MSUB Rides 7-Game Win Streak To Team Of Week Honors
The Yellowjackets defeated two of the GNAC's top teams in Western Washington and Simon Fraser, advancing their winning streak to seven games.
The Yellowjackets defeated two of the GNAC's top teams in Western Washington and Simon Fraser, advancing their winning streak to seven games.

Monday, January 25, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Montana State Billings women’s basketball team finished the week in the same position they entered it in: tied for first in the GNAC. The Yellowjackets faced tough competition, defeating Western Washington 53-47 on Thursday and Simon Fraser 67-62 on Saturday at home, earning the Red Lion Team of the Week award with the victories.

“It is a great honor for our team and our program,” said head coach Kevin Woodin. I have been very proud of our players on their commitment this season and how hard they’re working to improve each week. I think we’ve come a long way since the start of the season.”

With the victories, MSUB moved to 9-1 in GNAC play, 13-5 overall. They are tied with Alaska Anchorage for first place in the conference after being picked to finish tied for seventh in the preseason coaches poll. Additionally, the Yellowjackets entered the regional poll for the first time this season, ranked ninth in the D2SIDA West Region rankings.

“We’ve become a better team each month. Our goal is to continue with that and be playing our best basketball in March,” Woodin said. “The players have bought into our system. I think we’ve established ourselves as being a very good defensive team with a lot of weapons on offense.”

In a battle for first place against Western Washington, the Yellowjackets defense forced 18 turnovers and held the Vikings to under 50 points for the first time all season. Alisha Breen led the team with 21 points, shooting 8 of 18 from the field over 39 minutes. Monica Grimsrud added 14 points, Janiel Olson grabbed a game high nine rebounds and Rylee Kane dished out six assists and three steals.

Breen again led the Yellowjackets against Simon Fraser, scoring 22 points over another 39 minutes. She was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week with the two performances. Grimsrud scored another 16 points, Olson grabbed 13 rebounds and Kane had six assists.

In both games last week, the Yellowjackets fell behind by nine points in the first quarter.

“They were both hard fought victories,” Woodin said. “I was proud of our team for persevering after getting off to poor starts in both games. We showed a lot of poise and made a lot key free throws and key stops over the final minutes to secure the wins.”

On the season, the Yellowjackets have held opponents to 59.7 points per game, the third lowest total in the GNAC. Breen is second in the conference in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game, while Olson is second in rebounding with 8.6 boards per contest.

Montana State Billings returns to the court on Thursday, hosting Alaska. They then welcome Alaska Anchorage in a potential matchup for sole possesion of first place on Saturday.