MSUB Finds Its Stroke To Earn Team of the Week Award
Bobbi Knudsen (21) scored 39 points and had 18 assists in MSUB's two wins last week.
Bobbi Knudsen (21) scored 39 points and had 18 assists in MSUB's two wins last week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Montana State University Billings may have found its shooting stroke just at the right time.

The Yellowjackets ended a four-game losing streak last week with double-digit road wins at Northwest Nazarene 76-63 and Central Washington 85-65 to claim the No. 3 seed in this week’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships.

The two wins also earned MSUB GNAC Team of the Week honors for the second time this season.  They also won the award during the final week of December.

The GNAC tournament begins Wednesday at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin’s University in Lacey. The Yellowjackets (17-9) will open the six-team event at 5:15 p.m. against No. 6 seed Seattle Pacific (16-10).  Fourth-seed Alaska Anchorage (17-9) will play fifth-seed Northwest Nazarene (19-7) in Wednesday’s 7:30 p.m. game.

UAA, which is the  defending champion, bring a GNAC-best seven-game win streak into its game. Wednesday’s two winners advance to Friday’s semifinals against second-seed Simon Fraser and top-seed Western Washington.  Friday’s winners will then play for the championship Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on ROOT Sports.

The tournament winner earns an automatic berth in the NCAA Division II West Regionals, which begin Friday, Mar. 15.

MSUB, which had won four straight games prior to its four-game losing streak, may have played its best basketball of the season last week.

“I felt we played our best basketball,” MSUB coach Kevin Woodin said.  “I am happy with how we hung in mentally over the past few weeks (during the four-game losing streak).”

The trip began Thursday with a key road win at Nampa.

Bobbi Knudsen led MSUB against NNU with 20 points and eight assists.  All five starters scored in double figures including Brooke Tolman, Monica Grimsrud and Kayleen Goggins who had 11 points each.  Janiel Olson had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

 “It was a real important win; we beat a really good team on the road,” Woodin said.  “We shot the ball better, especially from behind the three-point line which opened up more opportunities for us. We played well both inside and on the perimeter, and had a very balanced attack.”

MSUB also shot the ball well at Ellensburg as Knudsen and Olsen both had double-doubles.  Knudsen netted 19 points and had 10 assists, while Olson had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

For the trip, the ‘Jackets shot 50 percent, converting on 59 of 118 shots.  That percentage was 11 ½ points better than their season percentage of 38.5.   Every player who played significant minutes shot between 47.4 percent and 55.6 percent.

MSUB also made 42 percent of its shots from the arc (21-50) compared to a season average of 29.2.  They also converted on 88 percent from the foul line (22-25) compared to a season average of 70.6.

For the trip, Knudsen led the way with 39 points and 18 assists, while Olson had 24 points and 21 rebounds.

In all six players averaged in double figures in the two games including Grimsrud (11.0), Quinn Peoples (11.0), Goggins (10.5) and Tolman (10.0).