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Seawolves, Nighthawks Punch Tickets To Postseason Play
Western Washington is currently riding a three-game win streak. As a team, the Vikings are fifth in the GNAC with a .415 field goal percentage.
Western Washington is currently riding a three-game win streak. As a team, the Vikings are fifth in the GNAC with a .415 field goal percentage.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

BREEN BREAKS GNAC FREE THROW RECORD: With her third free throw make at the 1:11 mark of the third quarter against Alaska on Saturday, Montana State Billings senior forward Alisha Breen became the GNAC’s all-time leader with 474 made free throws. She surpassed the previous record of 472, held by Erin Chambers of Simon Fraser.

Breen has made a living at the charity stripe this year. Not only does she shoot well from the line, but she gets there often. The senior leads the GNAC in both free throw attempts and makes this year. Through 24 regular-season games, she has attempted 153 free throws and knocked down 131 for a .856 percentage.

SEAWOLVES, NIGHTHAWKS FIRST TO JOIN THE PARTY: One-third of the 2017-18 GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships’ field has been set. With a 73-63 win over Montana State Billings on Thursday, No. 6 Alaska Anchorage clinched a GNAC postseason berth at 13-1. The Seawolves are quite familiar with action beyond the regular season, as they have qualified for every GNAC tournament since 2010-11.

With a 74-71 win over Central Washington Tuesday night, Northwest Nazarene not only snapped the Wildcats’ six-game win streak, but booked its third-straight trip to the GNAC postseason. At 13-2, Northwest Nazarene is the hottest team in the conference right now, winning its last eight games. The Nighthawks’ streak began with a 66-52 win over MSUB on Jan. 11, who they will play on Saturday.

LAST SPOT UP FOR GRABS: Conference play is heating up as we edge closer to the GNAC Championships. Entering last week, Concordia was one win above Simon Fraser for the sixth seed. Now, a Cavs’ and Clan weekend split paired with a Western Washington sweep sees the Vikings and Cavaliers in a two-way tie for sixth place at 6-8.

Don’t count out Western Oregon, as it sits in ninth place at 4-10. Western Washington enters the week winning its last three contests while Concordia has won just one game in its last seven following its 5-1 start to GNAC play. Simon Fraser has also been in the mix all season and will next face a Seattle Pacific team coming off of two-straight losses.

Concordia, Simon Fraser and Western Washington all have six games remaining. The Cavaliers, who have been tougher to play at home, play three-straight home games before ending the season on a three-game road trip. Simon Fraser finishes its road slate this week before ending the regular season with four-straight games at home. The Vikings have a key matchup upcoming, visiting Simon Fraser on Feb. 20.

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
Shelby Cloninger, Alaska Anchorage
F • 6-0 • Senior • Kamiah, Idaho

Cloninger averaged 18 points and eight rebounds in two games as the Seawolves collected home wins over Alaska and Montana State Billings. She led UAA with 15 points on 5 of 10 from the field and 3 of 4 from three-point range to go with six rebounds and two steals to beat the Nanooks 63-46 on Tuesday. Cloninger then led all scorers with 21 points on 7 of 13 from the field to go with 10 rebounds in the 73-63 win over the Yellowjackets on Saturday.

Also Nominated: Alexia Pana (Central Washington), Danielle Hartzog (Concordia), Alisha Breen (Montana State Billings), McKenna Walker (Northwest Nazarene), Saniah Simpson-Patu (Saint Martin’s), Tayla Jackson (Simon Fraser), Kelsey Rogers (Western Washington).

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA
• Alaska continues to search for its first conference win of the season after dropping a 63-46 decision to Alaska Anchorage on Tuesday and taking a 74-59 loss to Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• In the two contests, freshman guard Kylie Wallace led the Nanooks with 17.5 points per game, 19 of which came against the Yellowjackets. Wallace has caught fire for the Nanooks, leading UAF in scoring the past three games. She also improved her scoring average to 5.5 points per game. In the Nanooks’ previous five games, Wallace is averaging 14.6 points.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter continued her productive scoring season by tallying 9.5 points per game last week. Carpenter netted 10 points against the Seawolves in 31 minutes and pulled down three rebounds. She is 13th in the GNAC with 12.7 points per game and is scoring 1.9 three-pointers per game.

• Junior guard Emily Evans surpassed her point and rebound averages last week with 9.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Evans tallied 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds against MSUB.

• The Nanooks continue to get things done on the defensive boards with 26.9 per game, ranking third in the GNAC. They are sixth in the GNAC in scoring defense allowing 66.7 points per game.

• Alaska looks for its first GNAC win in the Beaver State this week, facing Western Oregon on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage extended its win streak to four games with a pair of home wins last week. The Seawolves earned a 63-46 win over Alaska on Tuesday before snapping Montana State Billings’ five-game win streak, 73-63, on Thursday.

• The Seawolves continued its stingy defense, forcing 47 turnovers for 47 points over the two contests.

• Senior forward Shelby Cloninger was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after averaging 18 points and eight rebounds per game over the two games. She played a big role against MSUB, posting a game-high 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting. Cloninger has lived up to her Preseason All-GNAC tag, as she ranks fifth in the conference with 14.5 points per game.  

• Her counterpart, junior forward Hannah Wandersee, managed 14 points in each contest. Along with Cloninger, Wandersee commanded the glass with 6.5 rebounds per game. The junior is 10th in the GNAC with 13.5 points per game and leads the league with 1.3 blocks per game. She has also been efficient from the floor, shooting over 50 percent this season.

• The Seawolves have the top-three steal leaders in the GNAC. Senior guard Kian McNair leads the league and is 25th in Division II with 2.9 steals per game. Sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo also has 2.9 steals per game while senior guard Rodericka Ware averages 2.3 this season. The trio combined for 10 steals last week.

• Alaska Anchorage leads the GNAC in scoring defense (60.5), scoring margin, (+15.7), assists (19.6), steals (14.5), turnover margin (+7.36) and assist/turnover ratio (1.2).

• The Seawolves remain No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll and are No. 6 and No. 5 in the WBCA Division II and D2SIDA National Rankings.

• The win on Thursday clinched Alaska Anchorage its eighth GNAC postseason appearance since the tournament’s introduction in 2010-11.

• Alaska Anchorage heads to Oregon this week to take on Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington extended its win streak to six games last weekend before falling to Northwest Nazarene on Tuesday. The Wildcats earned a 70-68 victory over Seattle Pacific on Thursday and an 80-61 win against Saint Martin’s on Saturday. Central Washington dropped a close decision Tuesday night, taking a 74-71 loss to the Nighthawks.

• Sophomore guard Alexis Pana led the Wildcats with 14 points per game over the three contests. Her most notable performance came against SPU, where she recorded a game-high 19 points off the bench and nailed the game-winning layup with three seconds left in the contest. The game was broadcast nationally on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase.

• Senior forward Taylor Baird averaged 10.7 points per game over the three contests, as she was one of three Wildcats to score in double figures against the Nighthawks. She went 6 of 11 from the field and corralled a team-high nine rebounds. Baird is fifth in the GNAC with seven rebounds per game.

• Despite the loss last night, Central Washington has been one of the hottest teams in the West Region over the past few weeks. Entering the week, Central Washington moved up two spots on the D2SIDA West Region Poll to No. 6.

• Central Washington is averaging 71.7 points per game and leads the GNAC with 3.8 blocked shots per game. With 16 assists last week, senior guard Jasmin Edwards moves up to No. 3 in GNAC history with 538 career assists.

• Central Washington finishes the week inside Nicholson Pavilion where it will host Montana State Billings.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia snapped its five-game losing skid with a 72-55 win at Simon Fraser on Thursday, but later fell to Western Washington on Saturday, 84-68.

• Senior guard Danielle Hartzog averaged 20 points per game over the two contests while junior forward Bailey Cartwright recorded 14.5 points and seven rebounds per game.

• Despite failing to record a double-double last week, Cartwright continues to lead the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 13 double-doubles. She is ninth in the conference with 13.6 points per game and is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game (14th in Division II). Cartwright has also been a force on the offensive glass, corralling 3.8 per game.

• Against the Clan, Hartzog pumped in a game-high 21 points on 41 percent shooting and collected six rebounds along with four assists. Hartzog remains second in the GNAC with 16 points per game and is averaging 1.5 steals per game.

• Junior guard Keesha Sarman recorded eight assists and nine steals in the two games. She ranks first in the GNAC and is 31st in Division II with 5.1 assists per game.

• In the latest D2SIDA West Region rankings, Concordia is one of two teams last among those receiving votes (1).

• Concordia is averaging 69.5 points per game and has limited opponents to a GNAC-best 29.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

• The Cavaliers begin a three-game homestand this week, taking on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before facing the Nanooks on Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings earned a split last weekend, taking a 73-63 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before earning a  74-59 win over Alaska on Saturday.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen continues to post solid numbers as she averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds per game last week. Breen notched team-high scoring totals in both contests and pulled down 11 rebounds against Alaska to earn her 11th double-double of the season. The senior leads the GNAC and is 16th in Division II with 19.8 points per game. She is also second in the conference averaging 9.4 rebounds per game. Breen broke the GNAC free throw on Saturday, surpassing the mark of 472 recently held by Erin Chambers. She currently stands at 474 makes.

• Senior guard Rylee Kane was second on the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game over the two contests. She went for 18 points against the Nanooks and picked up a game-high five assists versus the Seawolves. Kane remains one of the GNAC’s top assists leaders, ranking second in the league with 4.8 assists per game. She is second in the GNAC among active players and tied for sixth in conference history with 500 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 fourth in the league with 15.1 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 69.4 points per game this season while allowing 66 points per game.

• The Yellowjackets finish their four-game road swing with against Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• The Nighthawks have caught fire. Winners of its last eight games, Northwest Nazarene earned a 92-83 win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday and a 77-70 victory over Seattle Pacific on Saturday. Northwest Nazarene then split the season series with Central Washington on Tuesday with a narrow 74-71 win.

• Senior guard Lexi Tubbs came up big for the Nighthawks, supplying 19.3 points and eight rebounds per game over the three contests, none of which was bigger than her 31-point performance on 10 of 17 shooting against the Wildcats. During NNU’s eight-game win streak, Tubbs has averaged 17.5 points per game while shooting 47.3 percent from the field. She is fifth in the GNAC with 14.5 points per game and leads the conference with a .430 three-point percentage.

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine has provided great minutes off the bench, averaging  12.7 points per game in her last three games. Jardine scored a team-high 21 points against Saint Martin’s and led a bench that supplied 44 points. Jardine is second on the Nighthawks with 11.2 points per game and is averaging 5.1 rebounds per game.

• When the Nighthawks are clicking, everyone is scoring the ball. Last week, NNU attacked its opponents with a balanced offense as it combined for 10 players in double-figure scoring.

• The Nighthawks boast the highest scoring offense in the GNAC with 79.3 points per game. A big factor to Northwest Nazarene’s offensive output has been its league-leading .448 field goal percentage and .366 three-point percentage.

• Entering the week, the Nighthawks improved two spots to No. 5 in the D2SIDA West Region Media Poll. Last night’s win also clinched NNU a berth to the GNAC Championships for the third-straight year.

• Northwest Nazarene looks to extend its win streak against Montana State Billings this week at home.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Despite huge scoring nights from freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu and sophomore guard Makenna Schultz, Saint Martin’s took a 92-83 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before falling to Central Washington on Saturday, 80-61.

• On Thursday, Schultz exploded for 26 points off the bench on 7 for 15 shooting. She also made 10 trips to the free throw line, converting nine attempts. Schultz is having a breakout year, as she is 11th in the GNAC with 12.8 points per game.

• On Saturday, it was Simpson-Patu’s turn to provide the scoring as the freshman totaled a game-high 33 points on 13 of 23 shooting. She also corralled eight rebounds, all of which were on the defensive end. Simpson-Patu continues to lead the Saints with 15.3 points per game and is sixth in the GNAC with 6.8 rebounds per game.

• In terms of scoring, SMU finds consistency hard to come by. Against the Nighthawks, Saint Martin’s managed four players in double figures while the team shot 48.3 percent. On Saturday, however, Simpson-Patu was the only Saint in double-figures while the team was limited to 32.9 percent shooting from the field.

• Saint Martin’s is averaging 65.3 points per game and is limiting opponents to 30.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc.  

• The Saints return home to face Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Entering last week with seven-straight wins, Seattle Pacific dropped a pair of contests, falling 70-68 to Central Washington on Thursday before taking a 77-70 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Senior forward Courtney Hollander led the Falcons in scoring with 14.5 points per game over the two contests. She tallied a team-high 17 points against Central Washington in a game that was broadcast nationally on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase. Hollander is 17th in the GNAC with 12 points per game and is eighth in the conference with 6.8 rebounds per game.

• Junior guard Jordan McPhee had a solid weekend, averaging 13.5 points and four rebounds per game. She converted most of her points from the charity stripe, combining to shoot 13 for 16. McPhee is sixth in the GNAC with 14.4 points per game and leads the team with 2.2 steals per game.

• Limiting opponents to just 37.2 percent shooting prior to last week, Seattle Pacific allowed Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene to each shoot over 50 percent. The Nighthawks also poured in 10 three-pointers on 21 attempts.

• The Falcons are second in the GNAC allowing 61 points per game while scoring 72.7 points per contest. Seattle Pacific also ranks third in the league with 10.3 steals per game. The Falcons combined to force 41 turnovers last week.

• Seattle Pacific falls to No. 8 in the latest version of the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

• The Falcons look to rebound at home this week. They take on Simon Fraser on Thursday and host Western Washington on Saturday. Seattle Pacific has lost just one contest at home this season.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser earned a split last week after falling to Concordia on Thursday, 82-68, before sweeping the season series against Western Oregon on Saturday, 74-57.

• Sophomore center Tayla Jackson posted 17.5 points per game over the two contests. Jackson tallied a game-high 22 points on 7 for 11 shooting to lift SFU over the Wolves. She is third on the team with 11.9 points per game.

• Junior forward Sophie Swant continues to have a great season, averaging 14 points and six rebounds per game in last week’s contests. Coming off the bench in Thursday’s game, Swant totaled a team-high 19 points in 33 minutes. Swant is seventh in the GNAC with 14.4 points per game and continues to lead the conference shooting 90.5 percent from the free throw line.

• Saturday’s win puts Simon Fraser in decent position to challenge for the GNAC Championships' sixth seed. The Clan is just one game behind Concordia and Western Washington (both 6-8) and have yet to play the Vikings in the second half of GNAC play.

• Simon Fraser is averaging 69.8 points per game and leads the GNAC shooting almost 80.3 percent from the free throw line. The Clan has also made the second-most three-pointers among GNAC teams and is third in the league shooting 33.4 percent from behind the arc.

• The Clan plays its final two regular-season road games this season in Washington. Simon Fraser visits Seattle Pacific on Thursday before taking on Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon fell in both games last week, taking a 66-46 loss to Western Washington on Thursday and a 74-57 defeat to Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Senior forward Savannah Heugly led the team with 9.5 points per game over the two contests, 10 of which came against Western Washington on 50 percent shooting. Heugly leads the team and is 20th in the GNAC with 11.8 points per game.

• Senior guard Shelby Snook had herself a decent weekend, averaging 8.5 points to go along with four assists and five rebounds. Snook supplied a team-high 13 points against the Clan, knocking down 5 of 6 from the free throw line. The senior continues to shoot well from the charity stripe, converting 85.4 percent of her attempts this season.

• The Wolves had a hard time getting stops, as the Clan shot 42.6 percent from the field while Western Washington shot better than 48 percent. As a team, Western Oregon shot just 32 percent from the field and went 6 of 37 from the three-point line over the two games.

• Western Oregon remains second in the league shooting almost 79 percent from the free throw line. The Wolves also lead the league with 27.1 defensive rebounds per game and are scoring 64.1 points per game.

• The Wolves look to snap their five-game losing streak with their final home games this week as they take on Alaska on Thursday before hosting Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington finds itself back into the GNAC Championships mix after earning two victories to extend its win streak to three games. The Vikings picked up a 66-46 win over Western Oregon on Thursday before securing an 84-68 victory against Concordia on Saturday.

• Freshman forward/center Kelsey Rogers paced the Vikings with 11.5 points per game over the two contests. In 28 minutes off the bench on Saturday, Rogers exploded for 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting. She led a Western Washington bench that outscored the Cavaliers’ reserves 47-17. Rogers is averaging 4.9 points per game and has appeared in all Vikings’ contests this season.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich continues to provide solid scoring and rebounding for Western Washington, averaging 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds over the two games. She recorded game-highs of 17 points and eight rebounds against the Clan and was one of three Vikings to score in double figures.

• Western Washington earned its victories through aggressive play in the paint. The Vikings outscored their opponents by a combined 76-50 and shot over 48 percent in both contests.

• The wins move the Vikings into a two-way tie with Concordia for sixth place (6-8).

• As a team, Western Washington is fifth in the GNAC with a .415 field goal percentage. It also is limiting opponents to a GNAC-best 37.5 percent shooting from the floor.

• The Vikings take the road against a pair of in-state rivals, facing Saint Martin’s on Thursday before visiting Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

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