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GNAC Seedings Still Undecided In Final Week
Alisha Breen has helped lead Montana State Billings into the conference tournament, where they can still be the No. 2 or 3 seed.
Alisha Breen has helped lead Montana State Billings into the conference tournament, where they can still be the No. 2 or 3 seed.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CHAMPIONS AGAIN: With two wins last week, extending their win streak to 18 games, Alaska Anchorage put itself in position to finish no worse than tied for first place, earning at least a share of the GNAC title for the second straight year. The Seawolves were picked to finish first place in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll and did not disappoint, rolling to a 17-1 conference record to this point.    

The Seawolves, who have been in the top-seven of both Division II polls all season, are ranked tied for No. 1 in the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II Poll with 11 first place votes and are tied for No. 2 in the D2SIDA Media Poll. They lead Division II in assists (642), steals (444) and steals per game (14.3) and are second in assists per game (20.7), rebounds (1,291), scoring margin (28.4), three-point field goals made (262) and turnovers forced (24.65 per game).

SEEDINGS TO BE DECIDED: Despite five teams clinching playoff spots already, the seedings of the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships are still to be decided over the final week. Alaska Anchorage holds a grasp of first place, but can still be caught by Western Washington. The Seawolves and Vikings play this week on Thursday night in Anchorage for a potential championship game preview.

While the Vikings can finish in first, they can also drop to third behind Montana State Billings if the two teams end up tied at the end of the regular season. Western Washington enters the week a game ahead of the Yellowjackets, but are faced with two tough road contests at Alaska Anchorage and Alaska.

Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene battle it out for fifth and sixth this week while Simon Fraser is the most secure in the fourth position, holding an 11-7 GNAC record. They will also be faced with two tough games in Alaska.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR? Alaska Anchorage forward Megan Mullings was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after averaging 18.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in the Seawolves two wins. The senior was named the GNAC Preseason Player of the Year and could be well on her way to receiving the season’s end award after leading the Seawolves to a 30-1 overall record. Mullings is sixth in the GNAC in points per game (16.1), while leading the conference in total points (482). She is also ninth in rebounding (6.2 boards per game) and first in field goal percentage, shooting at an off-the-charts .628 clip. She also averages 1.5 blocks per game, good for fifth in the GNAC. Mullings’ performances last week will only bolster her case, but she is faced by some stiff competition including Western Washington’s Taylor Peacocke and Kayla Bernsen, Simon Fraser’s Ellen Kett and Elisa Homer, Montana State Billings’ Alisha Breen and Saint Martin’s Megan Wiedeman.

ON THE COURT AND IN THE CLASSROOM: Seattle Pacific sophomore Jordan McPhee, with her 4.00 cumulative grade point average, leads a total of 47 selections to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Basketball All-Academic Team.

McPhee, a business major, is the only GNAC basketball player, men or women, to boast a 4.00 GPA. She leads 18 student-athletes on the team with GPAs of 3.70 or better and seven with GPAs or 3.90 or better. Seattle Pacific, Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings lead GNAC teams with seven selections each.

A total of 18 student-athletes are repeat selections, with six being named to the team for the third consecutive year. Alaska Anchorage senior guard Jenna Buchanan leads the list of three-time honorees after she was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 8 Team earlier in the season.

Other three-time selections include Central Washington senior guard Melanie Valdez, Montana State Billings senior forward Janiel Olson, Northwest Nazarene senior guard Taylor Simmons and senior forward Katie Swanson; Saint Martin’s senior guard Krista Stabler and Seattle Pacific senior center Molly Grager.

To qualify for the GNAC All-Academic teams, a student-athlete must be in their sophomore year of eligibility with a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or better.

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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 must

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.

2016 GNAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE

Thurs., Mar. 3

Game 1: No. 6 Seed vs. No. 3 Seed, 5:15 p.m.

Game 2: No. 5 Seed vs. No. 4 Seed, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Mar. 4

Game 3: Winner of Game 1 vs. No. 2 Seed, 5:15 p.m.

Game 4: Winner of Game 2 vs. No. 1 Seed, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Mar. 5

Game 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 7:30 p.m.

TOP PERFORMERS: Saint Martin’s forward Megan Wiedeman recorded two double-doubles last week, averaging 17 points and 13.5 rebounds in two games. She shot 93.9 percent from the free throw line and had five blocks… Western Washington guard Taylor Peacocke averaged 18.5 points last week and pushed her double-digit scoring streak to 25 games… Jordan Wilson averaged 15.5 points for Alaska, along with four rebounds. She paces the GNAC with 16.9 points per game this season…Taylor Simmons helped lead Northwest Nazarene to a playoff berth with 17.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, three assists and three steals per game in the Crusaders’ two victories… Western Oregon guard Sydney Azorr averaged 15.5 points last week, including a season-high 22 points at Northwest Nazarene… Simon Fraser senior guard Alisha Roberts helped lead Simon Fraser to a win in her final career home game. She hit the game-winning free throws with .5 seconds remaining in the Clan’s 63-61 win over Montana State Billings.

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