Seawolves Storm Into Second In New Standings
Lauren Johnson (No. 3) and Alaska Anchorage are on a four-game winning streak that has seen them rise from sixth into second.
Lauren Johnson (No. 3) and Alaska Anchorage are on a four-game winning streak that has seen them rise from sixth into second.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Western Washington and Alaska Anchorage occupying the top two spots in the GNAC standings at this point in the season would be in line with what many expected. But the route to get there has been circuitous, to say the least.

Alaska Anchorage suffered a rare three-game losing streak in mid-January, which included dropping back-to-back home conference games after not losing any since 2016 and plummeting all the way down to sixth in the conference. But the team has since won four straight, and after two huge wins over Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington, teams that entered either ahead of or tied with UAA in the West Region rankings, the Seawolves have risen to second in the new GNAC Points Rating System standings unveiled by the conference on Monday. The Seawolves also received votes for the second consecutive week in the D2SIDA Media Poll.

They weathered a frenetic game against Northwest Nazarene in which the two teams combined for 38 steals and 66 turnovers. Alaska Anchorage’s 35 turnovers and NNU’s 31 are the two highest single-game totals in the GNAC this season, and they came in the same game against one another. Then a career-high 20 points from senior and Anchorage native Tennae Voliva helped UAA tame a red-hot Central Washington. Voliva’s defense also held Wildcats star center Samantha Bowman to six points in the contest.

Although the loss to UAA halted a 10-game winning streak, Central Washington remains dangerous. The Wildcats had a 2-1 week behind GNAC Player of the Week Kassidy Malcolm, who averaged 27.3 points and 5.7 rebounds over three contests. At 19 points per game, Malcolm is duking it out for the GNAC scoring lead with current leader and teammate Kizzah Maltezo, who averages 19.3 per game.

If you believe the old adage that defense wins championships, then Western Washington deserves a long look in any championship conversation. The Vikings have the sixth-best scoring defense in Division II, allowing 52.3 points per game. They are holding opponents to 32.1 percent shooting from the field, which ranks fourth nationally, and 21 percent from three-point range, which ranks second nationally. In their only game of the week, they held Seattle Pacific to 40 points, the second-fewest of the conference season, in a 59-40 victory. Western Washington leads the new Points Rating System standings, as well as the D2SIDA West Region rankings, and ranks No. 6 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and No. 8 in the WBCA Coaches Poll.  

The top six teams in the GNAC will avoid playing a first-round tournament game in the new expanded tournament, and Western Oregon struck a potentially momentous blow in that race with a comeback victory over Saint Martin’s. Down 10 entering the fourth quarter, Western Oregon outscored the Saints 17-5 in the final period and took the lead for the first time with 38 seconds to play in a stunning 49-47 win. Meadow Aragon had a huge game with 17 rebounds and three blocks.

A full slate of 11 games is on tap for this week, including three apiece for Saint Martin’s, Seattle Pacific and Western Oregon. Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific will play each other twice in a five-day span, on Tuesday in Lacey and on Saturday in Seattle. All eyes will likely be on Nicholson Pavilion in Ellensburg on Saturday evening when No. 6/8 Western Washington tries to avenge their only loss of the season by going on the road to Central Washington. Saturday also features the second and final in-state match-up between Alaska and Alaska Anchorage.


 In an effort to lessen the effects of postponements and cancellations of games this season due to COVID-19, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference has announced changes to the field sizes and qualifying criteria for its 2022 men’s and women’s basketball championships.

The conference’s Management Council and CEO Board unanimously voted to expand this year’s tournament to all 10 men’s and women’s programs. The GNAC Championships will run from March 2 to 5.

To accommodate full fields in both genders, the first two rounds of games will be split between Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, and Seattle Pacific University. In total, six games – two play-in contests and four quarterfinals matchups – will be contested at SPU’s Royal Brougham Pavilion. The other 12 games, including the semifinals and championship games in both genders, will be played at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin’s, which was awarded tournament-hosting rights two years ago.

For each gender, the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds will compete in play-in games on Wednesday, March 2. The winners will advance to an eight-team bracket, which will begin play on Thursday, March 3.

With the prospect of conference teams playing unbalanced schedules, tournament seeding in 2022 will be based on a points rating system rather than win/loss percentage.

The points rating system is an end-of-season calculation that attaches numeric values to each result based on whether the game was at home or on the road and where each opponent’s final conference winning percentage fell (i.e., .750 and above, .500 to .749, .250 to .499 and .249 and below). The better an opponent’s final winning percentage, the greater the point values for a win or a loss.

It is similar to one of the key metrics used by Division II in ranking teams under consideration for NCAA postseason at-large berths in multiple sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

Championship brackets are expected to be announced on Saturday, February 26, following the conclusion of the final games of the regular season. Ticket information for both venues will be released at a later date.

Points shall be awarded for each conference contest played:
7 points – win over a .750 or better team on the road
6.5 points – win over a .750 or better team at home
6 points – win over a .500 or better team on the road
5 points – win over a .500 or better team at home
4.5 points – win over a .250 or better team on the road
4 points – win over a .250 team or better at home
3.5 points – win over an under .250 team on the road
3 points – win over an under .250 team at home
2.5 points – loss at home or on the road to a .750 or better team
2 points – loss to a .500 or better team at home or on the road
1 point – loss to a .250 or better team at home or on the road
.5 points – loss to an under .250 team on the road
0 points – loss to an under .250 team at home

It is easy and free to access live streams and live stats for all 10 GNAC institutions. Visit on your computer or device to access all that the conference’s digital network has to offer.


Kassidy Malcolm
Central Washington
F • 5-11 • Sr. • Ellensburg, Wash.
Malcolm averaged 27.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game as the Wildcats went 2-1 in Alaska last week. Malcolm opened the week with 24 points, seven rebounds and three assists in Wednesday’s 67-52 win over Alaska. The next night, Malcolm scored 30 points on 11 of 16 from the field to go with seven rebounds and five assists in an 80-67 win over the Nanooks. At Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Malcolm led all scorers with 28 points on 10 of 17 from the field with three rebounds and three assists in a 78-68 loss to the Seawolves. For the week, Malcolm shot 56.3 percent from the field, 52.9 percent from three-point range and 95 percent from the free-throw line.

Also Nominated:
Pearle Green (Alaska), Tennae Voliva (Alaska Anchorage), Erin Jenkins (Northwest Nazarene), Claire Dingus (Saint Martin’s), Georgia Swant (Simon Fraser), Meadow Aragon (Western Oregon), Emma Duff (Western Washington)


• Alaska lost a trio of games last week, falling twice to Central Washington, 67-52 on Wednesday and 80-67 on Thursday, and 87-73 to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.
Pearle Green led the charge with 15.7 points per game over the three contests. Green’s week was boosted heavily by scoring a career-high 29 points in the Saturday loss to NNU. In that game, Green shot 11 of 27 from the field and 6 of 19 for three, setting GNAC single-game season-highs for both field goal attempts and three-point attempts. Green has been firing all season – she ranks 10th in Division II with 169 threes attempted, 19th with 56 threes made, and sixth with 3.2 made threes per game.
• Sophomore Olivia Kraska cleaned the boards for the Nanooks, averaging 6.7 rebounds per game this week. Kraska’s best game came against Northwest Nazarene when she accumulated 11 rebounds, five assists and a block. Kraska is averaging 4.8 points and a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game.
Paola Perez-Mendoza averaged 4.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game over the three contests, including seven assists and two steals against Central Washington on Thursday and five assists and two steals against NNU. Perez-Mendoza ranks third in the GNAC with 3.9 assists per game and second in the conference with 2.4 steals per game.
• Alaska is averaging 61.9 points and 36.6 rebounds per game. They rank third in the GNAC in blocks per game with 3.4 and fourth in steals per game with 8.5.
• Alaska plays only once this week, facing in-state rival Alaska Anchorage on Saturday in Fairbanks.

• Alaska Anchorage notched two huge wins over teams that they were neck-and-neck with in the regional rankings, topping Northwest Nazarene 74-69 on Thursday and Central Washington 78-68 on Saturday.
• Senior forward and Anchorage native Tennae Voliva put the team on her back this week, averaging 18 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Against Northwest Nazarene, Voliva recorded a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double, adding four steals, three assists and a block. Her scoring performance included a 10 of 12 night from the free-throw line. On Saturday against CWU, Voliva matched a career-high with 20 points on 9 of 17 shooting while adding nine rebounds, three steals, two assists and a block. Voliva averages a team-high 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. She ranks fourth in the GNAC with a .826 free-throw percentage.  
• Guard Jazzpher Evans found her scoring punch to become a key secondary option for Anchorage. Evans scored a season-high 14 points against NNU on 5 of 9 shooting, making two three-pointers. She also had seven steals, which tied the GNAC single-game season-high. She added 10 points and four rebounds against Central Washington. Evans averages 6.9 points per game.
• Guard Jahnna Hajdukovich averaged 10.5 points per game this week, led by 12 points against NNU on 3 of 7 from the field, 2 of 6 from deep and 4 of 4 from the line. She ranks eighth in the GNAC with a .351 three-point percentage.
• The Seawolves have the second-best scoring defense in the GNAC, holding opponents to 59.1 points per game. They led the conference in steals per game (12.4) and turnover margin (+6.39).
• After beating NNU and CWU, Alaska Anchorage moved ahead of both in the regional rankings, where they currently sit at No. 5.
• Alaska Anchorage is on the road twice this week, facing Western Oregon on Tuesday before traveling across the state to face Alaska on Saturday.

• Central Washington had a 2-1 week in the 49th state, defeating Alaska 67-52 on Wednesday and 80-67 on Thursday before losing to Alaska Anchorage 78-68 on Saturday.
Kassidy Malcolm became the final member of the Wildcats’ Big Three to win a GNAC Player of the Week award after averaging 27.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game over CWU’s three contests. Malcolm had 24 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday’s win, followed by 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists in Thursday’s win. That was the fifth 30-point game in the GNAC this season and the first by a CWU player. Malcolm closed the week by leading all scorers with 28 points against Alaska Anchorage.
Kizzah Maltezo averaged 15 points per game for the Wildcats, led by 17 in the loss to UAA. Maltezo ranks ninth in Division II with 171 three-point attempts and 15th in Division II with 57 three-point makes. She went 8 of 22 from three this week. Maltezo leads the conference with 19.3 points per game, followed closely by Malcolm at 19 points per game.
Samantha Bowman averaged 14 points and 17.7 rebounds per game, cementing her status as the nation’s leading rebounder with a ridiculous 15.9 per game for the season. Bowman grabbed 19 rebounds twice in the two wins over Alaska, scoring 14 and 22 points. She was held to six points against Alaska Anchorage, but still grabbed 15 rebounds.
• The Wildcats boast the GNAC’s top-scoring offense at 72.8 points per game.
• After receiving votes in national polls for the first time last week, Central Washington did not receive any this week. The Wildcats dropped one spot to No. 6 in the West Region rankings. They sit fractionally behind UAA for second place in the Points Rating System standings.
• Central Washington hosts Simon Fraser on Thursday before a big clash with No. 6/8 Western Washington on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings did not play this week, as both of their scheduled games at Simon Fraser and Western Washington were postponed. In their last action, MSUB topped Alaska Anchorage 74-67 on Jan. 27 and lost to Alaska 61-59 on Jan. 29 before exacting revenge and beating Alaska 77-71 on Jan. 30.
• The win over Alaska Anchorage clinched MSUB’s first regular-season sweep of UAA since 1999.
Taryn Shelley paced the Yellowjackets with a consistent week, averaging 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds over the three games. Shelley’s best performances came in the two games against Alaska, as she recorded a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double on Jan. 29 before going off for 28 points on Jan. 30. Shelley ranks eighth in the GNAC in scoring at 13.9 points per game while ranking fourth with 7.5 rebounds per game.
Danielle Zahn was key to MSUB’s win over Alaska Anchorage, scoring a team-high 18 points on 5 of 8 from the field, 3 of 3 from deep and 5 of 6 from the line. The junior point guard also distributed five assists.
• A couple of freshman guards stepped up for the Yellowjackets on their Alaska trip. Aspen Giese tallied 15 assists against just two turnovers over the past three games, setting single-game career-highs in both rebounds and assists along the way. Chloe Williams had a career day on Jan. 30 against Alaska, with career highs of 10 points, eight rebounds and four steals.
• Despite their inactivity, Montana State Billings moved up one spot to No. 8 in the D2SIDA West Region rankings.
• The Yellowjackets will return to the court by hosting Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.

• Northwest Nazarene split their Alaska road trip, losing to Alaska Anchorage 74-69 on Thursday before defeating Alaska 87-73 on Saturday.
• Forward Erin Jenkins led the team with a consistent 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and four assists per game. Jenkins had 11 points with seven rebounds and four assists in the loss to Alaska Anchorage before scoring 10 points, four assists and two rebounds in the win over Alaska. Jenkins is averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
• The Nighthawks have the second-most steals per game in the GNAC at 10.6, behind Alaska Anchorage’s 12.4. So when those two teams got together, there were fireworks, as they combined for 38 steals and 66 turnovers. Guard Jordan Pinson led the way with six of NNU’s 18 steals, while Ashlynn Sylve and Emma Clark had three apiece.
Nyalam Thabach and Cami Knishka each had big performances in the win over UAF. Thabach only played 13 minutes, but still nearly had a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. She ranks seventh in the GNAC with 7.3 rebounds per game. Knishka, a sophomore point guard, dropped a career-high 16 points on 6 of 14 from the field and 2 of 5 from deep.
• The Nighthawks rank second in the GNAC in scoring offense (72 points per game) and third in field goal percentage (.420) while leading in rebounding (41.1 per game).
• Northwest Nazarene fell to seventh in the D2SIDA West Region rankings. They were previously in a tie for sixth with Alaska Anchorage.
• The Nighthawks host No. 6/8 Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday.

• Saint Martin’s suffered a heartbreaker on Saturday, losing 49-47 at home to Western Oregon despite leading by double digits in the fourth quarter.
 •  Claire Dingus played exceptionally in the loss. The senior forward had a massive double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds, adding two steals while shooting 7 of 20 from the field. Dingus ranks third in the GNAC in scoring (17.3 points per game), second in rebounding (8.5 per game), and first in steals (2.5 per game). She leads the conference and ranks 29th in Division II with 88 made free throws, and ranks fifth in the GNAC with a .822 free-throw percentage.
• With the Saints missing second-leading scorer Rian Clear, guard Lauryn Morris provided a much-needed scoring boost. Morris matched a career-high with 14 points against the Wolves, shooting 5 of 13 from the field and 2 of 5 from three-point range. Morris is averaging 7.6 points per game.
Emily Nelson grabbed 11 rebounds, her first time in double digits since SMU’s first game of the season. Nelson is averaging 6.3 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
• Saint Martin’s is averaging 64.1 points and 36.6 rebounds per game. They rank third in the conference in free-throw percentage (.709) and fourth in field-goal percentage (.409).
• Saint Martin’s dropped out of the D2SIDA West Region rankings poll after receiving votes last week.
• Saint Martin’s will host Seattle Pacific on Tuesday before traveling to Billings to face MSUB on Thursday, followed by a rematch with SPU on Saturday in Seattle.

• Seattle Pacific couldn’t crack Western Washington’s dominant defense, losing to the nationally-ranked Vikings 59-40 on Thursday, before dropping another road game to Simon Fraser, 64-57 on Saturday.
• The Falcons rank second in the GNAC in field goal percentage defense (.350) and third in scoring defense (60.2 points per game) while leading in defensive rebounds (29.8 per game). But the Vikings are first, first and second in those categories, so Thursday’s game being a low-scoring affair was no surprise.
Natalie Hoff led the way for the Falcons, averaging 14 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She started the week with a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double against WWU before scoring 15 points against Simon Fraser. Hoff ranks eighth in the GNAC with 6.8 rebounds per game. She shot 81 percent from the free-throw line for the week, and ranks third in the conference this season with an .831 free-throw percentage.
Kaprice Boston averaged two blocks per game, including three against WWU. She scored seven points in both games and is averaging 7.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Anna Eddy was the only other Falcon with a double-digit scoring performance on the week, tallying 11 points on 4 of 10 shooting off the bench against Simon Fraser, including two three-pointers. Eddy ranks fourth in the GNAC with a .383 three-point percentage.
• The Falcons play three games this week, including two against Saint Martin’s. They will travel to Lacey to play the Saints on the road on Tuesday before hosting them on Saturday. In between, SPU hosts Western Oregon on Thursday.

• Simon Fraser beat Seattle Pacific in its only game of the week, 64-57 on Saturday. The team’s other scheduled game against MSUB was postponed.
Jessica Wisotzki led the way for Simon Fraser with 18 points of 5 of 12 from the field and 8 of 10 from the free-throw line. Wisotzki ranks sixth in the GNAC with 15.8 points per game. She is also sixth in three-point percentage (.358) but went 0-for-3 from behind the arc on this occasion.
• Junior Georgia Swant, on the other hand, was not missing threes. The guard went a perfect 4-for-4 from behind the arc on her way to 14 points, matching a season-high. Swant also added a team-high four assists and a steal. She is hitting 32 percent of her threes this season and is averaging eight points per game. In another team-high, Sophie Klassen grabbed nine rebounds in 27 minutes.
• Freshman forward Gemma Cutler continues to lead the conference with a .598 field goal percentage. She upped her average this week, going 4 of 6 from the field against the Falcons to score eight points.
• At 70.1 points per game, Simon Fraser is one of four GNAC schools averaging over 70 per contest. They rank third in the GNAC assists per game (15.7), steals per game (9.1), and turnover margin (+1.89).
• Simon Fraser will hit the road to face Central Washington on Thursday and Northwest Nazarene on Saturday.

• Western Oregon won its only game of the week, utilizing a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Saint Martin’s 49-47 on Saturday.
• The Wolves held Saint Martin’s to just five points in the fourth quarter to erase a ten-point deficit. They took the lead for the first time with 38 seconds left in the game.
Meadow Aragon was a fearsome force inside, grabbing 17 rebounds and blocking three shots against the Saints. Aragon ranks fourth in the GNAC with 7.8 rebounds per game and ranks second in the GNAC and 16th in Division II with 2.4 blocks per game.
• Aragon shot 1 of 11 from the field, however, so Madisyn Clark picked up the offensive slack. Clark scored a team-high 12 points, shooting 4 of 9 from the field, 2 of 6 from three-point range and 2 of 2 from the line. Clark also distributed a team-high two assists and scored the go-ahead layup to make it 48-47 with under a minute to play.
Makenna Gambee, a graduate transfer from Hawaii Pacific, had 10 points for her most in a Wolves uniform. Gambee went 3 of 5 from the field and 4 of 5 from the line. 
• Western Oregon leads the GNAC and ranks 7th in Division II with 5.4 blocks per game. They rank third in the conference in rebounds per game (39.2).  
• The Wolves will host Alaska Anchorage, who is receiving votes nationally, on Tuesday before going on the road to face Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Montana State Billings on Saturday.

• Western Washington defeated Seattle Pacific 59-40 on Thursday before its scheduled Saturday game against MSUB was postponed.
• The Vikings leaned on their nationally-ranked defense, holding SPU to 28 percent shooting from the field and 16 percent from behind the arc.
Emma Duff paced the Vikings once again, leading all scorers with 19 points on 9 of 18 shooting while adding six rebounds, three steals, two assists and two blocks. At 15.9 points per game, Duff is the GNAC’s fifth-leading scorer while ranking sixth in rebounding (7.4 per game).
• Guards Riley Dykstra, Monique Fierke and Maddy Grandbois splashed two triples apiece for the Vikings, who lead the conference with a .341 three-point percentage. Fierke was the Vikings’ second-leading scorer on the night with eight points. Dykstra and Grandbois finished with six points, but Dykstra grabbed a team-high seven rebounds while Grandbois had five. The trio were among seven Vikings guards to play more than 14 minutes in Saturday’s game.
• Western Washington leads the conference in a multitude of categories, including scoring defense (52.3 points per game), scoring margin (+18) and rebounding margin (+9.5), field-goal percentage (.463) and three-point percentage (.341).
• The Vikings moved up in both rankings, climbing to No. 6 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and No. 8 in the WBCA Coaches Poll, after being at No. 9 and No. 10 last week. The Vikings also remained at No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region rankings, earning 4 of 6 first-place votes.
• The Vikings face two challenging tests of road games against regionally-ranked opponents. They will face Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday, who rank No. 7 and No. 6, respectively, in the D2SIDA West Region.

Copyright ©2024 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved.