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Clan Solidify Position, Falcons Ascend Back Into Race
Simon Fraser earned to big road victories over Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene to climb closer to a postseason berth.
Simon Fraser earned to big road victories over Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene to climb closer to a postseason berth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

SEAWOLVES BACK ON TOP: For the first time in conference history, a Great Northwest Athletic Conference team sits at the top of both the Division II men’s and women’s basketball polls in the same week.

Alaska Anchorage’s women returned to the top spot for the second time in three weeks, ascending to No. 1 in the latest USA Today/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll. The Seawolves picked up nine of a possible 22 first place votes and 580 total points, one point more than No. 2 Lubbock Christian.

The Western Oregon men, meanwhile, rose to the No. 1 poll position for the first time in school history and took the top spot in both Division II polls. The Wolves are No. 1 in this week’s National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II Men’s Basketball Rankings, earning 11 of 16 first place votes and 394 total points. Western Oregon also assumed the No. 1 spot in the D2SIDA Division II Media Poll, earning nine of 14 first place votes and 335 total points.

Alaska Anchorage, who has been in the top-seven of both Division II polls all season, is currently riding a 14-game win streak. The Seawolves extended their streak with road wins over the weekend, beating Concordia, 59-32, on Thursday and Western Oregon, 77-42, on Saturday. Entering this week with a 26-1 overall record and 13-1 conference mark, Alaska Anchorage leads Division II in assists (562), assists per game (20.8), rebounds (1,145) and scoring margin (29.9) and are second in steals per game (14.5), three-point field goals made (233) and turnovers forced (24.96 per game).

The Alaska Anchorage women play two games at home this weekend, hosting Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday.

CLAN SOLIDIFY PLAYOFF POSITION BEHIND RECORD PERFORMANCE: Simon Fraser guard Elisa Homer set a GNAC record for made three pointers in a game in the Clan’s 87-65 victory over Northwest Nazarene on Thursday. Homer made 12 three-pointers, shattering the previous record of nine. Homer also finished with 40 points, the highest total this season in the GNAC in both men’s and women’s basketball. Homer shot 13 of 23 for the game and 12 of 20 from behind the arc. She is second in the nation in three-point field goals made per game with 4.16.

Homer’s teammate, Ellen Kett, had 11 assists in the game along with 11 points for a double-double. Kett leads the nation in three-point shooting percentage (56.6) and is ranked fourth in assists per game (6.6).

The Clan defeated Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington, two teams in current playoff positions, to move into sole possession of fourth place. They hold a 9-5 GNAC record, 11-8 overall, with a four game lead on seventh place.

FALCONS CLING TO PLAYOFF LIFE: After suffering a nine-game losing streak from the beginning of 2016, Seattle Pacific picked up its first two wins in GNAC play to put themselves back in position to grab a final playoff spot. The Falcons came away with arguably their biggest of the season, defeating playoff positioned Montana State Billings. The Falcons were victorious 52-43, holding the Yellowjackets to just 34.8 percent shooting from the field. Seattle Pacific forced 18 turnovers from MSUB and had a nine-point advantage on free throws.

Against Saint Martin’s, the Falcons had one of their top overall offensive performances, winning 71-60. The team shot 46.9 percent from the field and had three players in double-digit scoring. Seattle Pacific’s biggest advantage came on the boards, where they outrebounded Saint Martin’s 46-26.

The Falcons enter the week with a 5-9 GNAC record, 8-13 overall, but just one game back of sixth place Northwest Nazarene. With six games remaining in the regular season, the team still has time to make up ground. They are faced with two tough tests this week, however, on the road at Western Washington and Simon Fraser.

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 was 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.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS:

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.

GNAC TOURNAMENT UPCOMING: The 2016 GNAC Basketball Championships will take place Mar. 3-5 at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Wash. Advanced ticket

sales are now available by logging on to the GNAC’s ticket sales page on EventBrite.com. Ticket discounts are available on advance sales for single session passes and full tournament passes. Military members will also receive a 25 percent on tickets, but show valid military ID at the gate.

Both the men’s and women’s championship games on Saturday night will be aired as part of the American Sports Network’s Division II Showcase. The women’s championship game will be on Sat., Mar. 5, at 7:30 p.m.

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