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Vikings Take Women's Hoops Regular Season Title
Emma Duff (No. 12) and Western Washington earned the No. 1 seed in the GNAC Championships after compiling a 4.07 PRS ranking.
Emma Duff (No. 12) and Western Washington earned the No. 1 seed in the GNAC Championships after compiling a 4.07 PRS ranking.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – After a thrilling and turbulent regular season interrupted by postponements, cancellations and rescheduled games, Western Washington women’s basketball weathered the storm to win the 2021-22 GNAC regular-season championship and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships, which begin on Wednesday.

The Vikings are on top based on the conference’s Points Rating System (PRS). The Vikings finished with a PRS mark of 4.07, just ahead of Alaska Anchorage’s 4.03 and Central Washington’s 3.94.

Western Washington finished the year with a 10-4 mark in GNAC play and an overall record of 18-4. The Vikings are led by senior guard Emma Duff, who averaged 15.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line. They played lockdown defense all season long, holding opponents to a conference-leading 56.4 points per game and 34 percent shooting from the field.

Although they lost two of three to end the season, the Vikings stacked several marquee wins early on in the schedule. They achieved a regular-season sweep of Alaska Anchorage, winning 53-45 in Anchorage on January 20 and 63-50 in Bellingham on February 19, and also tallied a 74-72 road win over Central Washington on February 12.

Alaska Anchorage will head up the other side of the bracket as the No. 2 seed after winning nine of their last 10 games to end the season. The Seawolves lead the conference in steals per game (12.4) and turnover margin (+5.96). Forward Tennae Voliva is pacing UAA with 12.7 points and seven rebounds per game.

Central Washington will be a dangerous No. 3 seed, as the Wildcats boast the GNAC’s top-scoring offense at 73.7 points per game. Individually, CWU features the conference’s top two scorers in Kizzah Maltezo (18.9 points per game) and Kassidy Malcolm (18.3) as well as Division II’s leading rebounder Samantha Bowman (15.4 rebounds per game), who broke the GNAC single-season record with 386 rebounds and counting this season.

Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings follow as the No. 4 and No. 5 seeds, respectively, while Simon Fraser earned the No. 6 seed after beating Western Washington in dramatic fashion with a 69-67 overtime victory on the regular season’s final day. Seattle Pacific, Western Oregon, Saint Martin’s and Alaska finished in seeds 7-10.

The GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships begin on Wednesday with first-round games starting at 2:15 p.m. No. 7 Seattle Pacific will play No. 10 Alaska at Royal Brougham Pavilion in Seattle while No. 8 Western Oregon will play No. 9 Saint Martin’s at Marcus Pavilion in Lacey.

Quarterfinal games will be played on Thursday, with two games in Lacey and two games in Seattle. The Lacey site will feature No. 4 Northwest Nazarene playing No. 5 Montana State Billings at noon, followed by No. 1 Western Washington playing the WOU/SMU winner at 2:15 p.m. The Seattle site will have No. 3 Central Washington play No. 6 Simon Fraser at noon and No. 2 Alaska Anchorage play the SPU/UAF winner at 2:15 p.m.

The semifinal games will be played at noon and 2:15 p.m. in Marcus Pavilion with the championship game taking place on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. All games at the GNAC Basketball Championships will be streamed live at GNAC.tv.

Tickets for the GNAC Basketball Championships will go on sale beginning at noon PT on Sunday, Feb. 27. Single-session tickets will be available for $13 for general admission seats and $18 for reserved seats. General admission tickets for seniors 60 and older, high school and college students and children between 6 and 12 years of age are $8. Children five and under are admitted free.

Tournament passes for all games, regardless of venue, will be available for $48 for general admission seats and $65 for reserved seats. General admission tournament passes for seniors 60 and older, high school and college students and children between 6 and 12 years of age are $30.

County health and safety protocols will be in place for fans attending tournament contests at Seattle Pacific (King County) and Saint Martin's (Thurston County). At both venues, all fans attending the tournament are required to wear facemasks regardless of vaccination status.

GNAC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Mar. 2 - First Round
No. 8 Western Oregon vs. No. 9 Saint Martin's (at Lacey), 2:15 p.m.
No. 7 Seattle Pacific vs. No. 10 Alaska (at Seattle), 2:15 p.m.

Thursday, Mar. 3 - Quarterfinals
No. 4 Northwest Nazarene vs. No. 5 Montana State Billings (at Lacey), Noon
No. 3 Central Washington vs. No. 6 Simon Fraser (at Seattle), Noon
No. 1 Western Washington vs. Western Oregon or Saint Martin's (at Lacey), 2:15 p.m.
No. 2 Alaska Anchorage vs. Seattle Pacific or Alaska (at Seattle), 2:15 p.m.

Friday, Mar. 4 - Semifinals (at Lacey)
Semifinal Game 1, Noon
Semifinal Game 2, 2:15 p.m.

Saturday, Mar. 5 - Championship (at Lacey)
Championship Game, 5:00 p.m.

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