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Alaska Anchorage Leads Women's Basketball Tourney Field
UAA is the top seed in the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.
UAA is the top seed in the conference tournament for the second consecutive season.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. - The No. 1 team in the nation leads the field of six teams that will participate in the 2016 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships, which begin Thursday at Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion in Lacey, Wash.

Alaska Anchorage, currently No. 1 in both the WBCA/USA Today Division II Top-25 Poll and in the NCAA West Region Rankings, is the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The Seawolves enter the tournament at 30-2 overall, 18-2 GNAC, but saw a season-long 19-game win streak ended by Simon Fraser on Saturday night. The Seawolves are also the defending tournament champion and will be looking for their fourth tournament championship.

Western Washington edged ahead of Montana State Billings on the final night of the regular season to earn the No. 2 seed and the other first round bye. The Vikings (20-8, 16-4 GNAC) earned the second position with a 99-54 win at Alaska on Saturday, coupled with a 69-55 loss by Montana State Billings at Central Washington. Western Washington was one of only two teams to defeat Alaska Anchorage this season, proving the Vikings are capable of beating anyone on a given night.

Montana State Billings enters the GNAC Championships as the No. 3 seed after missing the tournament in 2015. The Yellowjackets were picked to finish tied for seventh place in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll, but instead rolled to a 15-5 GNAC record, 19-9 overall. Montana State Billings’ signature wins came against perennial powerhouse Western Washington.

Simon Fraser enters the tournament as the fourth seed, finishing at 13-7, 15-10 overall. The Clan enter the tournament with the longest active winning streak at three games after ending Alaska Anchorage’s 19-game winning streak. Along with Western Washington, they were one of just two teams to beat the Seawolves this year.

Central Washington earned the No. 5 seed on the final night of the season thanks to its win at home over Montana State Billings. The Wildcats tied with Northwest Nazarene at 10-10 in GNAC play and tied their season series, but the Wildcats earned the higher seed based on their record against teams finishing with a .750 in-conference record (Central Washington 2-4, Northwest Nazarene 0-6). The Crusaders enter the tournament for the first time since 2013, when they were the No. 5 seed.

Tournament action commences on Thursday with No. 3 Montana State Billings taking on No. 6 seed Northwest Nazarene at 5:15 p.m. The winner of that game will take on No. 2 seed Western Washington on Friday at 5:15 p.m. Thursday’s other quarterfinal game features No. 4 Simon Fraser against No. 5 Central Washington at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to play No. 1 Alaska Anchorage on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The championship game will take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The game, along with the men’s championship game, will be aired nationally by the American Sports Network as part of their Division II Showcase. All games at the GNAC Basketball Championships will be streamed live at GNAC.tv.

Tickets can be purchased through the GNAC’s ticket sales page at EventBrite.com. Discounted tickets for youth teams, senior and members of the military will be available until Tues., Mar. 1.

GNAC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
at Marcus Pavilion, Saint Martin’s University, Lacey, Wash.

Thurs., Mar. 3
No. 6 Northwest Nazarene vs. No. 3 Montana State Billings, 5:15 p.m.
No. 4 Simon Fraser vs. No. 5 Central Washington, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Mar. 4
Winner of 3/6 Game vs. No. 2 Western Washington, 5:15 p.m.
Winner of 4/5 Game vs. No. 1 Alaska Anchorage, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Mar. 5
Championship Game, 7:30 p.m.

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