Season Continues With 2nd Full Week Of Action
Central Washington won both games on its home court to open the season. The Wildcats defeated San Francisco State 59-39 and Hawaii Pacific 51-49.
Central Washington won both games on its home court to open the season. The Wildcats defeated San Francisco State 59-39 and Hawaii Pacific 51-49.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

EARLY START FOR PRESEASON FAVORITES: Alaska Anchorage took an early start to the 2015-16 season, playing its first counting game on Oct. 30 at the D2 CCAA Tip-Off Classic in Anaheim, Calif. The Seawolves cruised through the tournament, winning all three games and have since started 8-0 on the season.

The GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Megan Mullings has had a strong start to the season despite just playing 20.3 minutes per game. Mullings leads the team in points per game (16.7) and rebounds per game (5.9).

With the Seawolves generally winning in dominant fashion, they have had the luxury of spreading minutes around among the team. Jenna Buchanan has had a hot start to the year, putting up 14 points per game and shooting .493 from behind the arc, hitting 37 of 75 shots from long range.

The Seawolves entered the season ranked No. 7 in the USA Today Division II Coaches Poll after finishing 29-2 last year. They were also nearly a unanimous selection to repeat as the GNAC champions in the preseason coaches poll.

Alaska Anchorage recently defeated Dixie State 122-52 on Nov. 13 at home, setting a school record against a Division II opponent for points scored and were just five points short of the GNAC single-game record. The Seawolves finished the week up with a 91-42 victory over Stanislaus State on Nov. 14 and are currently in Hawaii for three games over the week.

ROAD WARRIORS: Seattle Pacific opened its season in a hostile environment at Humboldt State for the West Region Challenge. The Falcons took on the Lumberjacks in the first game, but rolled over the host team with an 82-58 victory on Nov. 13. The ‘Jacks entered the season as the No. 3 ranked team in the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s preseason coaches poll.

The following day, the Falcons routed Fresno Pacific 89-43. In both games, Seattle Pacific was led by a complete team effort, with four players reaching double digit points in both contests. Jordan McPhee led the team with a combined 29 points. The two victories earned the Falcons the Red Lion Team of the Week.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: In contrast to Seattle Pacific’s strong road start, Central Washington hosted the CWU Crossover which included Concordia, Hawaii Pacific and San Francisco State. The Wildcats got their season off to a good start, with wins over both HPU and SFSU.

The Wildcats defeated Hawaii Pacific 59-39 in their opening game of the season. The defense led the way for CWU, holding the Gators to just 15.9 percent shooting from the field. No Wildcat player reached double-digit points, but it was no matter as the defense put in a dominant effort.

Against San Francisco State, Jasmine Parker took control of the game with 21 points after shooting 10 of 14 from the field. Her performance led the Wildcats to a narrow 51-49 victory on Nov. 14. Jasmin Edwards dished out 10 assists and pulled down seven rebounds after playing all 40 minutes in the game. The Seawolves, Falcons and Wildcats are the lone GNAC teams to start the season undefeated.

FIRST DIVISION II WIN: Newcomer Concordia played its first two matches in the NCAA Division II, traveling to Ellensburg, Wash. for the CWU Challenge. In their first game, the Cavaliers fell to Hawaii Pacific 87-68 on Nov. 13. Sierra Dean led the team with 18 points, but HPU shot 50.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from long range to take down Concordia.

The Cavaliers answered back with a 64-41 victory over San Francisco State the following day, holding the Gators to 25.4 percent shooting from the field. Four players reached double-digit points for Concordia, with Keesha Sarman putting up 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

YELLOWJACKET CHALLENGE: Montana State Billings hosted the GNAC/PacWest Yellowjacket Challenge on Nov. 13 and 14, joined by Simon Fraser, Academy of Art and No. 3 ranked Cal Baptist. Both MSUB and SFU were not able to pick up a win at the tournament, with the two PacWest teams proving to be tough.

The Yellowjackets played a strong game against Academy of Art, but fell 69-67. Alisha Breen scored 37 points in the game, shooting 19 of 21 from the charity stripe. The effort from Breen was not enough for the victory, but it did earn her the first GNAC Player of the Week award of the season.

Simon Fraser was also narrowly defeated by Academy of Art, falling 71-66. Elisa Homer led the team with 18 points and Rachel Fradgley put up her first double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Both teams struggled against the preseason No. 3 ranked team in Cal Baptist. Simon Fraser fell 79-54 and MSUB was defeated 72-52. Fragdley had her second double-double in as many games to start the season with 11 points and 12 rebounds.

EARLY STANDINGS: Alaska Anchorage’s start puts it clearly out in front with the rest of the conference playing just two games. Western Washington, Northwest Nazarene and Alaska each opened the season with a 1-1 record. Saint Martin’s fell in its lone game and Western Oregon fell twice at the CSUEB Conference Challenge in Hayward, Calif.

COMING UP: Alaska and Alaska Anchorage play three games on their Hawaii trips, with the Seawolves already winning their first one on Tuesday. Western Oregon hosts the WOU/Doubletree by Hilton D2 Shootout, beginning on Sat., Nov. 21. They will be joined by Saint Martin’s, Chico State and Evergreen State.

Elsewhere, travel partners Seattle Pacific and Western Washington will head back down to California for the West Region Crossover Classic in Azusa. They will each play Azusa Pacific and UC San Diego. Central Washington will look to stay undefeated at the NDNU Tournament in Belmont, Calif. where they will take on host Notre Dame de Namur and Academy of Art.


Alisha Breen, Montana State Billings
F • 5-10 • Junior • Choteau, Mont.

Breen scored 52 points in the Yellowjackets’ games against Cal Baptist and Academy of Art in the GNAC/PacWest Yellowjacket Challenge. She just missed a double-double with 37 points and nine rebounds against the Urban Knights, tying her for the seventh-best single game scoring performance in GNAC history. She shot 42.7 percent from the field and average 8.5 rebounds and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Also nominated: Sierra Dean (Concordia), Jaylee Mays (Alaska), Jordan McPhee (Seattle Pacific), Taylor Peacocke (Western Washington), Krista Stabler (Saint Martin’s), Lexi Tubbs (Northwest Nazarene).