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Falcons, Wildcats Primed For DII Showcase Encounter
Central Washington is averaging 71.4 points per game and leads the GNAC with four blocked shots per game. During its four-game win streak, three games have been decided six points or fewer.
Central Washington is averaging 71.4 points per game and leads the GNAC with four blocked shots per game. During its four-game win streak, three games have been decided six points or fewer.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

ESPN3 TO FEATURE TWO OF THE GNAC’S HOTTEST TEAMS: With the conference postseason looming, GNAC teams are doing everything it can to secure a spot inside the top-six. With that being said, one win streak is going to end this week, as a pair of teams from the Evergreen State takes to the national stage.

Central Washington hosts Seattle Pacific on Thursday night in a game that will be streamed live on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase. The game is the first of a GNAC doubleheader, which will be followed by the Wildcats’ men hosting Western Washington at 7:30 p.m.

Both teams come into Thursday’s contest in fine form. Seattle Pacific has won its last seven games and is the only team to beat Alaska Anchorage in conference play this season. The Falcons enter the week tied for second with Northwest Nazarene at 10-2 and have stifled opponents on defense this season, allowing just 57 points per game over their last four contests.

Junior guard Jordan McPhee has paced the Falcons in scoring with 14.5 points per game, good for fourth in the GNAC. The junior has also been a steady presence on defense as she is fourth in the league with 2.2 steals per game. Seattle Pacific has dominated the defensive glass this season and leads the GNAC with 27.8 per game. The Falcons lead the GNAC allowing just 59.7 points while scoring 73.1 points per contest.

On the opposite end of the court, Central Washington senior guard Jasmin Edwards continues to build upon her impressive career with consistent offensive performances. Edwards, who is third in the GNAC and 49th in Division II with 4.6 assists per game, is No. 4 on the GNAC all-time assists leaderboard with 522 career assists.

Central Washington is averaging 71.4 points per game and leads the GNAC with four blocked shots per game. The Wildcats are used to playing in high-pressure situations this season. During their four-game win streak, three games have been decided six points or fewer.

DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE: Concordia junior forward Bailey Cartwright and Montana State Billings senior forward Alisha Breen have done it all for their teams this season. Cartwright averaged 16 points and 15.5 rebounds last week, recording her 13th double-double of the season against Northwest Nazarene with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Breen also continues to post solid numbers, as she averaged 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last week. Cartwright leads the GNAC and is 4th in Division II in double-doubles while Breen ranks 19th in the nation with 10.

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
Makenna Schultz, Saint Martin’s

G • 5-2 • Sophomore • Lacey, Wash.

Schultz came off the bench to put together a pair of big scoring performances for the Saints, averaging 26 points per game in the two games while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from three-point range. Against Seattle Pacific on Tuesday, Schultz led all scorers with a SMU season-high 33 points in 34 minutes, making 9 of 12 from the field, 6 of 7 from three-point range and 9 of 10 from the free throw line. She then finished with 19 points at Montana State Billings on Thursday, hitting 7 of 12 from the field and 3 of 6 from the arc. Schultz came into week averaging 11.1 points per game and has played in all 20 of the team’s games.

Also Nominated: Jasmin Edwards (Central Washington), Bailey Cartwright (Concordia), Alisha Breen (Montana State Billings), Sophie Swant (Simon Fraser), Savannah Heugly (Western Oregon), Hannah Stipanovich (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska continues to search for its first conference win of the season after dropping a 77-61 decision to Simon Fraser on Thursday and falling to Western Washington, 46-38, on Saturday. On Tuesday, the Nanooks visited in-state rival Alaska Anchorage, falling 63-46 to the Seawolves.

• In the three contests, freshman guard Kylie Wallace led the Nanooks with an average of 11 points per game. She netted a game-high 16 points at Alaska Anchorage and was just one of two Nanooks to score in double figures. The freshman is fifth on the squad with 4.7 points per game.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter continued her productive scoring season by tallying 10.3 points per game over the three contests. Carpenter netted a team-high 18 points against Simon Fraser on 8 of 20 shooting. Carpenter is 13th in the GNAC with 12.8 points per game.

• The Nanooks played without junior forward Ashlie Blackburn last week, who is ninth in the GNAC with 6.7 rebounds per game while knocking down 46.1 percent of her shots. Blackburn hasn’t played for Alaska since its 74-47 loss to Concordia on Jan. 11.

• The Nanooks continue to get things done on the defensive boards with 26.8 per game, ranking fourth in the GNAC. They are sixth in the GNAC in scoring defense allowing 66.3 points per game.

• Alaska finishes the week by hosting Montana State Billings on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage has found its rhythm again, winning its last three contests. On Thursday, the Seawolves handed Western Washington a 66-59 loss before defeating Simon Fraser on Saturday, 82-68. In the only GNAC women’s game on Tuesday, UAA came out with a 63-46 win over in-state rival Alaska.

• The Seawolves dominated all three games, winning by an average margin of 13.3 points. Alaska Anchorage also forced a combined 76 turnovers. They lead the GNAC and is fourth rank Division II with 14.6 steals per game.

• Senior forward Shelby Cloninger led Alaska Anchorage in scoring with 14.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game over the three contests. Against the Clan, she totaled a team-high 17 points and was one of two Seawolves to score in double figures. Cloninger is seventh in the GNAC with 14.1 points per game and is shooting almost 49 percent from the field.

• Her counterpart, junior forward Hannah Wandersee, managed 11.3 points per game last week and collected 16 of her points against Simon Fraser. Wandersee is ninth in the GNAC with 13.5 points per game and leads the league with 1.4 blocks per game. She has also been efficient from the floor, recording a .515 field goal percentage this season.

• The Seawolves have the top-three steal leaders in the GNAC. Sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo leads the league and is 18th in Division II with three steals per game. Senior guard Kian McNair has 2.9 steals per game while senior guard Rodericka Ware averages 2.4 this season.

• Alaska Anchorage leads the GNAC in assists (19.5), turnover margin (+7.43), assist/turnover ratio (1.2) and scoring margin (+16).

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

• Alaska Anchorage closes out the week against Montana State Billings on Thursday inside the Alaska Airlines Center.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington is currently riding a four-game win streak thanks to its 63-60 win over Concordia on Thursday and a 79-67 victory against Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Senior guard Jasmin Edwards led the Wildcats with 16.5 points and six assists per game over the two games. She recorded a game-high 20 points to lead CWU over Concordia, shooting 61.5 percent (8-13) from the field. She played the role of facilitator the following contest, tallying a game-high eight assists to go along with 13 points.

• Edwards leads the team and is 11th in the GNAC with 13.5 points per game. She is also third in the league and 49th in Division II with 4.6 assists per game. She currently sits at No. 4 on the all-time GNAC assists leaderboard with 522 career assists.

• Playing in 46 minutes off the bench, sophomore guard Alexis Pana accounted for 10.5 points per game, 12 of which came against Western Oregon. Junior guard Sadie Mensing also averaged 10.5 points last week and is 14th in the GNAC with 12.8 points per game.

• The Wildcats outscored both opponents in the paint by a combined 16 points. Its bench also provided strong minutes, accounting for 62 of Central Washington’s points last week.

• Central Washington is averaging 71.4 points per game and leads the GNAC with four blocked shots per game.

• Central Washington will host Seattle Pacific on Thursday in a game that will be streamed on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase. The Wildcats close the week by hosting Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• After a hot start to conference play, Concordia has lost its last five contests. The Cavaliers fell to Central Washington on Thursday, 63-60, before taking a 75-71 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Junior forward Bailey Cartwright continues to be a scoring and rebounding machine as she averaged 16 points and 15.5 rebounds over the two contests. She recorded her 13th double-double of the season against the Nighthawks with 15 points and 13 rebounds. On Thursday, she matched the GNAC single-game season high for rebounds with 18 against CWU. She is ninth in the GNAC with 13.5 points per game and is 11th in Division II with 10.4 rebounds per game.

• Averaging 12 points per game last week, junior guard Keesha Sarman corralled 17 rebounds, nine of which came against Northwest Nazarene. She continues to lead the GNAC with 5.3 assists per game and ranks No. 26th in Division II.

• Sophomore guard Kizzah Maltezo provided a spark off the bench on Saturday, supplying 20 points in 30 minutes of action. Maltezo combined to shoot 41.2 percent (7-17) in the two games. The guard is third on the team with 10.9 points per game and leads the GNAC with 2.3 three-pointers made per game.

• In the latest D2SIDA West Region rankings, Concordia one of three teams receiving votes (2).

• Concordia is averaging 69.4 points per game and has limited opponents to a GNAC-best 37.1 percent from the field.

• The Cavaliers head north to take on Simon Fraser on Thursday before ending the week at Western Washington on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings earned a split last weekend, taking a 69-61 win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday before falling 66-50 to Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen continues to post solid numbers as she averaged 16.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game last week. Breen notched a team-high 20 points against the Saints and pulled down 12 rebounds for her 10th double-double this season. The senior leads the GNAC and is 15th in Division II with 19.9 points per game. She is also second in the conference averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. With 13 points on Saturday, Breen moves to No. 8 on the all-time GNAC scoring list with 1,647 career points.

• Senior guard Rylee Kane was second on the team in scoring with 10 points per game over the two contests. She went for 13 points against the Falcons and picked up a game-high six assists versus the Saints. Kane remains one of the GNAC’s top assists leaders, ranking second in the league with 4.9 assists per game. She is second in the GNAC among active players and No. 8 in conference history with 492 assists.

• 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 15.2 assists per game and have a 1.1 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 69.5 points per game this season while allowing 66 points per game.

• The Yellowjackets begin a four-game road trip with a visit to Alaska this week, taking on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before facing the Nanooks on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene extended its win streak to five games following a 72-67 overtime win at Western Oregon on Thursday and a 75-71 victory over Concordia on Saturday.

• Senior guard Lexi Tubbs came up big for the Nighthawks, supplying a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds to lift NNU over the Wolves. She followed the night up with 11 points and a perfect 4 for 4 mark from the free throw line against Concordia. Tubbs leads the Nighthawks and is eighth in the GNAC with 13.6 points per game. She has also been shooting well from deep, recording a .420 (37-88) three-point percentage. In the two contests, Tubbs combined to shoot 5 for 10 from downtown.

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine had a decent week for the Nighthawks, averaging 11.5 points per game while pulling down 4.5 rebounds. She recorded 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench against WOU and shot 50 percent (6-12) from the floor against the Cavs. She leads the GNAC shooting 57.6 percent from the floor.

• When the Nighthawks are clicking, everyone is scoring the ball. In both games last week, at least four Nighthawks recorded double-figure point totals and outscored both opponents off the bench. They also outscored their opponents 44-26 from the free throw line.

• The Nighthawks boast the highest scoring offense in the GNAC with 79 points per game. A big factor to Northwest Nazarene’s offensive output has been its league-leading .441 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 look to extend their win streak with a pair of home games against Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific this week. 

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Playing without leading scorer senior forward Elin Johansson, Saint Martin’s took a 94-76 loss to Seattle Pacific on Tuesday and a 69-61 defeat to Montana State Billings on Thursday.

• Sophomore guard Makenna Schultz was named the GNAC Player of the Week after coming off the bench to average 26 points per game in the two games while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 69.2 percent from three-point range. Her big night came against the Falcons, where she scored a career-high 33 points on 9 of 12 shooting. Entering the week, Schultz was averaging 11.1 points per game.

• Freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu produced solid numbers once again, averaging 15.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists per game. She was one of three Saints to score in double figures against Seattle Pacific, recording 15 points and five assists. Simpson-Patu is tied for fifth in the league with 14.5 points per game.

• Stepping up in the scoring department was sophomore guard/forward Jayla Russ, who supplied 17 points against the Yellowjackets on 5 of 11 shooting. She also collected eight rebounds.

• Saint Martin’s is averaging 64.6 points per game and is limiting opponents to 30.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The Saints also rank seventh in the GNAC with 26 defensive rebounds per contest.

• Saint Martin’s looks to snap a pair of win streaks this week, as it takes on Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before visiting Central Washington on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific extended its win streak to seven games with a 94-76 win over Saint Martin’s on Tuesday and a 66-50 victory against Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• The win over MSUB snapped its four-game win streak and handed the Yellowjackets just their third home defeat of the season.

• Junior guard Jordan McPhee and senior forward Courtney Hollander led a balanced Falcons’ attack with 13.5 points per game over the two contests. McPhee also totaled 7.5 rebounds and four assists per game.

• McPhee was one of four Falcons to score in double figures on Tuesday. She went for 16 points on 50 percent (5-10) shooting while junior guard Riley Evans scored a team-high 20 points off the bench. McPhee is fourth in the GNAC with 14.5 points and 2.2 steals per game.

• Hollander saved her big night for the Yellowjackets, going 6 of 12 from the field for a game-high 18 points. Seattle Pacific used its suffocating defense to halt MSUB, allowing just 18 field goals on 60 attempts (30 percent). The Falcons also converted 18 points off 16 MSUB turnovers. Hollander is second on the team with 11.8 points per game and fifth in the GNAC with 7.1 rebounds per game.

• Seattle Pacific has dominated the defensive glass this season and leads the GNAC with 27.8 per game. The Falcons also lead the GNAC allowing just 59.7 points per game while scoring 73.1 points per contest.

• Seattle Pacific is among five GNAC teams included in this week’s D2SIDA West Region Poll at No. 2. The Falcons are also No. 17 in the D2SIDA National Media Poll and received votes (11)in the WBCA Division II Rankings.

• Seattle Pacific visits Central Washington on Thursday in a game that will be streamed on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase. The Falcons close the week by taking on Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• The Falcons are in for a tough test, as the Wildcats have won its last four games while the Nighthawks are on a five-game winning streak.

SIMON FRASER
• The Clan snapped their three-game losing streak on Thursday with a 77-61 win at Alaska. Two days later, Simon Fraser took an 82-68 loss to Alaska Anchorage.

• Junior forward Sophie Swant shined for the Clan, averaging 22 points over the two games and going 16 of 17 from the free throw line. She totaled a game-high 25 points against the Nanooks, shooting 60 percent (9-15) from the floor. Swant followed that night up with a perfect day from the charity stripe on Saturday, going 11 for 11. The junior is tied for fifth in the GNAC with 14.5 points per game and is fourth in Division II with a .921 free throw percentage.

• Swant wasn’t the only 20-point scorer last week. Sophomore guard Tia Tsang lit up the Nanooks with 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting. She averaged 15.5 points per game last week while shooting 60 percent from the field. Tsang has made the arc her home this season, as she is ninth in the GNAC with 1.7 three-pointers made per game.

• Sophomore center Tayla Jackson provided a solid effort as well, averaging 11 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last week. She is third on the team with 11.3 points per game and 20th in the GNAC with 4.8 rebounds per game.

• Simon Fraser is averaging 70.3 points per game and leads the GNAC shooting almost 81 percent (311-386) from the free throw line.

• The Clan returns home to host Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon fell in both games last week, taking a 72-67 overtime loss to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before handing Central Washington its fourth straight win on Saturday, 79-67.

• The Wolves came close to their fifth conference win of the season on Thursday after junior forward Ali Nelke converted a buzzer-beating layup to force overtime.

• Senior forward Savannah Heugly, who averaged 17 points per game last week, totaled a team-high 18 points against the Nighthawks while corralling seven rebounds. Heugly was also the go-to scorer against the Wildcats, pumping in 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting. She ranks 17th in the GNAC with 12.1 points per game and leads the Wolves with six rebounds per game.

• Another WOU senior, Shelby Snook, paced the Wolves in scoring as well with 13.5 points per game. Her more efficient night came against the Wildcats, where she collected 13 points on 5 for 9 shooting. She eclipsed her season scoring average in both contests and is now averaging 8.6 points per game.

• Western Oregon entered last week leading the league with a .801 free throw percentage. An uncharacteristic night on Thursday proved to be its undoing, as it missed four free throws in overtime.

• Attempting the second-least free throws in the GNAC this season, the Wolves are second in the GNAC and are 10th in Division II with a .797 free throw percentage (267-335).

• The Wolves take the road this week, visiting Western Washington on Thursday before heading up to Burnaby Mountain on Saturday for a tilt with Simon Fraser.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington earned a split last week, falling to Alaska Anchorage, 66-59, on Thursday before earning a 46-38 win against the Nanooks on Saturday.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich led the Vikings in scoring with 15 points per game over the two contests. She also led the team in rebounds, averaging 7.5 in both games. On Thursday, Stipanovich was one of two Vikings to score in double figures with a game-high 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She continues to lead Western Washington with 12.6 points per game and is eighth in the GNAC with seven rebounds per game.

• Freshman guard Gracie Castaneda tallied 18 points last week, 11 of which came against the Seawolves. To go along with her 11 points, Castaneda recorded three rebounds and four assists. She is second among freshmen in the GNAC with 10.3 points per game and is ninth in the league shooting 79 percent from the free throw line.

• Despite connecting on five more field goals than Alaska Anchorage, it was at the free throw line where the game was won. The Vikings, who made 16 trips to the charity stripe, were outscored 27-10 in that category. It was a different story on Saturday though, as Western Washington limited the Nanooks’ highest scorer to just eight points.

• As a team, Western Washington is No. 5 in the GNAC shooting 40.5 percent from the field. The Vikings are also fourth in the league shooting 33.2 percent (121-364) from downtown and have limited opponents to 64.6 points per game.  

• The Vikings return home for a two-game tilt when they host Western Oregon on Thursday before taking on Concordia on Saturday.

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