Yellowjackets' Breen Leads Women's Hoop All-GNAC Team
Despite missing the entire 2016-17 campaign with a knee injury, Alisha Breen was named the GNAC Player of the Year after leading the Yellowjackets back to the GNAC Championships this season.
Despite missing the entire 2016-17 campaign with a knee injury, Alisha Breen was named the GNAC Player of the Year after leading the Yellowjackets back to the GNAC Championships this season.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. – Not many student-athletes return from a season-ending injury firing on all cylinders – unless your name is Alisha Breen.

Despite missing the entire 2016-17 campaign with a season-ending knee injury, the Montana State Billings’ forward bounced back strong for her senior season as she is selected by coaches as the 2017-18 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year, leading the selections to the GNAC Women’s Basketball All-Conference Team.

Breen, a fifth-year senior, has lived up to her 2017-18 Preseason GNAC Player of the Year expectations after playing a key role in the Yellowjackets’ return to the GNAC Championships following a 19-win season. Leading the league and 12th in Division II with 20.8 points per game, Breen has also been productive on the boards with 9.5 rebounds per game.

Breen enters the GNAC Championships with 14 double-doubles (14th in Division II) and ended the season with her highest scoring output after tallying a season-high 32 points in MSUB’s 76-63 season-finale win over Western Washington. She is third all-time in GNAC history with 1,835 career points and is the GNAC all-time leader with 524 made free throws.

Joining Breen as another established name in the GNAC women’s basketball landscape is Alaska Anchorage head coach Ryan McCarthy, who was named the league’s Coach of the Year for the third time in his career. Seattle Pacific junior forward Jordan McPhee was named the Defensive Player of the Year.

Saint Martin’s guard Saniah Simpson-Patu was selected as the Freshman of the Year while Western Washington sophomore guard Dani Iwami claimed Newcomer of the Year to round out the special awards.

A two-time First Team All-Conference selection, Breen leads an experienced cast of upperclassmen to First Team All-GNAC recognition. Breen is joined by Alaska Anchorage junior forward/center Hannah Wandersee, Northwest Nazarene senior guard Lexi Tubbs, McPhee, Concordia junior forward Bailey Cartwright and Central Washington senior guard Jasmin Edwards.

Guiding the Seawolves to the program’s eighth consecutive postseason appearance, McCarthy earns his second-career GNAC coaching honor. Alaska Anchorage (25-3, 18-2 GNAC) finished the season by sharing its fourth straight regular season title with Northwest Nazarene. The Seawolves are the top GNAC team in a number of categories this season, leading the league in scoring margin (+14.5), assists (19.2 per game), steals (14.3 per game) turnover margin (+6.93) and assist/turnover ratio (1.2).

McPhee, the Defensive Player of the Year, helped Seattle Pacific to its second consecutive GNAC Championships appearance with her production on both ends of the court. The junior paced a Falcons team that led the GNAC in scoring defense (allowed 60.9 points per game) while limiting opponents to a 38.6 percent shooting from the field. McPhee leads the Falcons and is fifth in the league with 14.4 points per game and is fourth in the GNAC 2.04 steals per contest.

Carrying the offensive load for the Saints all season, Simpson-Patu made an instant impact for a Saint Martin’s team that eclipsed its 2016-17 overall and conference win totals. Simpson-Patu was seventh and 13th in the GNAC with 14.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. The only Saints’ player to start all 28 games this year, the guard leads all freshmen in both categories.

Joining Western Washington from West Region rival Hawaii Pacific this season, Iwami made an instant impact for a Vikings squad that was among GNAC leaders in field goal and three-point field goal percentage. Averaging 9.4 points per game, the sophomore finished second in the conference with 58 three-point makes and averaged four assists per game, good for sixth in the league.

Wandersee received her first all-GNAC honor for her role in helping the Seawolves to their fourth straight 20-win season. She paced the UAA offense with 14.6 points per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. Her dominance didn’t stop there as she was eighth in the GNAC with 6.4 rebounds per game and recorded a conference-best 1.5 blocks per game.

For a majority of the year, the Nighthawks relied heavily on their balanced scoring attack to claim the No. 1 seed heading into the GNAC Championships. Coupled with the scoring efficiency of Tubbs, Northwest Nazarene looked unbeatable late in the season as it ended the year 22-3, 18-2 GNAC. During the Nighthawks’ current 13-game win streak, Tubbs led the league with 19.6 points per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the floor. For the year, she is second in the GNAC with 16.2 points per game and is ninth in the league with 6.4 rebounds per game.

A double-double machine all year, Cartwright finished the season with 13.8 points and a GNAC-best 10.8 rebounds per game as she accounted for 18 double-doubles, which ranks third in Division II. Cartwright led the Cavaliers in rebounding in all but four contests and corralled 18 rebounds on two occasions this season.

Edwards was honored for her reliability on the offensive end of the floor. A second-team selection last year, the senior finished the regular season with 4.71 assists per game and was the Wildcats’ leading scorer on nine occasions this season. She currently sits third all-time in GNAC history with 562 assists.

Alaska Anchorage, Concordia, Northwest Nazarene and Seattle Pacific led the GNAC with three all-conference selections. Of the 21 honorees, 13 were seniors while seven were repeat selections.

Player of the Year: Alisha Breen, Montana State Billings
Coach of the Year: Ryan McCarthy, Alaska Anchorage
Defensive Player of the Year: Jordan McPhee, Seattle Pacific
Freshman of the Year: Saniah Simpson-Patu, Saint Martin's
Newcomer of the Year: Dani Iwami, Western Washington

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
*%! Alisha Breen Montana State Billings F 5-10 Sr. Choteau, Mont. (Choteau)
* Hannah Wandersee Alaska Anchorage F/C 6-2 Jr. Kodiak, Alaska (Kodiak)
*@ Lexi Tubbs Northwest Nazarene G 5-11 Sr. Turlock, Calif. (Modesto Christian)
* Jordan McPhee Seattle Pacific G 5-10 Jr. Normandy Park, Wash. (Mount Rainier)
Bailey Cartwright Concordia F 6-1 Jr. Pasco, Wash. (Chiawana)
*# Jasmin Edwards Central Washington G 5-5 Sr. Lynwood, Wash. (Lynnwood)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
@ Courtney Hollander Seattle Pacific F 6-0 Sr. Lynden, Wash. (Lynden Christian)
Shelby Cloninger Alaska Anchorage F 6-0 Sr. Kamiah, Idaho (North Idaho Coll.)
Danielle Jardine Northwest Nazarene F 5-11 Jr. Nampa, Idaho (Nampa)
Sophie Swant Simon Fraser F 5-11 Jr. North Vancouver, B.C. (Seycove)
@ Danielle Hartzog Concordia G 5-9 Sr. Beaverton, Ore. (Colorado Mesa Univ.)
Hannah Stipanovich Western Washington F/C 6-1 Sr. St. Louis, Mo. (Metro State Univ.)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Lexi Carpenter Alaska G 5-9 So. Yakima, Wash. (East Valley)
Yasmeen Goo Alaska Anchorage G 5-10 So. Daly City, Calif. (Westmoor)
Alexis Pana Central Washington G 5-9 Sr. Seattle, Wash. (Ballard)
Keesha Sarman Concordia G 5-6 Jr. Union, Ore. (Union)
@ Rylee Kane Montana State Billings G 5-6 Sr. Red Lodge, Mont. (Red Lodge)
McKenna Walker Northwest Nazarene G 5-9 Jr. Moses Lake, Wash. (Moses Lake)
@ Elin Johansson Saint Martin's F 6-1 Sr. Gothenburg, Sweden (Sanda Gymnasium)
Rachel Shim Seattle Pacific G 5-7 Sr. Sammamish, Wash. (Skyline)
Savannah Heugly Western Oregon F 5-11 Sr. Tualatin, Ore. (Blue Mountain CC)
* - Unanimous Selection              
+ - First Team Selection In 2016-17        
# - Second Team Selection In 2016-17        
@ - Honorable Mention In 2016-17        
% - Second Team In 2015-16 
! - Honorable Mention In 2014-15