.5 points per game.

• Senior forward Savannah Heugly continues to lead the Wolves with 10.5 points per game. She shared the team-high of 15 points on Tuesday and went 5 for 5 from the free throw line over the two games.

• Western Oregon went a combined 39 for 42 from the free throw line last week. Attempting the second-least free throws in the GNAC this season, the Wolves lead the league and are 11th in Division II with a .801 free throw percentage (241-301).

• The Wolves begin the second half of GNAC play at home against Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday. Earlier this season, Western Oregon fell to both teams in back-to-back contests.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington went 0-2 last week with an 82-62 loss at Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and a narrow 77-73 defeat to Central Washington on Saturday.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich led the Vikings with 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game over the two contests. She led a trio of Vikings with 10 points against Northwest Nazarene before collecting 16 points and nine rebounds on Saturday. Stipanovich leads the team with 12.3 points per game and is seventh in the GNAC with 6.9 rebounds per game.

• Sophomore forward Anna Schwecke had a career night against the Wildcats, totaling a career-best 17 points on 7 of 10 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. She ranks third in the GNAC with 7.9 rebounds per game and has been a force on the defensive end with 1.3 blocks per game. She managed three blocks in the two contests last week and is third in the GNAC with four double-doubles.

• In both contests, the Western Washington bench accounted for 29 points. In their last eight games, the Vikings’ bench have scored more than 20 points in six of those contests.

• As a team, Western Washington is No. 4 in the GNAC shooting 41.1 percent from the field. The Vikings are also second in the league shooting 34.3 percent (115-335) from downtown and have limited opponents to 66 points per game.  

• The Vikings close out their four-game road trip with a trip to the Last Frontier. They take on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before visiting the Nanooks on Saturday.

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