Box-Office Saints Off To Undefeated Start
Claire Dingus averaged 26.5 points and nine rebounds over two games on her way to being named GNAC Player of the Week.
Claire Dingus averaged 26.5 points and nine rebounds over two games on her way to being named GNAC Player of the Week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021


Claire Dingus
Saint Martin’s
F • 6-0 • Jr. • Spokane Valley, Wash.
Dingus averaged 26.5 points and nine rebounds per game as the Saints to a pair of wins at the Western Oregon Tournament. Dingus came alive for 32 points, 10 rebounds and five steals on 11 of 17 from the field in Friday’s 68-63 come-from-behind victory over Sonoma State. She had 23 points in the second half as the Saints came back from a 39-19 halftime deficit. Dingus finished with 21 points and eight rebounds in Saturday’s 55-54 win over Chico State. For the week, Dingus shot 62.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Also Nominated: Pearle Green (Alaska), Nicole Pinkney (Alaska Anchorage), Erin Jenkins (Northwest Nazarene), Meadow Aragon (Western Oregon), Emma Duff (Western Washington).


• Alaska opened up its season last weekend at the Seawolf Hoops Classic in Anchorage and went 1-1, topping Texas-Permian Basin 71-69 on Friday before losing to Hillsdale 81-69 on Saturday.  
• With only one returning starter, the Nanooks will need some newcomers to step up, but the early returns on Alaska’s freshman class are looking good. Pearle Green averaged 21 points per game this week, including 24 against Hillsdale. Green is tied for the league scoring lead and also paces the conference with five three-pointers made per game.
• Destiny Riemers scored double figures in both games, highlighted by a well-rounded performance of 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists against Texas-Permian Basin. Riemers had 11 points with five assists against Hillsdale. She leads the GNAC with 5.5 assists per game. Paola Perez-Mendoza, yet another freshman, leads the GNAC with 3.5 steals per game.
• As a team, Alaska leads the GNAC in assists per game (19.5) and is tied for second in blocks per game (four).  
• Alaska will have a busy Thanksgiving weekend as they prepare to play three games in three days as the host of the Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational. The Nanooks will face Tampa on Thursday, Northwood on Friday and Southern Nazarene on Saturday. All four schools will face one another over the weekend in a round-robin format. 

• Alaska Anchorage improved to 3-0 on the season by beating Hillsdale 69-61 on Friday and Texas Permian-Basin 73-53 on Saturday as part of the Seawolf Hoops Classic at the Alaska Airlines Center.
• Junior guard Nicole Pickney impacted multiple areas of the box score, averaging 11.5 points, five rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game over the two wins. Pickney ranks fourth in the GNAC with 4.7 assists per game.  
• Senior forward Sali Langa led UAA against Hillsdale with 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting while going a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Langa leads the GNAC with a .750 field goal percentage (12-16).
• The Seawolves were carried against Texas-Permian Basin by a career night from Jahnna Hajdukovich. The junior guard sniped from behind the arc all night long, shooting 9-for-18 from the field and 8-for-16 from three-point range on her way to a career-high 28 points, the second-highest single-game total by a GNAC player so far this season.
• Alaska Anchorage leads the conference in scoring offense (80.7 points per game), scoring defense (52.3 points allowed per game), steals (11.7 per game) and turnover margin (+8.33) while tying for the league lead in field goal percentage (.474).
• Alaska Anchorage is now the No. 1-ranked team in the country according to the D2SIDA Media Poll, up one spot from last week. The Seawolves received 10 out of 16 first-place votes in that poll. The WBCA Coaches Poll has UAA ranked 9th, up from 12th in preseason. The Seawolves held steady at the No. 1 spot for the D2SIDA West Region rankings.
• Up next, Alaska Anchorage will welcome Winston-Salem to the Alaska Airlines Center for a double-header, playing the Rams consecutively on Friday and Saturday.

• Central Washington had a 1-1 week in Nampa at the NNU Classic, suffering a 78-71 loss to Westminster (Utah) on Friday before bouncing back with a 79-63 win over West Texas A&M on Saturday.
• The Wildcats have been relying on the two-headed monster of Samantha Bowman and Kizzah Maltezo. Bowman has been a two-way force, ranking fourth in the GNAC with 19 points per game while leading the conference with 14.8 rebounds per game and claiming a share of the lead with four blocks per game. Bowman has three double-doubles in four games this year and missed a fourth by one rebound.
• Maltezo has been a straight bucket-getter since arriving at CWU from Concordia (Ore.), averaging 25 points per game this week. She had 27 points on 12-for-21 shooting against Westminster before scoring 23 points against West Texas A&M, shooting 8-for-12 from the field and 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. The senior guard is part of a three-way tie for the GNAC scoring lead at 21 points per game and has topped the 20-point mark in three straight contests.
• Other Wildcats have stepped up too. Senior forward Kassidy Malcolm just missed a double-double against Westminster with 17 points and nine rebounds, which included six offensive boards. Malcolm ranks eighth in the GNAC with 7.3 rebounds per game. Freshman forward Claire Heitschmidt came off the bench to score 17 points against West Texas A&M.
• The Wildcats remained in the D2SIDA West Region Rankings at No. 10 but dropped four spots from their ranking last week.
• Central Washington will spend the holiday weekend in their home gym, hosting Westminster (Utah) for a rematch on Friday and MSU Denver on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings recorded a blowout 81-44 win over South Dakota Mines on Saturday before losing to Carroll (Mont.), a top-10 nationally-ranked team in the NAIA, 70-53 on Sunday.
• The 37-point margin of victory against South Dakota Mines was the second-highest for a GNAC team so far this year.
• Point guard Danielle Zahn scored 14 points to lead the Yellowjackets against South Dakota Mines, but a balanced attack saw Taryn Shelley and Cariann Kunkel also reach double figures and nine different MSUB players score.
• Kunkel scored 11 points on Sunday in the loss to Carroll to finish in double figures in both games this week. She ranks fourth in the GNAC with a .627 field goal percentage (32-51).
• Montana State Billings leads the GNAC in free throw percentage (.782), no small feat since they have also attempted the most free throws in the conference (87).
• The Yellowjackets moved up a spot to No. 7 in the D2SIDA West Region Rankings.
• The Yellowjackets will be in South Dakota this weekend, battling Northern State on Friday and taking on MSU Moorhead in a neutral site game Saturday.

• Northwest Nazarene got in the win column with a pair of victories on their home floor. The Nighthawks defeated West Texas A&M 77-73 on Friday and Westminster (Utah) 61-54 on Saturday.
• Erin Jenkins led the Nighthawks with 16 points, four rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The junior forward had 22 points against West Texas A&M on 9-for-12 shooting, then added 10 points to go with four rebounds and four assists against Westminster. Jenkings ranks eighth in the GNAC with 13.3 points per game.
• Lydia Nieto led NNU against Westminster with 18 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals. Nieto had five points and eight assists against West Texas A&M. She ranks second in the GNAC with 5.3 assists per game, and tied for sixth with two steals per game.
• Sophomore Emma Clark had seven steals this week, including five against West Texas A&M. She is averaging two steals per game.  
• The Nighthawks are the GNAC’s second-best rebounding team, pulling in 41.5 boards per game. The effort is led by Teagan Thurman, who ranks sixth in the conference with 7.5 rebounds per game, and Nyalam Thabach, who ranks tenth with 6.8 rebounds per game. Thurman had 12 rebounds against Westminster.
• The Nighthawks are spending the weekend in San Diego at the Sea Lions Thanksgiving Classic, facing host Point Loma on Friday and Concordia Irvine on Saturday.

• Saint Martin’s improved to 4-0 in thrilling fashion, with a come-from-behind victory against Sonoma State on Friday and a one-point nailbiting win against Chico State on Saturday.
• Saints junior forward Claire Dingus was named the GNAC Player of the Week for a pair of dominant scoring performances. Dingus scored 32 points, 10 rebounds and five steals against Sonoma State before finishing with 21 points and eight rebounds against Chico State. For the week, Dingus shot 62.1 percent from the field, 50 percent from three-point range and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line.
• Saint Martin’s needed every last one of Dingus’s points against Sonoma State. The Saints found themselves down by 20 points at halftime and by 15 after three quarters, but outscored the Seawolves 33-13 in an astonishing fourth quarter to take a 68-63 victory. Dingus was at her best in the second half, with 23 points on 8 of 11 shooting.
• Saturday’s match-up with Chico State was more of a see-saw battle, with the Saints leading by two at the break but finding themselves down in the final seconds until Dingus hit a game-winning jumper with six seconds remaining. Dingus ranks fifth in the GNAC in scoring (18.8 points per game) and tied for third in rebounding (8.5 per game).
• Rian Clear averaged 10 points for the Saints, led by her 16 against Chico State.
• Sophomore center Emily Nelson ranks eighth in the GNAC with 7.3 rebounds per game. She had seven rebounds in both games this week.
• As a result of their undefeated start, Saint Martin’s is now ranked No. 4 in the D2SIDA West Region Rankings. They also received votes in the national D2SIDA Poll.
• Saint Martin’s has a two-game Texas road trip early in the week, taking on Saint Mary’s (Texas) on Tuesday before facing Texas A&M-International on Thanksgiving Day.

• Seattle Pacific endured a disappointing winless week against tough competition at the CSUSM Hoops Classic, losing 71-50 to host Cal State San Marcos before taking then-No. 5 Azusa Pacific to overtime, eventually falling 67-61. The Falcons have lost three straight after winning their opening two games.
• Ashley Alter was the Falcons’ leading scorer, averaging 12 points and five rebounds per game. Alter buried a layup with just a second left in regulation to send the Azusa Pacific game to overtime, two of her 16 points in that contest.
• Natalie Hoff averaged 11 points per game during the week, led by 14 against Azusa Pacific. Hoff ranks 10th in the league in scoring with 12.5 points per game, and she is fourth in free throw percentage at .875 (14-16).
• Center Kayla Brundidge blocked four shots against Cal State San Marcos, along with six points and four rebounds. Brundidge is now averaging a block per game. Bayley Brennan was the leading scorer off the bench against CSUSM with nine points on 3 of 7 shooting.
• Abril Rexach Roure is fifth in the league with 2.2 steals per game, but is tied for first in total steals with 11.  
• Seattle Pacific dropped out of the D2SIDA West Region rankings after their 0-2 week.
• The Falcons will travel to Ellensburg, facing MSU Denver on Friday and Westminster (Utah) on Saturday. 

• Simon Fraser did not play last week. They sit with a 2-4 record and have still played the second-most games in the conference despite taking a week off. Two weeks ago, SFU beat Holy Names 79-59 before losing to Academy of Art 59-56 in overtime.
• Any SFU fan is going to need to get used to the last name Wisotzki. Sophomore guard Jessica Wisotzki has been SFU’s leading scorer in three of their six games, including a career-high 26 points against Holy Names, which is the most points in a game by a GNAC player this year.
• Her sister, freshman Sophia Wisotzki, is a playmaker in her own right, averaging 7.2 points per game and leading the team with 17 assists.
• Emma Kramer is also thriving with increased playing time this season. Against Holy Names, Kramer had a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, and then led SFU with 11 points against the Academy of Art.
• Along with Kramer, senior forward Claudia Hart leads the team with five rebounds per game. Hart pulled down a season-high 11 boards in Tuesday’s loss.
• Simon Fraser will be in San Diego for the Sea Lions Thanksgiving Classic, taking on Concordia Irvine on Friday and host Point Loma on Saturday.

• Western Oregon recorded a pair of wins at their home tournament, beating Chico State 68-60 on Friday before coasting past Sonoma State 81-56 on Saturday.
• Meadow Aragon has been arguably the breakout player of the season thus far in the GNAC. Aragon averaged 15.5 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game in the Wolves’ two wins, leading the conference over the course of the week in rebounds and blocks per game. Against Chico State, Aragon had 16 points and 14 rebounds, which including eight offensive rebounds. The next day against Sonoma, Aragon recorded 14 points and eight rebounds. Aragon ranks second in the GNAC with a .649 field goal percentage.
• Tresai McCarver had nine points and nine assists against Chico State. The nine assists is the most in a single game by a GNAC player this season. McCarver ranks seventh in the GNAC with four assists per game.
• Western Oregon is tied for the league lead in field goal percentage (.474) while also leading the league in rebounds (41.8 per game).
• The Wolves are the second of two GNAC schools to head to Texas for Thanksgiving week. Western Oregon will face Texas A&M-Kingsville on Wednesday and Texas A&M-International on Friday.

• Western Washington put themselves on the map with two huge regional wins. The Vikings defeated Azusa Pacific, which entered the game ranked fifth in the WBCA Coaches Poll and seventh in the D2SIDA poll, 73-57 before knocking off Cal State San Marcos on their home floor, 78-73.
• For their 2-0 week against two preseason conference favorites, the Vikings were named the GNAC’s Team of the Week.
 • Emma Duff led the way for the Vikings, averaging a double-double for the week with 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Senior guard Dani Iwami averaged 10 points and four assists per game, while junior Mollie Olson chipped in 11 points per game.
• The Vikings dominated APU from start to finish. Duff was everywhere, posting a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds and shooting 8-for-17 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line.
• The Vikings outrebounded Azusa Pacific 45-30, with Katrina Gimmaka (seven), Brooke Walling (six) and Carley Zaragoza (five) also producing in that category.
• Against Cal State San Marcos, Duff had 18 points while shooting 80 percent from the field. Walling had 13 points and eight rebounds. The Vikings shot over 50 percent from the field for the game, making 31 of 61 attempts, while CSUSM could only muster 39 percent shooting.
• Western Washington entered last week at No. 4 in the D2SIDA West Region rankings, but beat the previous No. 2 (APU) and No. 3 (CSUSM) teams head-to-head, helping the Vikings rise to No. 2 in this week’s poll.
• Because of the strength of their two wins, the Vikings also entered the national polls, coming in at No. 13 in both the WBCA Coaches Poll and the D2SIDA Media Poll.
• Up next, Western Washington has a two-game road trip to Colorado, facing Regis on Friday and Colorado Christian on Saturday.