Nighthawks Pull Stunner As Home Stretch Nears
Cami Knishka went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, including 3 of 3 with no time on the clock to tie the game, helping NNU to an upset win over Western Washington.
Cami Knishka went 11 of 12 from the free-throw line, including 3 of 3 with no time on the clock to tie the game, helping NNU to an upset win over Western Washington.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Northwest Nazarene secured an improbable victory on Thursday, defeating No. 6 Western Washington in overtime after a wild sequence of events resulted in NNU guard Cami Knishka hitting the game-tying free-throw with no time on the clock.

Up three and at the line with a chance to ice the game, Western Washington missed both free throws, and NNU’s Erin Jenkins pulled down the rebound on the second with three seconds left and counting. Jenkins got the ball to Knishka, whose desperation attempt at the buzzer hit the top of the backboard, but a foul was whistled on the shot. After a lengthy video review, Knishka went to the line with three free throws and the opportunity to tie the game, and the sophomore point guard hit all three as part of an 11 for 12 performance from the line overall. The tide turned after that point, with NNU outscoring the Vikings 12-5 in the extra period to complete the upset.

Western Washington got on the positive end of a classic finish in its other game of the week, however. In a back-and-forth game filled with clutch shot after clutch shot, WWU narrowly defeated the Wildcats 74-72 behind a herculean performance from Emma Duff, who scored 29 points, a career-high, and added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.

Despite suffering their second loss of the season, the win over a Wildcats team not far removed from a 10-game win streak means that Western Washington maintained the top spot in both the traditional GNAC standings and the Points Rating System (PRS) standings, as well the D2SIDA West Region rankings. The Vikings are ranked No. 6 nationally in the D2SIDA poll and No. 11 in the WBCA Coaches Poll.   

Central Washington made conference history on Thursday night by going a perfect 24-for-24 from the free-throw line as a team, setting a new conference record for most free throws in a single game without a miss. That was only one aspect of an offense that was firing on all cylinders during a 92-69 victory over Simon Fraser.

Alaska Anchorage kept themselves firmly in the conversation for a top seed with a pair of wins over Western Oregon and in-state rival Alaska. Tennae Voliva won the Seawolves’ first GNAC Player of the Week award of the year by averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, led by a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double against the Nanooks.

With the season down to the final couple of weeks, teams are using every available opportunity to make up previously postponed games, leading to some hectic schedules. Western Washington will be the busiest, playing a daunting five games in eight days, and Northwest Nazarene and Simon Fraser will play four times in that span. This week’s slate is full of potential tournament semifinal and final match-ups, between Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington on Saturday, Alaska Anchorage and Central Washington on Monday and Western Washington at Northwest Nazarene on Monday.  

The race is also on to get in the top six to avoid playing a first-round game on Wednesday under the new tournament structure. Important games to decide those spots include Seattle Pacific at Western Oregon on Monday and a home-and-home between Simon Fraser and Alaska on Saturday and Tuesday.


In an effort to lessen the effects of postponements and cancellations of games this season due to COVID-19, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference has announced changes to the field sizes and qualifying criteria for its 2022 men’s and women’s basketball championships.

The conference’s Management Council and CEO Board unanimously voted to expand this year’s tournament to all 10 men’s and women’s programs. The GNAC Championships will run from March 2 to 5.

To accommodate full fields in both genders, the first two rounds of games will be split between Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, and Seattle Pacific University. In total, six games – two play-in contests and four quarterfinals matchups – will be contested at SPU’s Royal Brougham Pavilion. The other 12 games, including the semifinals and championship games in both genders, will be played at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin’s, which was awarded tournament-hosting rights two years ago.

For each gender, the No. 7 through No. 10 seeds will compete in play-in games on Wednesday, March 2. The winners will advance to an eight-team bracket, which will begin play on Thursday, March 3.

With the prospect of conference teams playing unbalanced schedules, tournament seeding in 2022 will be based on a points rating system rather than win/loss percentage.

The points rating system is an end-of-season calculation that attaches numeric values to each result based on whether the game was at home or on the road and where each opponent’s final conference winning percentage fell (i.e., .750 and above, .500 to .749, .250 to .499 and .249 and below). The better an opponent’s final winning percentage, the greater the point values for a win or a loss.

It is similar to one of the key metrics used by Division II in ranking teams under consideration for NCAA postseason at-large berths in multiple sports, including men’s and women’s basketball.

Championship brackets are expected to be announced on Saturday, February 26, following the conclusion of the final games of the regular season. Ticket information for both venues will be released at a later date.

Points shall be awarded for each conference contest played:
7 points – win over a .750 or better team on the road
6.5 points – win over a .750 or better team at home
6 points – win over a .500 or better team on the road
5 points – win over a .500 or better team at home
4.5 points – win over a .250 or better team on the road
4 points – win over a .250 team or better at home
3.5 points – win over an under .250 team on the road
3 points – win over an under .250 team at home
2.5 points – loss at home or on the road to a .750 or better team
2 points – loss to a .500 or better team at home or on the road
1 point – loss to a .250 or better team at home or on the road
.5 points – loss to an under .250 team on the road
0 points – loss to an under .250 team at home


It is easy and free to access live streams and live stats for all 10 GNAC institutions. Visit on your computer or device to access all that the conference’s digital network has to offer.


Tennae Voliva
Alaska Anchorage
F • 6-0 • Sr. • Anchorage, Alaska
Voliva averaged 19.5 points and nine rebounds per game to lead the Seawolves to a 2-0 week. Voliva finished with 16 points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes of action in Thursday’s 73-65 win over Western Oregon, going 4 of 8 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line. She then led all scorers with 23 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s 74-62 win at Alaska, shooting 7 of 15 from the field and 9 of 11 from the free-throw line. She also had four assists and two steals in the win.

Also Nominated:
Kassidy Malcolm (Central Washington), Taryn Shelley (Montana State Billings), Erin Jenkins (Northwest Nazarene), Tierney DeDonatis (Saint Martin’s), Georgia Swant (Simon Fraser), Princy Paaluhi-Caulk (Western Oregon), Emma Duff (Western Washington).


• Alaska lost an in-state rivalry match-up with Alaska Anchorage in its only game of the week, coming up short on Saturday, 74-62.
Ellen Silva led the way for Alaska against her former team. Silva, who spent the 2019-20 season redshirting for UAA before transferring to Alaska, played a career-high 30 minutes and grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds against the Seawolves. Silva also had eight points on 4 of 9 shooting and two assists, two blocks and a steal. She is averaging 4.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.
• Sophomore forward Caitlin Pusich was the Nanooks’ leading scorer, tallying 12 points, all of which came from behind the arc. Pusich shot 4 of 7 from deep and 4 of 9 from the field overall. Pusich is averaging 3.6 points per game, but has gone for double figures in three of her last five games.   
Paola Perez-Mendoza had another versatile performance with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Perez-Mendoza ranks second in the GNAC in both assists per game (3.9) and steals per game (2.4). She was one of three Nanooks to share the team lead with four assists against Alaska Anchorage alongside Pusich and Destiny Riemers.
• Alaska is averaging 61.9 points and 36.6 rebounds per game. They rank third in the GNAC in blocks per game with 3.4 and fourth in steals per game with 8.4.
• Alaska heads on the road to No. 11/6 Western Washington on Thursday and Simon Fraser on Saturday. 

• Alaska Anchorage ran its win streak to six with a pair of wins over Western Oregon on Tuesday, 73-65, and in-state rival Alaska on Saturday, 74-62.
Tennae Voliva won UAA’s first GNAC Player of the Week award of the season by averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in the two wins. Voliva had an incredibly efficient performance against Western Oregon, scoring 16 points and seven rebounds in just 16 minutes of action. Against Alaska, Voliva recorded a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double alongside four assists and two steals. She is averaging a team-high 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and ranks second in the GNAC with a .838 free-throw percentage after hitting 17 of 19 from the line this week.
Jahnna Hajdukovich broke out for 16 points against Western Oregon on 4 of 5 from behind the arc and 4 of 4 from the line. It’s the most points Hajdukovich has scored since her career-high 28 against Texas-Permian Basin on November 20. Hajdukovich ranks fourth in the GNAC with a .372 three-point shooting percentage, having hit 32 of 86 triples on the year.   
• Guard Jazzpher Evans was Voliva’s primary offensive sidekick against the Nanooks. Evans scored 16 points on 6 of 12 from the field, 1 of 3 from deep and 3 of 4 from the line, the most in a Seawolves uniform for the transfer from Quincy. Evans is averaging 7.2 points per game.
• The Seawolves forced 20 steals against Alaska, which matches a GNAC single-game season-high. Alaska Anchorage is responsible for three of the four times a GNAC team has had 20 steals in a game this season.
• Alaska Anchorage ranks third in the GNAC in assists per game (15.8) and scoring defense (59.5 points per game). They rank 11th in Division II (12.8) and 13th in turnover margin (+6.65)
• Alaska Anchorage remains at No. 5 in the D2SIDA West Regional rankings. They are receiving votes in the D2SIDA national poll.
• Alaska Anchorage hits the road to face Simon Fraser on Thursday before huge clashes with No. 11/6 Western Washington on Saturday and Central Washington on Monday.

• Central Washington crushed Simon Fraser 92-69 on Thursday before dropping a close game at home to No. 11/6 Western Washington on Saturday, 74-72.
• The Wildcats had a historic night from the free-throw line against Simon Fraser, going a perfect 24-for-24 from the stripe. That mark sets a new GNAC record for most free throws in a game without a miss, topping the old record of 23 set by Northwest Nazarene against Cal State Bakersfield in 2003.  
Kassidy Malcolm backed up her Player of the Week performance from last week by averaging 25 points per game in the two contests. Malcolm led all scorers with 27 against Simon Fraser before scoring 23 against WWU. She ranks ninth in Division II with a .442 three-point percentage and 25th in Division II with a .867 free-throw percentage, leading the conference in both categories. Malcolm also overtook teammate Kizzah Maltezo for the GNAC scoring lead at 19.5 points per game.
• Maltezo didn’t have a bad week by any means, averaging 17.5 points per game, including 18 against Simon Fraser which included shooting 4 of 9 from beyond the arc. Maltezo ranks eighth in Division II in three-pointers attempted (188) and 16th in three-pointers made (62).
Samantha Bowman averaged 15.5 rebounds per game and continues to lead Division II with 15.9 per game for the season. Bowman recorded 12 points and 17 rebounds against Simon Fraser and 13 points and 14 rebounds against WWU. The pair of double-doubles gives Bowman 16 on the season, which ranks second in Division II.
• Central Washington held steady at No. 6 in the D2SIDA West Region rankings. They lead the GNAC in scoring (73.7 points per game), free-throw percentage (.760) and three-point percentage (.336).
• Central Washington plays at Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin’s on Saturday before hosting Alaska Anchorage on Monday.

• Montana State Billings recorded two home wins in very different ways, winning a nail-biting 52-50 game over Saint Martin’s on Thursday before comfortably beating Western Oregon 72-52 on Saturday.
Taryn Shelley averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds per game, posting a pair of dominant double-doubles. Shelley scored 20 points and 13 rebounds along with an assist, a block and a steal against Saint Martin’s, including eight consecutive points that turned a 46-42 deficit into a 50-46 lead with 2:40 to play. Against WOU, Shelley had 16 points and 11 rebounds on 7 of 9 from the field. Shelley ranks eighth in the GNAC in scoring (14.3 points per game) and fourth in rebounding (7.9 per game).
Cariann Kunkel averaged 12 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, highlighted by 13 points against SMU and 11 points, six rebounds and two steals against WOU. Kunkel ranks 11th in the GNAC at 12.4 points per game.
• Shelley and Kunkel were two of four Yellowjackets in double figures against Western Oregon. Addison Gardner scored a season-high 15 points along with four rebounds. Kortney Nelson scored 11 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out four assists.
• Montana State Billings is averaging 67 points and 38.4 rebounds per game. The Yellowjackets lead the GNAC in assist/turnover ratio (1.2) and ranks second in free-throw percentage (.754).
• Montana State Billings earned the No. 7 spot in the D2SIDA West Region rankings, moving up one ranking for the second consecutive week.
• The conference’s leader with 24 games played, MSUB will have a light schedule during a hectic period for many other teams. They play only once this week, on the road against Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

• Northwest Nazarene earned a huge win, knocking off No. 11/6 Western Washington 77-70 in overtime on Thursday, but suffered a letdown losing to Simon Fraser 96-86 at home on Saturday.
Cami Knishka had perhaps the most clutch moment of the season to turn the tide in the Western Washington game. With NNU down by three, Knishka was fouled on a desperation game-tying three-point attempt. With no time on the clock, Knishka calmly hit all three free-throws to force overtime, part of an 11-for-12 performance from the line overall.
Erin Jenkins averaged 16 points and seven rebounds over the two games, highlighted by a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double against WWU, which included a key rebound and pass to Knishka’s shot attempt. Jenkins scored a team-high 18 points against Simon Fraser. She is averaging 11.8 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.
Nyalam Thabach averaged 14.5 points and seven rebounds per game, led by 17 points, seven boards and a block against WWU. Thabach ranks ninth in the GNAC in scoring (13.1 points per game) and sixth in rebounding (7.3 per game).
• The Nighthawks lead the conference in rebounds per game (41) and averaged 40.5 over their two games last week. They rank second in scoring offense (72.9 points per game).
• Northwest Nazarene fell to eighth in the D2SIDA West Region rankings, losing one spot for the second consecutive week.
• A challenging stretch of four road games in seven days awaits NNU, starting with Simon Fraser on Tuesday followed by Saint Martin’s on Thursday, Western Oregon on Saturday and No. 11/6 Western Washington on Monday.

• Saint Martin’s started the week with two losses to Seattle Pacific 63-43 on Tuesday and 52-50 at Montana State Billings on Thursday, but got revenge with a clutch road win over Seattle Pacific on Saturday, 58-51 in overtime.
 • Down 46-38 with two minutes left against Seattle Pacific, the Saints forced turnovers on three straight possessions and converted all three into points. Tierney Dedonatis hit a jumper and a three-pointer before Rian Clear hit a game-tying three with 21 seconds left. With all the momentum, Saint Martin’s outscored SPU 12-5 in the extra period to seal the win.
• DeDonatis was the week’s offensive star for SMU, averaging 17 points per game. After tallying 11 points and five assists in Tuesday’s loss, DeDonatis recorded 17 points on 6 of 12 from the field and 3 of 5 from deep on Thursday. She saved her best for the win over SPU, recording 23 points, six assists and two steals.
Claire Dingus averaged 15 points and five rebounds per game. She scored a team-high 14 with five rebounds and four steals on Tuesday, 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting on Thursday and a near double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds in Saturday’s win. Dingus scored six of her 14 points in overtime. She leads the GNAC in steals (2.5 per game) and ranks third in scoring (17 points per game), rebounding (eight per game) and free-throw percentage (.835).
• Saint Martin’s is averaging 62.1 points and 36.6 rebounds per game. They rank third in the conference in free-throw percentage (.720).
• Saint Martin’s will host Northwest Nazarene on Thursday and Central Washington on Saturday before traveling north to face No. 11/6 Western Washington in Bellingham on Tuesday, February 22.

• Seattle Pacific began the strong week with a 63-43 win over Saint Martin’s on Tuesday and a 67-54 win over Western Oregon on Thursday before dropping a rematch to Saint Martin’s 58-51 in overtime on Saturday.
Anna Eddy had a breakout offensive week, leading the team in scoring in both wins. The sharpshooting guard averaged 12 points per game for the week, shooting 41 percent from three-point range. Eddy had 15 points on 6 of 10 shooting on Tuesday, including 3 of 5 on three-pointers, then followed up with 14 points on Thursday. Eddy is hitting 39 percent of her threes this season (23-59), which ranks second in the GNAC.
Kaprice Boston had the best offensive game of the week for SPU, scoring 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting in the loss to Saint Martin’s. Boston hit three triples herself, matching a season-high. Boston is averaging 7.9 points per game.
Natalie Hoff averaged 9.7 points and seven rebounds per game, highlighted by 13 points and eight rebounds in Tuesday’s win. Beth Pettingill averaged five rebounds per game, including nine against Western Oregon, which matched a season-high.
• The Falcons have hung their hat on defense all season long. They rank second in the GNAC in scoring defense at 59.1 points per game, and are 13th in Division II in field goal percentage defense (.345) and 14th in defensive rebounds (29.7 per game).
• Seattle Pacific has a challenging week with a rivalry match-up with No. 11/6 Western Washington on Tuesday before hosting Montana State Billings on Saturday and playing at Western Oregon on Monday.

• Simon Fraser took a 92-69 loss on Thursday to Central Washington but rallied for a road win over Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, 96-86.  • In the span of three days, Simon Fraser both scored the highest amount of points in a conference game this season (96) and gave up the second-highest amount (92). That’s par for the course for a Simon Fraser team that ranks third in the GNAC in scoring offense (71.3 points per game) but ninth in scoring defense (70.8 points per game).
• Simon Fraser had a trio of on-fire scorers this week, with Jessica Wisotzki,  Jessica Jones and Georgia Swant all averaging between 15.5 and 16.5 points over the past two games. Jones led the way against CWU with 17 points on 7 of 15 shooting. Swant and Wisotzki took the lead in the win over NNU with 21 points apiece, while all three finished with eight rebounds. Swant finished 4 of 9 from three for the week. She ranks eighth in the GNAC with a .341 three-point percentage, just behind Wisotzki (.344).
• Sophomore reserve guard Grace Killins had what has to be considered the most efficient shooting performance of the season against Northwest Nazarene. In just eight minutes of court time, Killins went 5 of 7 from behind the arc for 15 points and added a steal and an offensive rebound for good measure. Killins is averaging 6.9 points per game. She makes 1.5 three-pointers per game, which ranks 10th in the GNAC.
• Simon Fraser ranks second in the GNAC and 28th in Division II with 15.8 assists per game. They are second in the conference and 33rd in Division II with 7.8 made threes per game.
• Simon Fraser hosts three games in five days, taking on NNU again on Tuesday before welcoming Alaska Anchorage on Thursday and Alaska on Saturday. The team will then jet north to play Alaska in Fairbanks on Tuesday, February 22.

• Western Oregon took three losses in five days, falling to Alaska Anchorage 73-65 on Tuesday, Seattle Pacific 67-54 on Thursday and MSUB 72-52 on Saturday.
Princy Paaluhi-Caulk burst on the scene for the Wolves this week, averaging 17.5 points per game. Paaluhi-Caulk, a sophomore transfer from Concordia (Ore.), had played more than 10 minutes in only one game since Thanksgiving, but seized a bigger role when she was given it last week. After not playing in Tuesday’s game, Paaluhi-Caulk scored 17 points against SPU and 18 points against MSUB. She was the only WOU player in double figures in each game. Paaluhi-Caulk is averaging 3.9 points per game this season.
Cali McClave had a strong performance against Alaska Anchorage, scoring 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting, including 3 of 7 from long range, while adding four assists and three steals. McClave averaged 9.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.3 steals over the week. She ranks sixth in the GNAC with 1.8 steals per game.  
Meadow Aragon averaged 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, with highs of 11 points against Alaska Anchorage and eight rebounds against SPU. Aragon ranks second in the GNAC and 23rd in Division II with 2.06 blocks per game.
• As a team, Western Oregon leads the GNAC and ranks 11th in Division II with five blocks per game. They rank fourth in the conference in rebounds per game (38.8).  
• The Wolves get to stay in Monmouth this week, hosting Central Washington on Thursday, Northwest Nazarene on Saturday and Seattle Pacific on Monday.

• Western Washington were stunned at home by Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, 77-70 in overtime, but rebounded by pulling out a gritty 74-72 road win over Central Washington on Saturday, avenging what had previously been its only loss.
Emma Duff had a frustrating game against NNU, fouling out after seven points in just 12 minutes, but she more than made up for it with her performance against Central Washington. Duff scored 29 points, a new high in an already illustrious career, shooting 11 of 23 from the field and 4 of 8 from outside. Duff added six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block.  
• Forward Brooke Walling averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game over the week. Walling had a team-high 16 points with eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks against NNU before adding seven points and five rebounds against Central. Walling is averaging 7.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, which ranks ninth in the GNAC.  
Mollie Olson averaged 11.5 points per game, led by 14 points against NNU.
• Western Washington leads the conference in a multitude of categories, including scoring defense (52.3 points per game), scoring margin (+18) and rebounding margin (+9.5), field-goal percentage (.463) and three-point percentage (.341).
• The Vikings remained at No. 6 in the D2SIDA Media Poll and fell to No. 11 in the WBCA Coaches Poll. The Vikings also remained at No. 1 in the D2SIDA West Region rankings, earning 4 of 6 first-place votes.
• The Vikings are preparing for a daunting task of five games in eight days. They will play at Seattle Pacific on Tuesday before coming home to host Alaska on Thursday, Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Northwest Nazarene on Monday and Saint Martin’s on Tuesday.