Vikings, Seawolves Square Off In Battle For GNAC Title

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. - Winning streaks, a conference title and playoff seeding are all on the line in Thursday night's battle between nationally-ranked teams Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington. If Alaska Anchorage wins, the Seawolves will wrap up their second consecutive GNAC regular season title, break the GNAC record for conference wins in a single season, tie the program record for longest winning streak in the GNAC era and significantly boost their chances of hosting the NCAA West Regional tournament. If Western Washington wins, the Vikings will move into a tie for first place in the GNAC standings with a game left in the season, increase their winning streak to 18 games and enter the conversation for getting to host the NCAA West Regional.

In the first meeting of the two teams, Alaska Anchorage won 80-69 behind a 21-point performance by GNAC Player of the Year candidate Autummn Williams, while  fellow player of the year candidate Taylor Peacocke had 27 points for WWU. That was in early December, however, and neither team has lost since then. No two teams in the West Region have won more games against currently nationally-ranked teams.

The first set of the NCAA Regional Rankings came out on Wednesday with Alaska Anchorage atop the West Region with Western Washington at No. 3 and Simon Fraser at No. 4. Seattle Pacific also came in at No. 8 after having the best start to the season of any team in the West Region with an 11-game winning streak against a tough non-conference schedule.

Seattle Pacific is now one of three teams that is a win away from securing its spot in the 2017 GNAC Championships. The Falcons are currently tied for fourth place with Alaska and Northwest Nazarene, who also need just one win to secure their berths into the conference tournament.

Northwest Nazarene will be the first to have a chance to do so against Central Washington on Tuesday. Seattle Pacific can then clinch on Thursday with a win against Concordia. If both NNU and SPU win those games, Alaska will also automatically clinch a playoff berth.

Simon Fraser's Ellen Kett had a memorable weekend, recording 20 assists in the win against Montana State Billings, becoming the GNAC's single game and single season assists record holder. She now averages 7.6 assists per game which is the best in NCAA Division II this season.


Jordan Wilson
F • 5-11  • Sr. • Henderson, Colo.

Wilson helped put Alaska in great position to qualify for the GNAC Championships, scoring 41 points in two wins in the Nanooks’ home finale to earn her second GNAC Player of the Week honor this season. She scored a team-best 20 points in a crucial 63-61 win against Seattle Pacific to complete the season sweep against the Falcons. She made 8 of 14 shots from the field and recorded three rebounds. Wilson then added a 21-point performance in a 56-41 win over Saint Martin’s on Saturday to move Alaska into a three-way tie for fourth place going into the final week of the season.

Also Nominated: Ellen Kett (Simon Fraser), Sydney Azorr (Western Oregon), Tiana Hanson (Montana State Billings), Taylor Peacocke (Western Washington), McKenna Walker (Northwest Nazarene).


• Alaska picked up two important wins against Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s to move into a tie for fourth place with a week left in the season.
• Alaska can clinch a spot in the GNAC Championships this week with one win against either Western Washington or Simon Fraser or by Central Washington and Concordia each losing at least once this week.
• Jordan Wilson was named GNAC Player of the Week with 41 points in the Nanooks two wins, leading the team in scoring in both games. She became the GNAC’s all-time leader in career field goals made with 689.
• Kailee Skjold ranks second in the GNAC in rebounds with 8.5 per game and ranks fifth in the conference in scoring with 14.4 points per game.
• Jaylee Mays has recorded 2.2 steals per game in her career, which ranks 14th in GNAC history. She had three steals in the two games last week.
• Mays led the team in rebounds in the win against Seattle Pacific becoming the first player other than Skjold or Wilson to lead the team in rebounding since December 1.
• The Nanooks will travel to Simon Fraser on Thursday and then to Western Washington on Saturday. They lost to both teams in the first week of conference play this year.

• The Seawolves increased their GNAC-best winning streak to 21 games with wins against Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s. The winning streak is tied for the fifth longest in conference history. The Seawolves’ longest streak since joining the GNAC is 22 wins in the 2008-09 season.
• Alaska Anchorage is ranked No. 2 in both the WBCA Coaches Poll and the D2SIDA Media Poll. In the first NCAA Regional Rankings, the Seawolves were selected as the No. 1 team in the West Region. The No. 1 team at the end of the season will host the regional tournament.
• The Seawolves will play at Western Washington on Thursday and then at Simon Fraser on Saturday. If the Seawolves beat Western Washington, they will clinch their second consecutive GNAC regular season title.
• Alaska Anchorage has the nation’s leading defense, allowing just 51.3 points per game and 16.7 steals per game, which both lead Division II. The Seawolves also rank second in scoring margin, beating opponents by an average of 32 points per game. The Seawolves have defeated each of their last seven opponents by more than 30 points.
• Autummn Williams is averaging 20.9 points per game, which ranks eighth Division II. She also ranks 29th in steals with 2.69 and 33rd in field-goal percentage at 52.1 percent.
• Williams is 16 points away from tying the GNAC record for points scored in a conference season, but currently trails Taylor Peacocke, who has 419. The two will meet each other on Thursday for the second time this season.
•Kiki Robertson averages 3.5 steals per game, which ranks sixth in Division II. She also ranks 20th in assists this season with 5.5 per game.
• Robertson will break the all-time GNAC record for career starts in conference games on Thursday against Western Washington with her 72nd career start. She also needs just eight steals this weekend to tie the GNAC record for steals in a conference season.

• Central Washington gave itself a shot at clinching a playoff berth last week with crucial wins against Concordia and Western Oregon. The Wildcats have now won four of their last five games, starting with the overtime win against Simon Fraser on Feb. 4.
• The Wildcats need to win both games this week to have a shot at reaching the GNAC Championships. They will play against Northwest Nazarene on Tuesday and then travel to Montana State Billings on Saturday.
• Jasmin Edwards tallied 11 assists in the two wins in Oregon. She now has 401 career assists, becoming the ninth player in conference history to eclipse 400 assists. She ranks third among active players in career assists.
• Taylor Baird became the GNAC’s leading rebounder this season with 15 rebounds in the win against Western Oregon. She now averages 8.6 rebounds per game.
• Baird had a double-double against Western Oregon with 14 points and 15 rebounds along with four blocks.
• Alexis Pana and Sarah McGee each had four steals in the win against Concordia, holding the Cavaliers to 44 points in the game.

• The Cavaliers suffered two tough losses in the penultimate week to Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene. The Cavaliers barely remain alive in the battle for the final three remaining spots in the GNAC Championships in the final week of the season.
• Concordia must win both games in the final week to have a chance at qualifying for the GNAC Championships this season.
• Concordia blocked 11 shots against Northwest Nazarene which was the second highest team total in a single game this season. Bailey Cartwright recorded five of those blocks, becoming the only player in the GNAC this season to record five blocks in a game other than Jordyn Peacock.
• As a team, the Cavaliers have a GNAC-best 131 blocks and Cartwright and Peacock are the top two players in blocks individually in the GNAC.
• Concordia will play at Seattle Pacific on Thursday and then travel to Saint Martin’s on Saturday. The Cavaliers split against both teams at home earlier this season.

• The Yellowjackets dropped both games last week to nationally-ranked opponents Simon Fraser and Western Washington.
• Tiana Hanson has scored at least 18 points for the fourth consecutive game. She scored a total of 47 points last week, which was the second most in the conference.
• Hanson had 18 rebounds in the two games last week, she has led the Yellowjackets in scoring and rebounding in each of the last four games.
• Rylee Kane ranks third in the conference and 28th in the nation in assists per game with 5.2. She had five assists and three steals against Western Washington.
• The Yellowjackets protect the ball better than any team in the GNAC with just 14 turnovers per game, which is least in the conference and 38th in Division II.
• The Yellowjackets will wrap up the season this week at home against Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington.

• The Crusaders pulled off another pair of crucial wins in Oregon last week to move into a tie for fourth place in the conference standings going into the final week of the season.
• The Crusaders can clinch a spot in the GNAC Championships on Tuesday night with a win against Central Washington or on Saturday at Montana State Billings.
• Lexi Tubbs led the team in both scoring and rebounding in the win at Western Oregon before hopping on a plane to compete in the GNAC Indoor Track and Field Championships the next day. On Saturday morning, she won the 60-meter hurdles conference title and then hopped on a plane to fly back to Oregon to beat Concordia that night.
• McKenna Walker scored 22 points and recorded 13 rebounds in the win against Concordia. It was her second time scoring 22 points this season, which is the season-high for the Crusaders.

• The Saints’ losing streak increased to 11 games after falling to Alaska Anchorage, 73-31, and Alaska, 56-41.
• Hannah Reynolds scored a team-high 13 points against Alaska Anchorage. It was her second consecutive game leading the team in scoring.
• The 31 points against Alaska Anchorage was the lowest scoring total for Saint Martin’s this season.
• Elin Johansson sled the team in rebounds in both games with a total of 15. She is now averaging a team-best 16 rebounds per game.
• The Saints will wrap up the season at home, hosting Western Washington on Thursday and Concordia on Saturday.

• A injury-laden Falcon dropped two games in Alaska last week, falling to Alaska, 63-61, and Alaska Anchorage, 94-50.
• Seattle Pacific was ranked No. 8 in the first NCAA Regional Rankings prior to the two losses.
• The Falcons have played six games against nationally-ranked teams this season as well as UC San Diego, which is receiving votes.
• Seattle Pacific has a better strength of schedule than any of the three PacWest teams ranked above the Falcons and has a head-to-head victory against UC San Diego.
• The Falcons are undefeated against all non-conference opponents, which includes three in-region wins against teams with winning records. Hawaii Pacific has only beaten four teams all year with a winning record and none with a record above .600, while Point Loma has only one win against a non-conference team with a winning record.
• Seattle Pacific can clinch a spot in the GNAC Championships on Thursday with a win over Concordia or on Saturday against Western Oregon. Even if the Falcons lose both games, they could still reach the conference tournament.
• Seattle Pacific was without leading rebounder and scorer Courtney Hollander during the trip to Alaska. She also missed the Falcons’ home game against Alaska with an injury.
• Rachel Shim was also unable to make the trip to Alaska due to injury and Brianne Lasconia was held to limited playing time also due to an injury.

• Simon Fraser split last week, losing to Western Washington on the road on Tuesday before defeating Montana State Billings on Saturday.
• The Clan is guaranteed to be the No. 3 seed in the GNAC Championships. Simon Fraser is ranked No. 22 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and dropped out of the WBCA Coaches Poll top 25. In the NCAA Regional Rankings, Simon Fraser is No. 4 in the West Region.
• Ellen Kett recorded a GNAC record 20 assists in the win against Montana State Billings, becoming the single-season assists record holder in the process with 214, surpassing Heidi Buehler’s mark of 194 set in 2004 for NNU.
• Kett needs two more assists to tie her own GNAC record for assists in a conference season. She is averaging 8.6 assists per game during conference play this year.
• Simon Fraser will host Alaska on Thursday and Alaska Anchorage on Saturday. The last time Simon Fraser hosted Alaska Anchorage in the regular season finale, the Clan upset the then No. 1 Seawolves.

• Western Oregon’s losing streak increased to eight with losses to Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington last week.
• Savannah Heugly scored nearly a third of the team’s points on Saturday in the Wolves’ 55-66 loss to Central Washington. She scored 18, making 8 of 17 shots.
• Leading scorer Shelby Snook made two shots from beyond the arc in the loss to Northwest Nazarene. She is now averaging 13.3 points this season along with a team-best 5.1 rebounds.
• The Wolves will travel to Saint Martin’s on Thursday where one of the two teams’ losing streaks will come to an end. Then the Wolves will go to Seattle Pacific to wrap up the 2016-17 season.

• Western Washington boosted their winning streak to 17 games last week with wins over Simon Fraser and Montana State Billings. It is tied for the seventh longest winning streak in GNAC history.
• The Vikings can move into a tie for first place in the GNAC with a win against Alaska Anchorage on Thursday. They wrap up the regular season against Alaska.
• Western Washington was ranked No. 3 in the West Region in the first NCAA Regional Rankings. The Vikings have the third best winning percentage in the West Region and the best strength of schedule of any of those top three teams.
• The Vikings have won 16 consecutive games against GNAC teams, which as a whole went 19-6 against PacWest teams during non-conference play. Western Washington is a perfect 3-1 against the teams ranked in the top five of the West Region, while California Baptist is 1-1.
• The Vikings have never lost to a team that doesn’t have a record above .500 this season. The only other teams in the West Region that can claim this are Alaska Anchorage, UC San Diego and Point Loma.
• Taylor Peacocke remained Division II’s leading scorer with 23.0 points per game. She broke the GNAC record for career points in conference games and is three points away from breaking the conference record for points in a single season in conference games. She needs just 95 points to become the GNAC’s single-season record holder for points in all games.