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Crunch Time: Three Postseason Spots Still Up For Grabs
Tied for sixth, Concordia and Western Washington are jostling with Simon Fraser (6-10) for the final postseason spot. A pair of MSUB and CWU wins would see both teams clinch a Championships' berth.
Tied for sixth, Concordia and Western Washington are jostling with Simon Fraser (6-10) for the final postseason spot. A pair of MSUB and CWU wins would see both teams clinch a Championships' berth.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

THREE IN, THREE TO GO: With two weeks remaining in the regular season, half the 2018 GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships’ field has been set. With a 73-63 win over Montana State Billings on Feb. 1, 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.

Scoring a 74-71 win over Central Washington on Feb. 6, Northwest Nazarene not only snapped the Wildcats’ six-game win streak but also booked its third-straight trip to the GNAC postseason. Seattle Pacific punched its ticket to the dance after earning an 80-62  win over Western Washington last week. Central Washington and Montana State Billings are in prime position to book its spot in the Championships with a pair of wins this weekend. Concordia, Western Washington and Simon Fraser are in for an action-packed last two weeks as each team battles to secure sixth place.

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 for the seventh consecutive week. Alaska Anchorage remains at No. 1 for the 13th straight week while Seattle Pacific improves two spots to No. 6. Northwest Nazarene see itself in the No. 5 spot for the second straight week while Central Washington falls three places to No. 9 following two home losses. Montana State Billings comes in at No. 7 for the third consecutive week while Concordia is among teams receiving votes (5). The first NCAA regional rankings, which ultimately determine postseason qualification, will be released on Wednesday.

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.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lexi Tubbs, Northwest Nazarene
G • 5-11 • Senior • Turlock, Calif.

Tubbs averaged 29 points per game to lead the Nighthawks to wins over Central Washington and Montana State Billings that helped NNU clinch a GNAC Championships berth. In Thursday’s 74-71 victory at CWU, Tubbs led all scorers with 31 points on 10 of 19 from the field, 4 of 6 from three-point range and 7 of 9 from the free throw line to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. In Saturday’s 85-71 home win over MSUB, Tubbs led the way with 27 points and 11 rebounds on 9 of 16 from the field, 5 of 9 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free throw line. For the week, Tubbs shot 54 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point range.

Also Nominated: Hannah Wandersee (Alaska Anchorage), Bailey Cartwright (Concordia), Vanessa Stavish (Montana State Billings), Mercedes Victor (Saint Martin’s), Jordan McPhee (Seattle Pacific), Tayla Jackson (Simon Fraser), Sydney Azorr (Western Oregon), Gracie Casteneda (Western Washington).

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.

ALASKA
• Alaska continues to search for its first conference win of the season after dropping a 76-49 decision to Western Oregon on Thursday before taking a narrow 66-64 loss to Concordia on Saturday.

• Junior guard Emily Evans caught fire last week and was one of two Nanooks to average 15 points per game over the two contests. Evans produced a team-high 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting from the floor against Concordia.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter continued her productive scoring season by tallying 15 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last week. Carpenter netted a team-high 13 points against the Wolves before posting 17 points on Saturday. She is 11th in the GNAC with 12.9 points per game and is scoring 1.9 three-pointers per game.

• Alaska had a tough time controlling the paint as it was outscored by a combined 68-30 points in both games.

• The Nanooks continue to get things done on the defensive boards with 26.8 per game, ranking third in the GNAC. They are sixth in the GNAC in scoring defense allowing 67 points per game.

• Alaska looks for its first GNAC win in its final two home games of the season. It hosts Saint Martin’s on Thursday before taking on Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Alaska Anchorage extended its win streak to six games with a pair of road wins last week. The Seawolves earned a 73-69 overtime win over Concordia on Thursday before defeating Western Oregon on Saturday, 86-78.

• The Seawolves continued its stingy defense, forcing 39 turnovers for 24 points over the two contests.
• Junior forward Hannah Wandersee exploded for 23 points and eight rebounds per game over the two contests. Her most notable performance came on Saturday where she posted a career-high 32 points on 11 of 19 shooting. Wandersee is seventh in the GNAC with 14.3 points per game and leads the league with 1.3 blocks per game.

• Senior guard Rodericka Ware managed 10.5 points per game over the two games off the bench. She supplied 10 points, six rebounds and two assists against the Cavs in 19 minutes of action.

• Despite the quiet weekend, senior forward Shelby Cloninger pumped in a team-high 15 points on 50 percent shooting (6-12) on Thursday. She is 10th in the GNAC with 13.8 points per game and leads the Seawolves with 6.5 rebounds per game.

• The Seawolves have three of the four steal leaders in the GNAC. Sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo leads the league and is 17th in Division II with three steals per game. Senior guard Kian McNair is averaging 2.83 steals while Ware has 2.2 per game. The trio combined for 15 steals last week.

• Alaska Anchorage leads the GNAC in scoring margin (+14.9), assists (19.33), steals (14.4), turnover margin (+7.25), and assist/turnover ratio (1.22).

• The Seawolves remain No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll and are the consensus No. 4 in the WBCA Division II and D2SIDA National Rankings.

• Alaska Anchorage ends its regular-season home slate hosting Seattle Pacific on Thursday before taking on Saint Martin’s on Saturday.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington saw its six-game win streak snapped with a 74-71 loss to Northwest Nazarene on Tuesday. Looking to bounce back on Thursday, the Wildcats fell at home to Montana State Billings, 78-58.

• Sophomore guard Alexis Pana led the Wildcats in scoring for the second straight week with 15 points per game over the two contests. She tallied a team-high 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting with four assists off the bench against the Nighthawks. Pana shot at a more efficient rate at MSUB, supplying 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting. She is third on the team with 10.2 points per game.

• Senior guard Jasmin Edwards continues to share the ball at an effective rate with five assists in both games last week. She remains No. 3 on the GNAC all-time assists leaderboard with 533 career assists. She is also fifth in GNAC history with 5.03 assists per game.

• Averaging 10.5 points per game last week, senior forward Taylor Baird shot over 50 percent in each contest. She also pulled down 17 rebounds and is fifth in the GNAC with seven rebounds per game.

• Central Washington is averaging 71.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC with 3.8 blocked shots per game.

• Central Washington finishes its regular-season road schedule at Western Washington on Thursday before facing Simon Fraser on Saturday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia split last week’s contests with a 73-69 overtime loss to Alaska Anchorage on Thursday before earning a 66-64 win over Alaska on Saturday.

• Junior forward Bailey Cartwright continued her interior dominance with two more double-doubles. She leads the GNAC and is fourth in Division II with 15 double-doubles this season. Of her 39 points last week, she recorded a team-high 22 points against the Nanooks to go along with 13 rebounds, seven of which were on the offensive end. She is tied for eighth in the GNAC with 14.1 points per game.

• Sophomore guard Kizzah Maltezo provided positive minutes off the bench with 17 points per game in the two contests. Maltezo supplied 21 points on Saturday on 7 of 16 shooting. She is third on the team with 11.2 points per game.

• Junior guard Keesha Sarman recorded five steals and eight assists in the two games, none of which were more important than her dish to Cartwright for the game-winning basket against the Nanooks. She ranks first in the GNAC and is 28th in Division II with 5.2 assists per game.

• Concordia outscored its opponents by a combined 64-42 in the paint.

• In the latest D2SIDA West Region rankings, Concordia is one of two teams among those receiving votes (5).

• Concordia is averaging 69.3 points per game and has limited opponents to 30.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc.

• The Cavaliers play its final home game of the season on Tuesday against Western Oregon before visiting Montana State Billings on Thursday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Playing against a pair of teams in the top half of the GNAC standings, Montana State Billings earned a split. The Yellowjackets handed Central Washington its second consecutive defeat with a 78-58 win on Thursday before taking an 85-71 loss at Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen continues to post solid numbers as she averaged 20.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game last week. Breen notched team-high scoring totals in both contests and pulled down 16 rebounds against the Wildcats. The senior leads the GNAC and is 14th in Division II with 19.9 points per game. She is also second in the conference averaging 9.47 rebounds per game. Breen is 16th in Division II with 12 double-doubles.

• Junior forward Vanessa Stavish complimented Breen in the scoring department with 17 points each game. Stavish was on fire from the three-point line as she went 8 for 16 from deep. Entering last week, Stavish was averaging 8.7 points per game.

• To go along with her 12 assists last week, senior guard Rylee Kane totaled 14.5 points per game. She collected 16 points and seven assists in 33 minutes against the Wildcats. She is 15th in the GNAC with 12.2 points per game and is 34th in Division II with 4.9 assists per game. Kane is now No. 5 in GNAC history with 512 assists.

• Montana State Billings is among five GNAC teams included in this week’s D2SIDA West Region Poll at No. 7. The ‘Jackets have scored 69.8 points per game this season while allowing 66.4 points per game.

• The Yellowjackets host Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday in their final regular-season home contests.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene extended its win streak to nine games after snapping Central Washington’s six-game win streak on Thursday, 74-71, before taking down Montana State Billings 85-71 on Saturday.

• Senior guard Lexi Tubbs was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after averaging 29 points per game in the contests. On Thursday, Tubbs led all scorers with 31 points on 10 of 19 from the field, 4 of 6 from three-point range and 7 of 9 from the free throw line to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. In Saturday’s win, she led the way with 27 points and 11 rebounds on 9 of 16 from the field, 5 of 9 from three-point range and 4 of 6 from the free throw line. Tubbs moves to third in the GNAC with 15.1 points per game and leads the league with 2.43 three-pointers made per game.

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine provided 17.5 points per game over the two contests, 24 of which came off the bench against Montana State Billings. Jardine has been an efficient scorer this season as she leads the GNAC with a .619 field goal percentage. She is also 14th in the league with 2.1 offensive rebounds per game.

• Northwest Nazarene is one of three teams to clinch a spot in the 2018 GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships. With two weeks remaining, the Nighthawks are still in contention to claim their first-ever GNAC regular-season title.

• The Nighthawks boast the highest scoring offense in the GNAC with 79.6 points per game. A big factor to Northwest Nazarene’s offensive output has been its league-leading .450 field goal percentage and .368 three-point percentage.

• Entering the week, the Nighthawks are No. 5 in the D2SIDA West Region Media Poll.

• Northwest Nazarene looks to extend its win streak at Simon Fraser on Thursday and at Western Washington on Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s dropped a 79-51 decision to Western Washington on Thursday before falling to Simon Fraser on Saturday, 60-58.

• Sophomore forward/guard Mercedes Victor paced the SMU offense with 14 points over the home swing. She compiled a team-high 16 points on Saturday, which followed a 12-point performance against the Vikings on Thursday. Victor shot over 50 percent from the field in both contests and improved her scoring average to 7.8 points per game.

• Junior guard Rebekah Baugh pumped in 21 points last week, 13 of which came against SFU. In 36 minutes of action, Baugh went 4 for 8 from the three-point line and snagged a game-high seven rebounds. She is averaging 5.9 points per game.

• Freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu had a tough time collecting buckets as she was limited to just 10 points per game. Simpson-Patu is second on the team and sixth in the GNAC averaging 14.8 points per game. Rebounding has also been a strength this season as she leads all GNAC freshmen with 6.5 boards per game.

• Saint Martin’s is averaging 64.4 points per game and is limiting opponents to 30.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.  

• The Saints finish their regular-season road schedule in Alaska this week. Saint Martin’s visits the Nanooks on Thursday before taking on Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• Seattle Pacific got back on track with a pair of home wins against teams in the mix for a GNAC Championships’ berth. The Falcons handed Simon Fraser a 68-49 loss on Thursday before earning an 80-62 win over Western Washington on Saturday.

• Junior guard Jordan McPhee paced the Falcons in scoring with 20 points per game over the home stretch. McPhee poured in 16 points on 50 percent shooting (6-12) against SFU before netting a game-high 24 points against WWU. McPhee also combined for 18 rebounds. She continues to lead SPU and is fourth in the GNAC with 14.9 points per game.

• Providing solid scoring help was senior forward Courtney Hollander who averaged 16.5 points per game over the two contests. Hollander went for 16 points on 7 of 11 shooting on Thursday before tallying 17 points and a game-high six assists against the Vikings. The senior is 12th in the GNAC with 12.4 points per game and is eighth with 6.6 rebounds per game.

• The Falcons’ defense clamped down Thursday night, limiting SFU to 29.3 percent shooting from the floor. Of Seattle Pacific’s 68 points, 42 of them came in the paint. The Falcons then corralled 17 offensive rebounds against WWU to earn a 20-8 advantage in second-chance points.

• The Falcons lead the GNAC allowing 60.5 points per game while scoring 72.8 points per contest. Seattle Pacific also ranks third in the league with 10.1 steals per game. The Falcons combined to force 31 turnovers last week.

• Seattle Pacific improves to No. 6 in the latest version of the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

• The Falcons conclude its regular-season road schedule this week in Alaska. Seattle Pacific looks to snap Alaska Anchorage’s six-game win streak on Thursday before taking on the Nanooks on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser earned a split last week, falling to Seattle Pacific on Thursday, 68-49, before sweeping the season series against Saint Martin’s on Saturday, 60-58.

• Both sophomore center Tayla Jackson and junior forward Sophie Swant each totaled 10.5 points per game over the two contests.

• Jackson went 3 for 5 from the field and 4 of 6 from the charity stripe for 10 points against Seattle Pacific. On Saturday, she converted all but one of her 10 free throw attempts and was one of four SFU players to score in double figures.

• Swant remains the Clan’s leading scorer with 14.1 points per game, which is tied for eighth in the GNAC. She converted all three of her free throw attempts and continues to lead the league in free throw shooting at 90.7 percent.

• Simon Fraser is averaging 68.5 points per game and leads the GNAC shooting almost 81 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 32.5 percent from behind the arc.

• At 6-10, Simon Fraser is contending with Concordia and Western Washington (both 7-9) for the No. 6 seed heading into the GNAC Championships. The Clan host Western Washington on Feb. 20.

• Simon Fraser ends its season with four straight home games. The Clan takes on Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before hosting Central Washington on Saturday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon scored a split last week, taking down Alaska 76-49 on Thursday before taking an 86-78 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Saturday.

• Senior guard Sydney Azorr paced the Wolves with 15 points per game over the two contests. Azorr tallied a team-high 22 points against the Seawolves on 6 of 10 shooting. She also went 4 for 5 from beyond the arc and converted all six free throw attempts. The senior is second on the team with 10.1 points per game and is second in the GNAC shooting 89.2 percent from the charity stripe.

• Sophomore guard Shelby Snook averaged 10.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists per game last week. Snook fell just shy of a double-double on Thursday as she scored nine points and corralled seven rebounds against the Nanooks. She is third on the team with 8.8 points per game and has been efficient from the free throw line this year with a .860 percentage.

• Against the Nanooks, the Wolves stuffed the stat sheet. Three bench players totaled double-digit scoring nights while four of their five starters connected on at least two field goals. They outscored UAF in the paint (34-12), bench points (46-20) and second-chance points (24-4).

• 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 65.2 points per game.

• The Wolves will play their final four games of the regular season on the road. They take on Concordia on Tuesday before visiting Montana State Billings on Saturday.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Earning a weekend split, Western Washington is in a two-way tie for sixth place with Concordia at 7-9. The Vikings gained a 79-51 win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday before falling to Seattle Pacific on Saturday, 80-62.

• Freshman guard Gracie Castaneda tallied 16.5 points per game on the road trip. She went for a team-high 21 points on 7 of 9 shooting against the Falcons. She was also one of four Vikings to score in double figures on Thursday with 12 points.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich continues to provide solid scoring and rebounding for Western Washington, averaging 9.5 points and 8.5 rebounds over the two games. She recorded game-highs of nine and eight rebounds in each contest and pumped in 12 points against the Falcons. Stipanovich is sixth in the GNAC with seven rebounds per game.

• It was a tale of two games in the paint for Western Washington. On Thursday, the Vikings outscored Saint Martin’s 32-20 in the paint but were outmatched 28-14 by Seattle Pacific.

• At 7-9, Western Washington is jostling for the sixth seed with Concordia and Simon Fraser. The Vikings split their season series with the Cavs and will take on the Clan for the second time this season on Feb. 20.

• As a team, Western Washington is fourth in the GNAC with a .420 field goal percentage. It also is limiting opponents to a GNAC-best 37.8 percent shooting from the floor. Last week, WWU combined to shoot 48 percent from the field.

• The Vikings end the season taking on three teams in the top half of the GNAC standings. They host Central Washington on Thursday before facing Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

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