Three Teams Locked Atop GNAC Standings
Western Washington will travel to Saint Martin's on Wednesday for the ROOT SPORTS GNAC Basketball Game of the Week.
Western Washington will travel to Saint Martin's on Wednesday for the ROOT SPORTS GNAC Basketball Game of the Week.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

SURPRISE LEADERS: While Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington were picked to finish first and second in the GNAC this season, they have been joined by Montana State Billings at the top of the conference standings through six games. The Yellowjackets have won three straight games to push their record up to 5-1, even with the Seawolves and Vikings, after being picked to finish seventh in the GNAC Women’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll. The Yellowjackets’ lone loss in conference play came from Alaska Anchorage on New Year’s Eve.

Montana State Billings won both its games last week by double digits, defeating Saint Martin’s 64-49 on Thursday and Seattle Pacific 61-50 on Saturday. The Yellowjackets used a top defensive effort, holding both oppositions under 40 percent shooting.

The return of the 2013-14 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year Janiel Olson has lifted the Yellowjackets defense to another level. While chipping in with 6.9 points per game, Olson leads the team and is ranked fourth in the GNAC with eight rebounds per game. In her most recent efforts, Olson pulled down a GNAC season high 18 rebounds against Saint Martin’s, followed by 14 against Seattle Pacific.

Alisha Breen, the GNAC Player of the Week to open the season, has been the team’s most dynamic offensive threat. Breen ranks third in the GNAC with 16.8 points per game, shooting just under 39 percent from the field. She is also the second leading rebounder on the Yellowjackets, grabbing 6.9 boards a contest. Breen’s 36.2 minutes played per game ranks 27th in Division II.

SEAWOLVES CONTINUE TO CRUISE: Alaska Anchorage has undoubtedly been one of the top teams in Division II this season. With an 18-1 overall record, the Seawolves rank among the nation’s best in multiple statistical categories. After dominant home wins this week over Western Oregon and Concordia, Alaska Anchorage has won six straight games since suffering its lone setback of the year.

The Seawolves lead all of Division II in assists (408), assists per game (21.5), scoring margin (31.5) and steals (279). They are also ranked second in turnovers forced (26.47), three-point field goals made (173) and attempted (457), steals per game (14.7) and rebounds (805).

The reigning GNAC Defensive Player of the Year, Kiki Robertson, continues to be a steals and assists machine, ranking fifth in the nation in assists (101) and seventh in steals (46). She is also ninth in assist / turnover ratio (2.81). Robertson recorded a GNAC season high nine steals against Western Oregon on Thursday. Her teammate, Jenna Buchanan, became the Seawolves all-time leader for three pointers this week with 193 in her career.

AVERAGING 30: Alaska forward Jordan Wilson put together one of the best weeks this season, averaging 30 points and 8.5 rebounds in two games. Wilson scored a season-high 35 points against Concordia, followed by 25 points against Western Oregon. Wilson led the Nanooks to their first two conference wins this season after dropping seven straight contests. She enters the week second in scoring in the GNAC with 17.4 points per game.

IN THE RANKINGS: Alaska Anchorage remains atop the D2SIDA West Region Poll this week, receiving all six first place votes. The Seawolves did not budge from No. 4 in the D2SIDA National Poll or from No. 2 in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association/USA Today National Poll.

After suffering its first GNAC loss, Western Washington fell from No. 6 to No. 9 in the regional poll. Seattle Pacific dropped out of the top 10 while Central Washington reentered the poll at No. 10.

Alaska Anchorage, the preseason favorites to win the GNAC for a second straight season, is living up to the expectations with a 18-1 start.

After being picked to place second in the coaches poll, Western Washington rebounded from a 1-3 start to win four straight games, now sitting on top of the GNAC with a 5-1 conference record. The Vikings played in two competitive tournaments in California to start the season, facing top teams from the PacWest and California Collegiate Athletic Conference. The Vikings picked up two victories at the Oahu Thanksgiving Classic, defeating Chaminade 61-53 on Thanksgiving Day and Hawaii Pacific 64-62 on Friday. The Vikings then defeated both Alaska and Alaska Anchorage to start the GNAC season.

Seattle Pacific was picked third in the preseason poll and started the year similarly to the Vikings, joining them in California. After an excellent showing in week one with victories over Humboldt State and Fresno Pacific, the Falcons fell twice to UC San Diego and Azusa Pacific. Seattle Pacific then responded with two wins at home to open conference play, defeating Western Oregon and Concordia. Since then, they have slipped to a three game losing streak and a record of 6-7 overall, 3-3 GNAC.

GNAC BASKETBALL GAMES TO AIR ON ROOT SPORTS, AMERICAN SPORTS NETWORK: Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s and women’s basketball returns to ROOT SPORTS during the 2015-16 season, with a five-game telecast schedule. Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s men’s basketball played the first ROOT SPORTS televised game on Sat., Jan. 9. The first women’s game is this week on Wed., Jan. 13, featuring Western Washington at Saint Martin’s.

In addition to the ROOT SPORTS schedule, the championship doubleheader of the GNAC’s postseason tournament on Sat., Mar. 5, will be carried live throughout the country as part of the Division II Basketball National Showcase on the American Sports Network. The men’s game tips off at 5:30 p.m. PST and will be followed by the women’s title game at 7:30 p.m. PST.

In all, the GNAC will be featured either regionally or nationally three times in January, twice in February and twice in March. The 2015-16 campaign marks the seventh consecutive season in which the GNAC will have a presence on ROOT SPORTS, the premier regional sports network in the Pacific Northwest, and the third consecutive year in which the conference has featured a “Game of the Week” series on the network.

“The GNAC is extremely pleased to continue our Game of the Week series on ROOT SPORTS,” said conference commissioner Dave Haglund. “This has been a successful and long-standing association and helps expose our great brand of basketball to fans in our conference footprint and beyond. And we are looking forward to featuring our conference tournament championship games on the DII basketball showcase and reaching an even wider audience for the GNAC.”

GNAC Women’s Basketball Games On ROOT SPORTS

Wed., Jan. 13: Western Washington at Saint Martin’s, 8 p.m. (Pacific)

Thurs., Feb. 11: Western Oregon at Montana State Billings, 6 p.m. (Pacific)

For satellite subscribers, ROOT SPORTS can be found on DirecTV channel 687 and Dish Network channel 426.

TOP PERFORMANCES: Tia Briggs averaged 13 points and six rebounds for Western Washington in two games last week, scoring 21 points against Northwest Nazarene… Taylor Simmons was all over the stat sheet for week, totaling 27 points, seven assists, seven rebounds and five steals for Northwest Nazarene… Central Washington’s Jasmine Parker recorded her third double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds against Simon Fraser. Saint Martin’s Krista Stabler scored 32 points against Seattle Pacifi


The following GNAC players have been selected to all-tournament teams during the 2015-16 season:

Yellowjacket GNAC/PacWest Challenge: Alisha Breen, MSUB; Rachel Fradgley, SFU.

Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational: Stephanie Toumson, UAF; Jordan Wilson UAF.

Sodexo Tip-Off Classic: Hannah Rodrigues, SPU; McKenna Daly, Concordia.

Seawolf Hoops Classic: Christina Davis (MVP), UAA; Megan Mullings, UAA.

South Point Holiday Hoops Classic: Monica Grimsrud, MSUB; Taylor Peacocke, WWU; Aleisha Hathaway, WWU.


Jordan Wilson
Alaska, F, 5-11, Jr., Henderson, Colo. – Prairie View

Wilson averaged 30 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as the Nanooks scored home wins over Concordia and Western Oregon. She blistered the nets for 35 points on 13 of 18 from the field and 9 of 11 from the free throw line and also pulled down 12 rebounds in the 75-66 win over Concordia. Her 13 field goals made is the third best single game performance in GNAC history. Wilson added 25 points on 9 of 13 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free throw line in Saturday’s 75-55 win over Western Oregon. Wilson enters the week second in the GNAC in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game, and is sixth in field goal percentage (.528) Also Nominated: Tia Briggs (Western Washington), Elisa Homer (Simon Fraser), Janiel Olson (Montana State Billings), Jasmine Parker (Central Washington), Kiki Robertson (Alaska Anchorage), Taylor Simmons (Northwest Nazarene), Krista Stabler (Saint Martin’s).