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GNAC Looks To Continue Success In Non-Conference Action
The Nanooks earned their first win of the season with a 56-50 win against Hawaii Hilo Sunday afternoon. UAF outrebounded the Vulcans 35-24 in the contest.
The Nanooks earned their first win of the season with a 56-50 win against Hawaii Hilo Sunday afternoon. UAF outrebounded the Vulcans 35-24 in the contest.
Alaska's Brett Sawyer earned his first win as the Nanooks' head coach last weekend.
Alaska's Brett Sawyer earned his first win as the Nanooks' head coach last weekend.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

STARTING OUT HOT: In the opening week of the Division II college basketball season, GNAC teams impressed, going 16-5 in non-conference action last weekend. GNAC teams have started the season strong, as six squads remain undefeated heading into the second week of non-conference action.

CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Winning the season’s first weekly award was a pair of standouts from the weekend. Alaska Anchorage’s Hannah Wandersee and Montana State Billings’ Alisha Breen were named Co-GNAC Players of the Week after breakout weekends helped their respective teams to undefeated starts.

FIRST-TIMERS: With a 56-50 home win against Hawaii Hilo last weekend, Alaska head coach Brett Sawyer picked up his first win of his collegiate coaching career. The win moved the Nanooks to 1-1 on the season, and will hit the road this weekend with a neutral-site match against Western State in Anchorage, Alaska. Another coach gaining her first win as head coach was Central Washington’s Randi Richardson-Thornley. The Wildcats opened the season with a comfortable 70-55 home tournament victory Friday afternoon against Cal State LA. Richardson-Thornley will look to earn her first road victory with CWU this Friday, as the Wildcats take on Colorado Mines.

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.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC CO-PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Alisha Breen
Montana State Billings
F • 5-10 • Senior • Choteau, Mont.
Breen was named the most valuable player of the West Region Tip-Off Classic, averaging 22 points per game with 13 assists, 12 rebounds and five assists in a 2-0 week for the Yellowjackets. She returned to the floor after a year away with injury by scoring 25 points with five rebounds and five steals in a 68-65 win over Academy of Art. Breen then finished with 19 points, a career-high eight assists and seven rebounds on Saturday’s 96-57 rout of Holy Names. In the games, Breen shot 48.5 percent from the floor and 57.1 percent from three-point range.

Hannah Wandersee
Alaska Anchorage
F/C • 6-2 • Junior • Kodiak, Alaska
Wandersee led Alaska Anchorage to a 2-0 week with averages of 20 points, seven rebounds and a block per game. She finished with a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds and also had four assists in Friday’s 82-74 win over Hawaii and finished with a team-high 16 points in Saturday’s 82-74 win over Cal State LA.

Also Nominated: Lexi Carpenter (Alaska), Bailey Cartwright (Concordia), Raquel Jardine (Northwest Nazarene), Elin Johansson (Saint Martin’s), Courtney Hollander (Seattle Pacific), Shelby Snook (Western Oregon), Hannah Stipanovich.

AROUND THE GNAC
ALASKA

• Hosting a pair of games against Hawaii Hilo over the weekend, Alaska split its opening regular-season contests with the Vulcans.
• In their home opener, the Nanooks fell 62-49 to the Vulcans in the debut for first-year head coach Brett Sawyer and his assistant, former Nanook women’s basketball player Jessie Craig.
• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter led all Nanooks with 12 points, shooting 4 for 10 from the field, 2 for 6 from behind the arc and 2 of 2 from the charity stripe. Carpenter also chipped in four steals, two rebounds and one assist in a team-high 27-minute effort.
• Junior forward Ashlie Blackburn was the only other Nanook to register double-digit scoring, shooting 4 for 9 from the field for 11 points. Blackburn also led all players in rebounds, pulling down three offensive and six defensive boards in her collegiate debut.
• The Nanooks earned their first victory Saturday afternoon after downing the Vulcans 56-50 in the finale of the Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational at the Alaska Airlines Court. The victory was a career first in Sawyer’s head coaching career.
• For the second-straight game, Carpenter led the team offensively, shooting 7 of 18 from the field, including 33 percent from behind the arc for a game-high 19 points. Carpenter’s single-game 19 points is a career-high for the sophomore.
• Alaska will partake in the Seawolf Classic in Anchorage this weekend, taking on Western State and Holy Names.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE
• Junior forward Hannah Wandersee had career highs of 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists last Friday as No. 4 Alaska Anchorage held off a late Hawaii Pacific rally to earn an 82-74 win in the Wildcat Crossover at Ellensburg, Wash.
• In their first contest against Division II opposition this year, the Seawolves got 14 points, five rebounds and two steals from senior forward Shelby Cloninger. Senior guard Rodreicka Ware added 13 points, four assists and four steals. Junior guard Tara Thompson pumped in nine points on 3 of 5 shooting from beyond the arc.
• On Saturday, Wandersee scored 16 points to lead the Seawolves to a 77-50 victory over Cal State Los Angeles on the final day of the Wildcat Crossover.
• The Seawolves got 14 points, four assists and five steals from Ware and 13 points and seven rebounds from Cloninger. Alaska Anchorage outshot the Golden Eagles from the field, .521 to .256, over the final three quarters.
• Coming off a pair of big performances, Wandersee was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Co-Player of the Week. She ranks second in the GNAC with 18 points per game.
• Alaska Anchorage is the only GNAC team to be ranked within the WBCA Division II Top-25 at No. 4.
• The Seawolves look to remain unbeaten as they host Holy Names and Western State in the Seawolf Hoops Classic this weekend.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington first-year head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley earned her first career collegiate win as the Wildcats defeated Cal State Los Angeles 70-55.
• The Wildcats finished with three players in double-digit points as Sadie Mensing (14), Jasmin Edwards (13), and Taylor Baird (10) led the scoring.  
• Central Washington shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the first half, including a combined 6 for 9 effort from Edwards and Mensing. Defensively, the Wildcats held the Golden Eagles to 29 percent shooting from the floor.
• In their second game of the year, Central Washington dropped a tight contest to Hawaii Pacific, 77-68.
• The Sharks opened the game with a 9-0 run before Baird got the Wildcats on the board with a free throw. Hawaii Pacific held the lead until a three by sophomore forward Kaelie Flores brought the game level at 24-24 with 7:33 remaining in the second quarter.
• Mensing finished with 18 points and five rebounds. Edwards notched 12 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Baird also finished in double figures, notching 11 points and eight rebounds. The Wildcats outrebounded the Sharks 56-42, including 20 offensive rebounds.
• The Wildcats travel to Golden, Colo., this weekend to take on Colorado Mines and Metro State in the Tony Corbetta Classic.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia is coming off a 1-1 weekend at the CCAA/GNAC Challenge in Turlock, Calif.
• The Cavaliers opened the tournament with a 64-51 win over Cal State Monterey Bay behind sophomore guard Kizzah Maltezo’s 17 points off the bench. Maltezo went 5 for 7 from the field and was perfect from beyond the arc.
• Senior guard Danielle Hartzog chipped in 14 points while junior forward Bailey Cartwright recorded a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
• On Saturday evening, Concordia saw its rally from a 20-point deficit fall short in a 72-68 loss to Stanislaus State. Cartwright, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, led CU with 12 points and 15 rebounds.  
• Junior guard Keesha Sarman added 12 points, seven assists and five steals while Maltezo added 10 points off the bench for the Cavs.
• Sarman leads the team shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from three-point land. She also has a team-high 12 assists and six steals.
• Concordia will continue its four-game road trip in the Yellowjacket Classic this Thursday and Friday, in Billings, Mont. The Cavaliers open up the classic against  Chadron State and take on Montana State Billings in non-conference action one day later.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• The Yellowjackets turned some heads in the opening week of the regular season, defeating Academy of Art 68-65 and Holy Names 96-57 over the weekend.
• After missing all of last year with an injury, GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Alisha Breen hit the ground running with 25 points in her first game of the year.
• The senior went on to be named Most Valuable Player of the West Region Tipoff Classic, recording 44 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds, and three steals in MSUB’s two games. Her performances were good enough for Co-GNAC Player of the Week honors.
• After missing all of last season, junior forward Vanessa Stavish had a strong showing and was another all-tournament award winner. Stavish notched 26 points and nine rebounds in the two games last week, connecting on 4 of 10 3-pointers.
• Providing a boost off the bench, senior forward Grace Weeks had a stellar game against Holy Names on Saturday. Her 15 points were just two off her career high and she also had four rebounds in 18 minutes.
• In MSUB’s highest offensive output since the 2013-14 season against Holy Names, all 12 players on the roster recorded points. Additionally, the Yellowjackets tied for the second-most assists in single-game history, totaling 31 against the Hawks.
• Starting today, Montana State University Billings hosts its annual Yellowjacket Classic tournament sponsored by Red Lion Hotels and Convention Center. They host Concordia this Friday and Chadron State on Saturday.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• The Nighthawks soared out of the gates Friday night, defeating Stanislaus State 76-66 in their season opener. Northwest Nazarene dominated the first half, as it held a commanding 42-17 lead at halftime.
• Sophomore guard Avery Albrecht’s 16 points and five rebounds led the Nighthawks, while junior guard Carly Parker and senior guard Lexi Tubbs added 12 points each. Junior guard McKenna Walker notched 10 points and four assists.
• The Nighthawks held Stanislaus to just four first-half field goals and 16 percent shooting.
• The following night, junior forwards Raquel Jardine and Danielle Jardine each scored 17 points to lead the team to a 96-69 victory against Cal State Monterey Bay. With her scoring efforts over the two games, Raquel was named the CCAA/GNAC Challenge Most Valuable Player, hosted by Stanislaus State.
• In last night’s contest, NNU continued its hot start to the season with a 79-69 win at Cal State LA. Sophomore guard Marina Valles scored 18 points off the bench, shooting 7 of 11 from the field in 24 minutes of action.
• Danielle Jardine added 16 points and seven rebounds while Raquel Jardine tallied 10 points and five rebounds.
• Playing in another game tonight, the Nighthawks finish out their California road trip in La Mirada, Calif., against Biola.

SAINT MARTIN'S
• On the opening day of the GNAC/PacWest Challenge in Monmouth, Ore., the Saints’ offense struggled to find their shot in a 69-44 loss to Cal State San Bernardino.
• Senior forward Elin Johansson led the team with 12 points and nine rebounds while freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu added 11 points and five boards. Senior guard Hannah Reynolds was the only other Saints’ scorer to reach five more points, ending with six.
• Opening the second half with a 10-0 run and outscoring Dixie State by nine in the second half was not enough in the Saints’ 81-74 loss against the Trailblazers Sunday.
• After trailing by 16 at halftime, the Saints trimmed Dixie State’s lead to two in the second half. The Trailblazers shot 41.4 percent from beyond the arc to stave off the Saints’ comeback attempt.
•  As a team, the Saints shot 23 for 58 (39.7 percent) from the floor and 2 for 14 from beyond the arc.
• Johansson led all scorers with 19 points on 7 for 12 shooting, along with three rebounds. Simpson-Patu put together a complete game with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Reynolds added 13 points, six rebounds and a team-leading five assists.
• The Saints travel to Tacoma, Washington this Friday, Nov. 17, for a contest with Puget Sound at 6:00 p.m.

SEATTLE PACIFIC
• On Friday, the Falcons beat Humboldt State at the Fresno Pacific West Region Crossover Classic, 69-49.
• In a game where Seatle Pacific surpassed the school record for best single-game free throw percentage, senior guard Rachel Shim, senior guard Jordan McPhee and senior center Julia Haining each scored 13 points.
• Haining recorded her first double-double of her career by grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds. Senior guard Courtney Hollander also notched a double-double, scoring 11 points and collecting 11 rebounds.
•  The Falcons are now 34-9 all-time in season-openers, winning the last six in a row and 17 of the last 18.
• On Saturday, senior guard Cici West scored 12 points off the bench while Hollander double-doubled (10 points, 10 rebounds) for the second night in a row as SPU fended off the Fresno Pacific in a 78-70 affair.
• This is the sixth consecutive year that Seattle Pacific has won its first two games and the fifth in a row that those two wins have come against Fresno Pacific and Humboldt State.
• Senior guard Lindsay Lee came off the bench for eight points, two rebounds, two steals and a team-high six assists.
• Seattle Pacific partakes in another California tournament next weekend at the Azusa Pacific West Region Crossover Classic. The Falcons take on hosts Azusa Pacific on Friday, followed by UC San Diego on Saturday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser opened the 2017-18 season with a 69-52 loss to UC San Diego Friday afternoon.
• The Tritons outscored SFU 33-20 in the second half, holding the Clan to only eight points in the fourth quarter.
• On Saturday, the Clan pulled away late, squeezing out a 63-59 victory against Cal State San Marcos in the final day of the CBU Lancers Tournament.
• Simon Fraser led after each quarter and held a five-point advantage entering the fourth quarter.
• Junior forward Sophie Swant (17 points), sophomore guard Nicole Vander Helm (13) and junior center Tayla Jackson (13) all rscored double figures.
• Simon Fraser, the only GNAC team to play last Monday, overcame an eight-point third-quarter deficit to defeat Cal Baptist 78-68 in non-conference action.
• Playing its third game in four nights, Simon Fraser outscored the Lancers 43-26 in the second half to improve to 2-1 this season. These same two teams will meet again on SFU’s home floor on Saturday at noon.
• Jackson finished with a game-high 25 points and 7 rebounds, leading five SFU players in double-figure scoring. Vander Helm totaled 14 points, sophomore guard Tayler Drynan tallied 12 points and 5 assists, while Swant and freshman guard Jessica Jones had 11 points and 5 rebounds each.
• Simon Fraser hosts its first game of the season today, as the Clan take on Hawaii Pacific at noon.

WESTERN OREGON
• Boasting five players in double-figures scoring, Western Oregon posted an 81-71 win over Dixie State on the first day of the Hampton Inn DII Shootout, hosted by the Wolves.
• Junior forward Taisha Thomas led all scorers with 15 points and added six rebounds in the winning effort. Senior forward Jasmine Miller (12 points), senior guard Sydney Azorr (11), senior guard Shelby Snook (10) and junior guard Kaylie Boschman (10) also figured in double-digit scoring for the Wolves. With nine rebounds, Boschma ended the day one board shy of a double-double while Snook was two rebounds away from reaching the mark.
• Jumping out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter, Western Oregon soared to a 70-50 win against Cal State San Bernardino to close out the Hampton Inn DII Shootout on Sunday.
• The Wolves also outworked CSUSB on the glass for a 45-35 advantage. Snook and Boschma pulled down eight rebounds each. In an all-around performance, Snook added a game-high four assists.
• Four Wolves reached double-figure scoring with Snook and Azorr sharing the game-high with 15 points each. Senior forward Savannah Heugly and junior forward Maddy Pape followed with a dozen points each.
• The Wolves will return to action on Friday, Nov. 17 as they travel to face Notre Dame de Namur in Belmont, Calif. Opening tip is set for 1 p.m.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington won its season opener for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons with an 86-72 win over Fresno Pacific on Friday. Five players finished in double-digit scoring, led by senior forward Hannah Stipanovich’s 20 points.
• Stipanovich was again the leading scorer with 13 points in a 54-50 win over Humboldt State last Saturday as the Vikings began the season 2-0.
• The Vikings have started the season 2-0 for the second straight year (third time since 2012-13).
• Through two games, WWU is shooting 44 for 99 (.444) from the field and 41 for 50 (.820) at the free-throw line. Friday’s match against FPU was the first time that five players figured in double-digit scoring for the Vikings since their conference match against Alaska Anchorage on Feb. 17, 2017.
• Western Washington is ranked No. 20 in the D2SIDA Preseason Media Poll as well as No. 3 in the West Region. Despite ending the 2016-17 season ranked 18th in the WBCA national poll, the Vikings are not listed in this year’s WBCA Preseason rankings.
• The Vikings return to California for the second consecutive weekend, facing UC San Diego on Friday and No. 16 Azusa Pacific one day later in the West Region Crossover Classic tournament, hosted by Azusa Pacific.
• Western Washington has begun the season against FPU, HSU, UCSD and APU each year since 2013-14. Vikings have faced UC San Diego each year since 2006-07 (4-11 all-time record).

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