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Simon Fraser Clinches Six Seed, Team Of The Week
The Clan will face No. 3 Seattle Pacific in the second women's quarterfinal game on Thursday, March 1. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. (Alaska).
The Clan will face No. 3 Seattle Pacific in the second women's quarterfinal game on Thursday, March 1. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. (Alaska).

Monday, February 26, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Finishing the regular season with three straight home wins, Simon Fraser women's basketball received some late help to earn a berth to the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships this week in Anchorage, Alaska. Along with clinching its eighth straight tournament appearance, the Clan has been named the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

Coming down to the final day of the regular season, Simon Fraser (14-14, 9-11) advanced to the tournament as the No. 6 seed despite playing its final conference game on Thursday. Up a half-game over Concordia and Western Washington entering Saturday, the Clan clinched the No. 6 seed with a Western Washington loss to Montana State Billings, 76-63, and a Concordia loss to Seattle Pacific, 72-65.

The Clan will face No. 3 Seattle Pacific in the women’s second quarterfinal game on Thursday, March 1. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. (Alaska) with the winner facing No. 2-seeded Alaska Anchorage on Friday. The Falcons swept Simon Fraser in the season series 74-63 and 68-49.

This will be the fourth time the Falcons and Clan will meet in the GNAC Championships. Simon Fraser has won the previous three contests: 69-61 in 2012 (quarterfinals), 66-55 in 2013 (semifinals), and 87-79 in 2014 (quarterfinals).

“For us to have success [against Seattle Pacific], we need to shoot the ball well. We have shot free throws well all year consistently but the last few games, our threes have been looking better and better and we're a little bit more consistent in the post. I think keeping these things going will be crucial,” said Simon Fraser head coach Bruce Langford.

Despite the help, Simon Fraser took care of its own business and kept its playoff hopes alive with a 79-77 win over Western Washington on Tuesday. A loss would have eventually eliminated the Clan after Concordia’s win over Saint Martin’s on Thursday.

Sophomore center Tayla Jackson led four Clan players in double-figure scoring against WWU, recording 19 points on 8 of 9 shooting with five rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore Tayler Drynan netted 16 points while junior Sophie Swant chipped in with 15 points. Freshman guard Jessica Jones tallied 10 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

Simon Fraser moved into sole possession of the sixth and final playoff spot after a 77-74 win over Montana State Billings on Thursday. Jones and Jackson finished with 16 points each while sophomore Tia Tsang had 14 points. The Clan hit big shots late and finished the night 11 for 27 from behind the three-point line. The Clan also shot 46.7 percent (28-60) from the field.

"About three or four weeks ago we had our backs up against the wall and had several must-win situations. I thought our girls competed hard and battled through some adversity time after time that allowed us to pull off some wins,” said Langford. “It kind of all fell together and obviously the teams that needed to win in other places did for us so now we sit in a position that we didn't think we would have been in a couple of weeks ago.”

The Clan make their eighth appearance to the dance and have been to the Championships’ semis five times. Swant is sixth in the league with 14.2 points per game and has shot 89.4 percent from the free throw line all season.

Both men’s and women’s championship games will be streamed on ESPN3 as part of the NCAA Division II Basketball Showcase for the second time in three years.

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