GNAC Teams Aim To Finish Strong Prior To Christmas Layoff
The Cavs recently ended their five-game homestand with four wins, most notably a 59-57 upset over Seattle Pacific on Nov. 30. Concordia travels to NNU on Dec. 19 before taking the week off.
The Cavs recently ended their five-game homestand with four wins, most notably a 59-57 upset over Seattle Pacific on Nov. 30. Concordia travels to NNU on Dec. 19 before taking the week off.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

BREEN DOES IT AGAIN: For the second week in a row and third time this season, Montana State Billings senior forward Alisha Breen has been named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week after leading the Yellowjackets to two non-conference wins against in-state opponents last week.

Breen scored 49 points, shot 62.5 percent from the field and made 15 of 16 from the free throw line as she continues to lead MSUB to the best start in program history at 9-0. She finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s 62-57 come-from-behind win over Rocky Mountain, scoring 14 of those points in the final five minutes of the game. Breen then finished with 26 points in Saturday’s 87-65 win over Providence (Mont.), her fourth 20-plus point performance in a row. During the game, Breen broke MSUB’s career free throws made record.

HERE COME THE CAVS: Watch out for red-hot Concordia. Over their recent five-game homestand, which was punctuated with a dominant 78-47 win over Warner Pacific, the Cavs have gone 4-1 and have outscored opponents 355-272.

During the run, Concordia defeated Humboldt State, Multnomah, Seattle Pacific and Warner Pacific. Its sole loss came in a 74-65 contest against Saint Martin’s on Dec. 2. Senior guard Danielle Hartzog led the team with 14.5 points per game while junior forward Bailey Cartwright totaled 12.8 points per game while pulling down 9.4 rebounds per game during the stretch. Sophomore guard Kizzah Maltezo has been superb off the bench in the Cavs’ last five games, averaging 11.4 points per game.

Concordia resumes GNAC action on Tues., Dec. 19 at Northwest Nazarene. After a few days off for Christmas, the Cavs return home to take on Pacific (Ore.) in the final non-conference game of the GNAC season.

ONE (ACTION-PACKED) WEEK BEFORE THE BREAK: Fasten your seatbelt because a plethora of games will be in play before the NCAA Division II mandated winter break period from Dec. 20-27. With Seattle Pacific and Central Washington taking on California opposition before the weekend, Montana State Billings will be in Hawaii for the Oahu Christmas Classic while Alaska hosts Multnomah for a couple of games at the Alaska Airlines Court.

Simon Fraser and Western Washington begin the two-day Vikings Holiday Hoops Classic next week against No. 3 West Texas A&M and Texas A&M-International while No. 2 Alaska Anchorage travels to Notre Dame de Namur and Sonoma State. The period is capped off with a pair of conference games hosted by Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington. Concordia takes on the Nighthawks while Western Oregon travels to Ellensburg, Wash., looking to secure its second conference win of the season. Saint Martin’s ends the week as hosts to Oklahoma Christian.

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAMS: The following GNAC players have been selected to all-tournament teams during the 2017-18 season...

Stanislaus State CCAA/GNAC Challenge (Nov. 10-11, Turlock, Calif.): Raquel Jardine, NNU (Most Valuable Player), Lexi Tubbs, NNU, Bailey Cartwright, CU.

West Region Tip-Off Classic (Nov. 10-11, San Francisco, Calif.): Alisha Breen, MSUB (Most Valuable Player), Vanessa Stavish, MSUB.

Azusa Pacific West Region Crossover Classic (Nov. 17-18, Azusa, Calif.): Jordan McPhee, SPU; Courtney Hollander, SPU, Hannah Stipanovich, WWU.

Seawolf Hoops Classic (Nov.17-18, Anchorage, Alaska): Hannah Wandersee, UAA (Most Valuable Player), Yazmeen Goo, UAA, Ashlie Blackburn, UAF, Rodericka Ware, UAA.

Yellowjacket Classic (Nov. 16-18, Billings, Mont.): Alisha Breen, MSUB (Most Valuable Player), Danielle Hartzog, CU, Bailey Cartwright, CU, Rylee Kane, MSUB, Rachel Koehler, MSUB.

GCI Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 21-23, Anchorage, Alaska): Shelby Cloninger, UAA (Most Valuable Player), Hannah Wandersee, UAA, Yazmeen Goo, UAA.

Lynda Goodrich Classic (Nov. 24-25, Bellingham, Wash.): Hannah Stipanovich, WWU, Gracie Castaneda, WWU, Elin Johansson, SMU.

Alisha Breen
Montana State Billings
F • 5-10 • Senior • Choteau, Mont.
Breen scored 49 points, shot 62.5 percent from the field and made 15 of 16 from the free throw line as she led MSUB to two wins as the Yellowjackets improved to 9-0 on the season. She finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds in Friday’s 62-57 come-from-behind win over Rocky Mountain, scoring 14 of those points in the final five minutes of the game. Breen then finished with 26 points in Saturday’s 87-65 win over Providence (Mont.), her fourth 20-plus point performance in a row. During the game, Breen broke MSUB’s career free throws made record.

Also Nominated: Bailey Cartwright (Concordia), Saniah Simpson-Patu (Saint Martin’s).

• Playing in one of the two conference games last week, Alaska fell to its in-state rival Alaska Anchorage 88-56.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Carpenter was the only Nanook to score in double figures with 18 points in a game-high 37 minutes of action. She shot 50 percent (6-12) from the floor, three of which came from behind the arc.

• Junior center Josie Sewell tallied eight points off the bench while junior forward Marian Wamsley added seven. Despite shooting almost 44 percent from the field, Alaska struggled to hold onto the ball against the GNAC leader in steals, losing the turnover battle 32-14. Sewell remains tied for 12th in the league with five blocked shots this season (0.7 per game).

• Carpenter continues to lead the team and is third in the GNAC with 15.9 points per game. Her three-point shooting has made her one of the league’s premier scoring threats, averaging 2.7 three-point field goals per game for a GNAC best.

• The Nanooks continue to get things done on the defensive boards with 28.6 per game to rank third in the GNAC. In their game against the Seawolves, Alaska pulled down 25 defensive rebounds to UAA’s 24.

• Alaska hosts a pair of games prior to the Christmas break. The Nanooks host Multnomah this Friday and Saturday before resuming GNAC play on Dec. 29 against Western Washington.

• Alaska Anchorage continued its dominant 2017-18 with a comfortable 88-56 win at Alaska last Saturday.

• The Seawolves, who are fifth in Division II with 15.2 steals per game, forced 32 Nanooks’ turnovers for 40 points. Alaska Anchorage also limited its in-state rival to just 21 field goals on 48 attempts.

• Senior forward Shelby Cloninger led Alaska Anchorage with 22 points on 10 of 14 shooting. Junior guard Sydni Stallworth produced a career night, shooting 8 of 16 from the floor for 17 points off the bench.

• Senior forward Hannah Wandersee and Cloninger are both within the GNAC’s top-11 scorers with 15.7 and 13.4 points per game, respectively. Both are also shooting better than 52.9 percent from the floor.

• The Seawolves have the GNAC’s top-three steal leaders in junior guard Kian McNair, senior guard Rodericka Ware and sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo. McNair and Ware are both averaging more than three steals per game and are within Division II’s top-20 in that category. Goo is averaging 2.3 steals per game.

• Alaska Anchorage is second in the GNAC in scoring offense (81.4) and lead the league in scoring defense (57), scoring margin (+24.4), assists (198), steals (137) and turnover margin (+9.33).

• For the sixth week in a row, the Seawolves are No. 2 in both the Division II WBCA and D2SIDA Women’s Basketball Rankings and are No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

• Alaska Anchorage continues its non-conference slate at Notre Dame de Namur this Saturday before facing Sonoma State three days later for its final game before GNAC play resumes.

• Playing for the first time in 10 days, Central Washington defeated Academy of Art Tuesday 81-69.

• The Wildcats’ starting five carried most of the load Tuesday afternoon, accounting for 71 of the team’s points. Junior guard Sadie Mensing led three other starters in double-digit scoring with 17 points, eight of which came from the charity stripe. Sophomore guard Alexis Pana and sophomore forward Kaelie Flores each recorded 16 points.

• Central Washington locked down on defense forcing 22 Urban Knight turnovers for 28 points. The Wildcats also had their way in the paint with 48 points. Senior forward Rachel Lorentson totaled eight points off the bench.

• Senior guard Jasmin Edwards and Pana are among the GNAC’s top-five playmakers with five and 3.9 assists, respectively. Mensing improved her free throw percentage to .867 (26-30).

• Flores is second in the GNAC with 1.3 blocks per game. Her efforts on the defensive end of the court have helped CWU lead the GNAC and rank 39th in Division II with 4.3 blocked shots per game. Central Washington has recorded double-digit offensive rebound totals in its previous eight games, ranking them second in the GNAC with 15.1 offensive boards per game.

• Edwards ranks third in the GNAC with five assists per game and is shooting .452 from beyond the arc. Flores is third in the GNAC with 1.3 blocks per game.

• Central Washington returns to action on Thursday at Dominican (Calif.) before taking on Western Oregon in a GNAC contest on Dec. 19.

• In just one non-conference game last week, Concordia took care of Warner Pacific with a 78-47 victory.

• Paced by sophomore guard Kizza Maltezo’s game-high 18 points off the bench, the Cavaliers led the entire afternoon and reached its largest lead of 34 points with 1:40 left in the game.

• Junior forward Bailey Cartwright was one of four Cavs to reach double-figure scoring with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cartwright leads the GNAC and is 48th in Division II with 9.8 rebounds per game. Saturday’s effort gave the junior her fourth double-double of the season.

• Scoring 12 points in her starting role, senior guard Danielle Hartzog connected on 2 of 3 shots from downtown. Sophomore center Rebecca Taylor totaled 10 points off the bench in 20 minutes of action, shooting 4 for 7 from the field.

• Assists have been easy to come by for junior guard Keesha Sarman, who is second in the GNAC and 22nd in Division II with 5.6 assists per game. She is also second in the league shooting .529 percent from beyond the arc (9-17).

• In the latest D2SIDA West Region rankings, Concordia is ranked No. 8 for the second consecutive week.

• Concordia is second in the GNAC in scoring defense allowing 58.6 points per game. The Cavs also boast the best field goal and 3-point field goal percentage defense at 33.9 and 25.8 percent.

• The Cavaliers have one contest prior to the Christmas break. They travel for the first time in five games to take on Northwest Nazarene on Tues., Dec. 19 for their third conference game of the season.

• Off to the best start in program history, Montana State Billings was the busiest GNAC team last week with a pair of home wins against non-conference opponents.

• The Yellowjackets improved to 9-0 with a 62-57 win over Rocky Mountain on Friday and 87-65 win over Providence (Mont.) one day later.

• Senior forward Alisha Breen was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week for the second consecutive week after averaging 24.5 points in the two games. She went 15 of 16 from the free throw line and broke the school record for career free throws made (previously 393). Breen, who leads the GNAC with 22.3 points per game, is 19th in GNAC history with 1,411 career points.

• In MSUB’s win over Rocky Mountain, the Yellowjackets shot just 33 percent (20-60) from the floor but relied on 15 second-chance points off 16 offensive rebounds to secure its eighth win of the year.

• In a dominant performance one day later, MSUB connected on 53 percent of its shots and went 12 of 28 from the three-point line. Breen tallied a game-high 26 points while senior guard Rylee Kane added nine assists and eight points. Kane ranks first in the GNAC and is sixth in Division II with 6.6 assists per game.

• Shooting 44.4 percent from the floor, the Yellowjackets have the second-highest field goal percentage in the GNAC. They have also shared the ball pretty well this year, ranking second in the GNAC and 23rd in Division II with 17.9 assists per game.

•  For the second week in a row, Montana State Billings is No. 5 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll. The Yellowjackets also received votes in both the WBCA and D2SIDA National Rankings.

• With three games left before the Christmas break, MSUB travels to Hawaii to play in the Oahu Christmas Classic hosted by Hawaii Pacific. The Yellowjackets will take on Drury, Harding and HPU during the four-day tournament.

• Northwest Nazarene has not played since its 78-68 loss to Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 2.

• The Nighthawks boast the highest scoring offense in the GNAC with 81.6 points per game. A big factor to Northwest Nazarene’s offensive output has been its league-leading .456 field goal percentage

• Second in the league in steals (73) and third in assists (112), Northwest Nazarene has capitalized on its opportunities beyond the arc with a .367 mark from downtown, good for first in the GNAC.

• Junior forward Danielle Jardine and sophomore guard Avery Albrecht rank first and third in field goal percentage shooting over 54 percent. Albrecht also leads the league in field goal percentage (.643).

• Northwest Nazarene is one of five GNAC teams ranked in the top-10 of the D2SIDA West Region Poll. The Nighthawks are sixth for the second consecutive week.

• The Nighthawks stay home for the holidays as they take on Concordia in a GNAC contest on Tues., Dec. 19 before hosting Western Oregon on Dec. 30.

• Saint Martin’s is coming off a tough 81-66 loss to Seattle Pacific in GNAC play last Saturday.

• The game was won in the second and third quarters, where Seattle Pacific outscored SMU by a combined 13 points to give the Saints its second conference loss of the season.

• Saint Martin’s top-two scorers, senior forward Elin Johansson and freshman guard Saniah Simpson-Patu, each totaled at least 20 points while sophomore guard Makenna Schultz added 14 off the bench. The Saints struggled from the floor in the second half shooting just 32 percent on 11 of 34 attempts.

• On top of her 21 points, Simpson-Patu pulled down 14 rebounds to complete her double-double. She is seventh in the GNAC scoring 14.9 points per game and is tied for eighth with Johansson with 7.3 rebounds per game.

• On the other hand, Johnansson is the league’s second-highest scorer at 18.7 points per game. The senior is fifth in the GNAC with a .537 shooting percentage.

• Prior to the holiday break, Saint Martin’s will host Oklahoma Christian on Tues., Dec. 19 before facing undefeated Montana State Billings when GNAC action resumes on Dec. 30.

• A balanced shooting night gave Seattle Pacific an 81-66 GNAC win over Saint Martin’s in the Falcons’ only contest of the week last Saturday.

• Shooting 41 percent from the field in both halves, Seattle Pacific saw two players finish in double-figure scoring while five recorded eight points each.

• Senior guard Rachel Shim led the Falcons with 16 points while senior center Julia Haining recorded 14 points on 6 for 6 shooting. Fourth in the GNAC with 3.3 offensive rebounds per game, Haining recorded two offensive rebounds to give her 26 for the season.

• Senior guard Jordan McPhee is sixth in the GNAC with 15.5 points per game and is fifth with two steals per game. In 20 minutes of action against SMU, McPhee shot 40 percent (4-10) from the floor and pulled down three offensive rebounds.

• Seattle Pacific has dominated the defensive boards this season and leads the GNAC with 30.5 per game. The Falcons have the league’s second-highest rebounding margin at +9.1.

• The Falcons are ranked No. 19 in the WBCA Division II Poll and No. 24 in the D2SIDA National Poll.

• Seattle Pacific returns to action today against Concordia (Calif.) before taking on Oklahoma Christian on Mon., Dec. 18 to round out non-conference action.

• The Falcons are 5-0 in non-conference games this season and will look to capture its second straight sweep of non-conference opponents. In its last meeting against Concordia (Calif.) on Dec. 16, 2016, SPU head coach Julie Heisey recorded her 400th-career victory.

• The Clan has not seen action since their 70-61 loss at Montana State Billings on Dec. 2.

• Entering the week, Simon Fraser was third in the GNAC shooting .363 from three-point range and first in three-pointers made with 8.6 per game.

• Junior center Tayla Jackson leads Simon Fraser and is eighth in the GNAC with 14.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Nicole VanderHelm and junior forward Sophie Swant are both 17th in the league with 12.1 points per game. Swant has also been solid from the charity stripe this season, converting 22 of her 23 attempts. She also is fifth in the GNAC with eight blocked shots.

• Guard Tayler Drynan has provided excellent offensive prowess in her sophomore season, ranking fourth in the GNAC with 4.5 assists per game. The guard has handled the ball well this year, averaging a league-best 2.6 assist/turnover ratio.

• The Clan remains in the D2SIDA West Region Poll, this time receiving votes (1) with Western Oregon.

• Simon Fraser heads to Bellingham, Wash., next week to play against No.3 West Texas A&M and Texas A&M International in the Viking Holiday Hoop Classic. Their next home game is on Dec. 29 against Alaska Anchorage in GNAC action.

• Western Oregon is coming road losses to southern Oregon opponents. On Monday, the Wolves fell 59-53 to Oregon Tech before being stifled by Southern Oregon 77-67 last night.

• Over the two games, senior guard Sydney Azorr averaged 9.5 points per game and went 13 for 13 from the charity stripe. Despite senior guard Shelby Snook’s 12-point performance against the Owls on Monday, the senior was limited to 0 of 5 shooting from the field on Tuesday with five assists.

• The Wolves were limited to 19 percent from three-point range over the two nights, converting just eight long-range baskets on 42 attempts.

• Western Oregon remains in the D2SIDA Division II mix, this time receiving the most votes (3) outside the top-10.

• Through five games, three different Wolves are averaging at least 10 points per game. Snook leads the Wolves with 12.6 points per game and is followed by freshman guard Keyonna Jones with 11.3 points per game. Snook is also fourth in the GNAC at the free throw line shooting almost 86 percent. Junior guard Kaylie Boschma leads the GNAC with 6.7 defensive rebounds per game.

• Western Oregon boasts the best free throw percentage in the GNAC (.781) and has pulled down the second-most defensive rebounds (30.3 per game).

• The Wolves return to GNAC action before the holiday break with a road game at Central Washington on Tues., Dec. 19. Western Oregon ends its four-game road trip on Dec. 30 at Northwest Nazarene.

• Western Washington was one of five GNAC teams to have last week off.

• In their previous game on Nov. 30, the Vikings were silenced with a 75-62 loss to Montana State Billings at Alterowitz Gym.

• Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich has been the go-to scorer for the Vikings this year with 15.6 points per game, good for fifth in the GNAC. Both Stipanovich and sophomore forward Anna Schwecke have been solid on the glass this season as both players rank in the GNAC’s top-seven in rebounds. Schwecke has also provided solid paint presence with 1.1 blocked shots per game.

• Sophomore guard Lexi Bland is third in the league with a .889 free throw percentage (16-18) while sophomore guard Dani Iwami has converted the second-most 3-point field goals this season with 21.

• Western Washington’s win over Simon Fraser two weeks ago was No. 997 all-time in program history, picking up their third straight GNAC opener.

• As a team, Western Washington is No. 3 in the GNAC shooting .762 from the charity stripe. Shooting .364 from long range this season, WWU has converted 56 three-pointers on 154 attempts. The Viks also lead the league with a +10.4 rebounding margin.

• The Vikings return to action on Mon., Dec. 18 when they host the Viking Holiday Hoops Classic. Western Washington will host No. 3 West Texas A&M and Texas A&M International in the two-day tournament.