CWU's Malcolm is POTY, Two Dykstra's Win Awards
GNAC Player of the Year Kassidy Malcolm averaged 18.1 points per game and was among the conference's leaders in free-throw and three-point percentage.
GNAC Player of the Year Kassidy Malcolm averaged 18.1 points per game and was among the conference's leaders in free-throw and three-point percentage.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – After establishing herself as one of the league’s premier three-level scorers and two-way players, Central Washington forward Kassidy Malcolm has been honored as the conference Player of the Year.

Malcolm earned Player of the Year honors after ranking second in the conference at 18.3 points per game, ranking ninth with 6.7 rebounds per game, ranking fourth with a .386 three-point percentage and leading the conference with an .860 free-throw percentage. The award is a perfect career-capper for the fifth-year senior playing in her hometown of Ellensburg. It comes on the heels of a season in which CWU went 13-5 in GNAC play for the No. 3 seed in the upcoming GNAC Championships, the first time the Wildcats finished third or higher in the GNAC since the 2003-2004 season.

Malcolm had 15 20-point games in 27 contests, with a high of 30 points on Feb. 3 against Alaska. She averaged 26.4 points during a torrid five-game stretch from Feb. 2-Feb. 12, which included games against Western Washington and Alaska Anchorage. Malcolm never averaged less than 11 points or six rebounds per game at any point during the season, and she set her season-high in rebounds in each of the regular season’s final two games, grabbing 12 boards on Feb. 24 and 13 on Feb. 26.

In other special awards, the Dykstra household might need a bigger trophy case, as Western Washington junior guard Avery Dykstra was named the Defensive Player of the Year while her sister Riley Dykstra won the GNAC Freshman of the Year award. Head coach Carmen Dolfo won her fifth career GNAC Coach of the Year award and her first since 2013 to complete the hardware haul for the Vikings, who enter the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships as the No. 1 seed.

The Dykstra sisters were lifesavers for a Vikings team that found itself scrambling for guard minutes after the season-ending knee injury to senior point guard Dani Iwami. Avery Dykstra has been a defensive lynchpin, starting all 21 games and contributing heavily to a suffocating Vikings unit that held opponents to just 56.1 points per game, which ranks 21st in Division II, and 34.3 percent shooting from the field, which ranks 12th in Division II.

Riley Dykstra has provided an infusion of energy and scoring off the bench for a deep Vikings squad throughout the regular season. She started only seven of 21 games, but still ranked third on the team in both points (8.2) and rebounds per game (5.5). Riley is shooting 48 percent from the field, 39 percent from three and 70 percent from the line.

Montana State Billings senior Cariann Kunkel was named Newcomer of the Year to complete the special awards. Kunkel transferred to MSUB from Wenatchee Valley Community College and immediately became a badly-needed secondary scoring option for the Yellowjackets behind star forward Taryn Shelley. Kunkel is averaging 11.5 points, 5.2 rebounds and two assists per game. She had a run of nine double-digit scoring performances in ten games from Dec. 17-Feb. 12, a streak which included her season-high 24 points in MSUB’s upset road win over Alaska Anchorage. Kunkel also earned a second-team All-GNAC selection.

Malcolm is joined by two Central Washington teammates on the all-conference first-team. Junior center Samantha Bowman is averaging 16.3 points and a staggering 15.4 rebounds per game, the most in Division II. She has already broken the GNAC single-season record with 386 rebounds, breaking the old record of 385 by SFU alum and Canadian Olympian Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe.

Bowman has recorded 21 double-doubles in 25 games, which ranks second in Division II. She has gone over 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game three times this season, including against Concordia Irvine on Dec. 18, where she scored 23 points with 29 rebounds, which tied the GNAC all-time single-game record. She is shooting 51 percent from the field and also averages 2.6 assists and 2.2 blocks per game.

Kizzah Maltezo is the final member of CWU’s three-headed monster to earn first-team recognition. Maltezo led the conference in scoring with 18.9 points per game. She ranks fifth in Division II in three-pointers attempted (225) and ninth in Division II in three-pointers made (77). Maltezo went off for 20-plus points 12 times in 27 games, including a run of four straight games with 25-plus points from Dec. 20-Jan. 20. Between Bowman (five), Maltezo (two) and Malcolm (one), Central Washington combined to win half of the GNAC’s Player of the Week awards this season.

Western Washington senior Emma Duff is the Vikings’ representative on the first team. Duff ranks sixth in the GNAC with 15.7 points per game and eighth with 6.7 rebounds per game. She is shooting 46 percent from the field and 83 percent from the line. Duff recorded a season and career-high 29 points in a 76-74 road win over Central Washington on Feb. 12. Duff led the regular-season champion Vikings in steals (29) and blocks (20) and tied for the team lead in assists (44). She scored 345 points, which was double the amount of her next-closest teammate.

Shelley also earned first-team honors for Montana State Billings. The senior forward ranks second in the conference with 8.2 rebounds per game and ranks seventh in points per game (15.3), field-goal percentage (.491) and free-throw percentage (.806). Shelley recorded eight double-doubles this season, the most impressive of which was a 30-point, 14-rebound effort against Central Washington on Feb. 24. The 30 points were a career-high for Shelley and the 14 rebounds were a season-high.

Tennae Voliva wraps up the first-team honorees for Alaska Anchorage. The senior forward led the Seawolves with 12.7 points and seven rebounds per game. Voliva is the anchor of the Seawolves’ turnover-hungry defense, but she also proved she could carry a scoring load by scoring in double figures in 13 of the season’s final 14 games. Voliva recorded six double-doubles, led by a 23-point, 11-rebound effort against Alaska on Feb. 12. An efficient scorer, Voliva shot 49 percent from the field and 84 percent from the free-throw line.

Western Washington led the GNAC with five players earning all-conference acclaim. In addition to Duff on the first team, Avery Dykstra made the second team while Riley Dykstra, Mollie Olson and Brooke Walling earned honorable mention status. Central Washington, Northwest Nazarene and MSUB were next with three honorees apiece.

Player of the Year: Kassidy Malcolm, Central Washington
Coach of the Year: Carmen Dolfo, Western Washington
Defensive Player of the Year:
Avery Dykstra, Western Washington
Freshman of the Year: Riley Dykstra, Western Washington
Newcomer of the Year: Cariann Kunkel, Montana State Billings

FIRST TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Kassidy Malcolm Central Washington F 5-11 Sr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg)
*@ Samantha Bowman Central Washington C 6-3 Jr. Zillah, Wash. (Zillah)
*@ Emma Duff Western Washington F 6-0 Sr. Tumwater, Wash. (Black Hills)
* Kizzah Maltezo Central Washington G 5-5 Sr. Honokaa, Hawaii (Concordia (Ore.) Univ.)
*@ Tennae Voliva Alaska Anchorage F 6-0 Sr. Anchorage, Alaska (East Anchorage)
*@^ Taryn Shelley Montana State Billings F 6-3 Sr. Shoreline, Wash. (Washington State Univ.)
SECOND TEAM          
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
+^ Jessica Jones Simon Fraser G 5-9 Sr. Richmond, B.C. (McMath)
Nyalam Thabach Northwest Nazarene F 6-3 So. Boise, Idaho (UC Santa Barbara)
Erin Jenkins Northwest Nazarene F 6-0 Jr. Lompoc, Calif. (Cabrillo)
Cariann Kunkel Montana State Billings F 5-10 Jr. Hamilton, Mont. (Wenatchee Valley CC)
Jessica Wisotzki Simon Fraser F 6-2 So. Langley, B.C. (Walnut Grove)
Avery Dykstra Western Washington G 5-10 Jr. Everson, Wash. (Lynden Christian)
Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
Pearle Green Alaska G 5-7 Fr. Galena, Alaska (Galena)
Kortney Nelson Montana State Billings G 5-8 Fr. Scobey, Mont. (Scobey)
Jordan Pinson Northwest Nazarene G 5-5 Jr. El Paso, Texas (Andress)
Rian Clear Saint Martin’s G/F 5-10 Fr. Pullman, Wash. (Walla Walla)
# Claire Dingus Saint Martin’s G/F 6-0 Jr. Spokane Valley, Wash. (University)
Ashley Alter Seattle Pacific G 5-11 Sr. Stanwood, Wash. (Stanwood)
Natalie Hoff Seattle Pacific F 6-2 Sr. Beaverton, Ore. (Southridge)
Meadow Aragon Western Oregon F 5-11 So. Grass Valley, Calif. (Nevada Union)
Tresai McCarver Western Oregon G 5-5 Jr. Renton, Wash. (Kentridge)
Riley Dykstra Western Washington G 5-10 Fr. Everson, Wash. (Lynden Christian)
Mollie Olson Western Washington G 5-10 Jr. Napavine, Wash. (Napavine)
Brooke Walling Western Washington F 6-3 So. Vancouver, Wash. (Fresno State Univ.)
* - Unanimous Selection        
+ - First Team Selection in 2019-20     
# - Second Team Selection in 2019-20    
@ - Honorable Mention In 2019-20      
^ - Honorable Mention in 2018-19