Simon Fraser's Jones Leads Women's Hoop Preseason Team
A First Team All-GNAC selection in 2019-20, Jessica Jones averaged 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists that season. Photo by Skip Hickey.
A First Team All-GNAC selection in 2019-20, Jessica Jones averaged 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists that season. Photo by Skip Hickey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – Simon Fraser guard Jessica Jones was named the GNAC Preseason Player of the Year and led 15 players who were named to the GNAC Preseason All-Conference Team based on voting by GNAC coaches.

Jones, a senior from Richmond, B.C., has appeared in 80 games and started 78 in three seasons for Simon Fraser. She is the conference’s top returning scorer, and the only returning 2019-20 First Team All-GNAC player. In 2019-20, Jones averaged 17 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while also coming up with 39 steals. Jones shot nearly 39 percent from the field and 35 percent from three-point range.

Nine of the conference’s ten programs were represented on a balanced preseason all-conference roster. Five schools had multiple selections, including Simon Fraser with Jones and fellow guard Kendal Sands, who scored 6.5 points per game while distributing 76 assists in 2019-20.

Western Washington led the conference with three selections. The Vikings placed two senior guards on the all-conference roster – Emma Duff, who averaged 7.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21 after scoring 11.1 per game and earning Honorable Mention All-GNAC selection in 2019-20, and Dani Iwami, who averaged 9.2 points per game in 2020-21. Sophomore forward Brooke Walling is the only conference newcomer named to the team. She appeared in 56 games with nine starts over two seasons at Division I Fresno State University, averaging 2.5 points per game with 48 blocked shots before transferring to WWU in April.

Alaska Anchorage, recently picked to win the conference in this year’s preseason poll, had two selections. Senior forward Tennae Voliva averaged 9.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game while shooting .481 from the field in 2019-20, good enough to make the Honorable Mention All-GNAC team. Senior guard/forward Sala Langi recorded 11.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in a three-game spring 2021 season.

Northwest Nazarene placed two of their four returning starters on the Preseason All-Conference Team. Junior guard/forward Erin Jenkins put up 12.9 points per game with 22 assists and 19 steals in 2020-21 and sophomore forward Nyalam Thabach also produced during the spring with 12.1 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game and 11 blocks in 2020-21.

The final program with multiple players on the Preseason All-Conference Team is Central Washington. Redshirt senior guard Kassidy Malcolm was a Second Team All-GNAC selection in 2019-20 with 10.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game while shooting 46 percent from the field and 81 percent from the line. Redshirt junior and 2019-20 Honorable Mention All-GNAC center Samantha Bowman averaged 11.4 points per game with 37 blocks in 2019-20. The versatile scorer shot 60 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.

Claire Dingus will be the focal point for a Saint Martin’s team that was picked to finish sixth. The junior forward was the GNAC Freshman of the Year in 2019, Second-Team All-GNAC in 2019-20 and was named a WBCA Honorable Mention All-American in 2020-21. Dingus averaged a double-double in a 13-game 2020-21 season, averaging 17.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

Montana State Billings senior forward Taryn Shelley was named to the Preseason All-Conference Team after leading all GNAC players with 17.9 points per game over eight Yellowjacket games in 2020-21 and adding 7.5 rebounds per game and 12 blocks. Shelley was named Honorable Mention All-GNAC in 2019-20 after averaging 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

Seattle Pacific standout Ashley Alter also earned a selection. The senior guard/forward averaged 13.3 points per game in 14 contests over 2020-21, adding 52 rebounds, 21 assists and 25 steals.

The final spot on the Preseason All-Conference team went to Alaska sophomore guard Sam Toliver. As a freshman in 2019-20, Tolliver broke out for the Nanooks with 14 points per game, 54 assists and 35 steals.

Ten of the 15 honorees were unanimous selections: Jones, Duff, Voliva, Langi, Jenkins, Malcolm, Bowman, Dingus, Shelley and Alter.

The first non-conference game of the season is Monday, November 1, when Montana State Billings hosts Montana Tech. The first games of the GNAC season will be played on Thursday, December 2.

Preseason Player of the Year: Jessica Jones, Simon Fraser

Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown (Previous School)
* Jessica Jones Simon Fraser G 5-9 Sr. Richmond, B.C. (McMath)
* Kassidy Malcolm Central Washington F 5-11 Sr. Ellensburg, Wash. (Ellensburg)
* Tennae Voliva Alaska Anchorage F 6-0 Sr. Anchorage, Alaska (East Anchorage)
* Claire Dingus Saint Martin’s F 6-0 Jr. Spokane Valley, Wash. (University)
* Emma Duff Western Washington G 6-0 Sr. Tumwater, Wash. (Black Hills)
* Taryn Shelley Montana State Billings F 6-3 Jr. Shoreline, Wash. (Washington State Univ.)
* Erin Jenkins Northwest Nazarene G/F 6-0 Jr. Lompoc, Calif. (Cabrillo)
* Sala Langi Alaska Anchorage G/F 5-9 Sr. Pacifica, Calif. (Oceana)
* Ashley Alter Seattle Pacific G/F 5-11 Sr. Stanwood, Wash. (Stanwood)
+ Brooke Walling Western Washington F 6-3 So. Vancouver, Wash. (Fresno State Univ.)
* Samantha Bowman Central Washington C 6-3 Jr. Zillah, Wash. (Zillah)
Dani Iwami Western Washington G 5-8 Sr. Seal Beach, Calif. (Hawaii Pacific Univ.)
Nyalam Thabach Northwest Nazarene F 6-3 So. Boise, Idaho (UC Santa Barbara)
Sam Tolliver Alaska G 5-8 So. Seattle, Wash. (Garfield)
Kendal Sands Simon Fraser G 5-9 Sr. Coquitlam, B.C. (Charles Best)
* - Unanimous Selection     
+ - Conference Newcomer