Penultimate Pondering: Tickets Punched, Eye On D2 Rankings
Western Washington is on the road this week as it goes head-to-head against first-place Montana State Billings for the top spot in the GNAC standings.
Western Washington is on the road this week as it goes head-to-head against first-place Montana State Billings for the top spot in the GNAC standings.

Thursday, February 22, 2024
by Thomas Lal

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two tickets to the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships have already been punched with another looking all but confirmed, leaving three postseason spots up for grabs heading into the penultimate week of the regular season.

The final two weeks of the season are set to be a frenzy as teams look to set their seeding and make a final push for the tournament field. Central Washington and Simon Fraser sit tied for fourth coming into this week’s games with 8-7 GNAC records and are followed closely by Seattle Pacific and Northwest Nazarene. Both CWU and SFU have been in strong form lately and have won their last two games.

Along with the remainder of the regular season schedule, teams will have their eye on the NCAA Division II regional rankings as a key indicator of who might be playing beyond the GNAC Championships. The first rankings of the year came out this week and listed teams in alphabetical order ahead of a true ranking next week. Alaska Anchorage, Montana State Billings and Western Washington all feature in the west region.

GNAC Women's Basketball Standings As Of Wednesday, Feb. 21
GNAC Record
Overall Record
GNAC Win Percentage Overall Win Percentage
*MSUB 13-1 22-4 .929 .846 W5
*WWU 13-2 20-4 .867 .833 W3
UAA 9-5 15-8 .643 .652 L1
CWU 8-7 17-10 .533 .630 W2
SFU 8-7 15-12 .533 .556 W2
SPU 7-7 10-14 .500 .417 L1
NNU 6-9 9-13 .400 .409 W1
WOU 3-11 10-13 .214 .435 L4
SMU 3-11 5-16 .214 .238 L4
UAF 2-11 4-20 .143 .167 L5

*- Clinched GNAC Championships berth | Conference records include 2 games forfeited by Western Oregon.

GNAC Women's Basketball Schedule - Feb. 22-24
  Thursday, Feb. 22
Saturday, Feb. 24
Host Opponent Time Opponent Time
CWU Bye -- NNU 1:00 p.m.
#11 MSUB #13 WWU 7:00 p.m. SFU 2:00 p.m.
SMU UAA 5:15 p.m. UAF 5:15 p.m.
SPU SFU 7:00 p.m. #13 WWU 4:15 p.m.
WOU-Forfeit UAF 5:15 p.m. UAA 2:00 p.m.

 View the complete 2023-24 GNAC women’s basketball schedule online here.

2023-24 GNAC Women's Basketball Championships

The 2023-24 GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships will be held March 7-9 at Nicholson Pavilion on the campus of Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Wash. The top-six teams in the final GNAC regular-season standings will advance to the single-elimination tournament. The winner of the event will earn the conference’s automatic berth into the NCAA West Region Championships.

This Week's Storylines


IN THE NATIONAL PICTURE: Heading into the final stretch of the season every GNAC team features top performers that rank among the elite players in Division II this season. Along with strong individual efforts across the conference, over half of the GNAC’s women’s basketball programs rank in the top 30 of at least one NCAA statistical category.

LIGHTS-OUT ‘CATS: Central Washington (17-10, 8-7 GNAC) has been one of the highest-scoring teams in the conference and earned selection as the GNAC Team of the Week after sweeping its Alaska road trip last time out. The Wildcats’ offense is paced by sophomore guard Asher Cai with 20.6 points per game to rank seventh in Division II. Cai also features among the division’s rebounding leaders, checking in at No. 23 with 243 boards this season. As a team, Central Washington ranks 12th in the nation with an average of 8.3 three-pointers per game and is 27th with a .351 three-point percentage.

SMOOTH SAILING: Western Washington (20-4, 13-2) has locked in its place in the GNAC standings ahead of its big game against first-place Montana State Billings this Thursday. The Vikings feature in the top 10 of several NCAA statical categories, including field goal percentage (3rd), assists per game (5th) and blocks per game (8th) while also cracking in the top 30 of a number of additional categories. Individually, senior forward Brooke Walling checks in at No. 12 in the nation with 12 double doubles while also ranking sixth with a .610 field goal percentage.

SMALL DETAILS, BIG IMPACT: Montana State Billings (22-4, 13-1) has been a contender for the regular season title all season and comes into the week ranked No. 11 WBCA national rankings. In addition to headline statistical numbers, the Yellowjackets have been a perfect example of doing the little things right. The ‘Jackets lead the GNAC and rank third in Division II with a 1.30 assist to turnover ratio and are second in the nation with a .808 free throw percentage. There have been few players better than Dyauni Boyce when it comes to shooting from the free-throw line. The junior forward ranks second in the league and is 24th in the division with a .869 free throw percentage.

SEAWOLVES SUPPORT: Alaska Anchorage (15-8, 9-5) has all but punched its ticket to the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships and will face Saint Martin’s for its lone game of the week. The Seawolves have benefitted from not only a strong starting lineup, but one of the best supporting casts in all of Division II. Alaska Anchorage leads the league and ranks 14th in the division with 29.3 bench points per game. The Seawolves also pull in 15.4 offensive rebounds per game to rank 18th in Division II. Junior forward/center Tori Hollingshead ranks among the nation’s best defensive players, checking in at No. 25 in Division II with 1.96 blocks per game and No. 30 with 3.7 offensive rebounds per contest.

SEEING RED: Simon Fraser (15-12, 8-7) is firmly in the fight for a playoff spot and comes into the week as one of the best blocking teams in all of Division II, checking in at No. 2 in the division with 5.7 blocks per game. That effort has been led by Gemma Cutler who ranks 6th individually in the division with 2.96 blocks per contest. Offensively, Sophia Wisotzki ranks 35th in Division II with 161 total field goals made.

FLYING IN FROM BEYOND THE ARC: Northwest Nazarene (9-13, 6-9) still has a chance to make the postseason as it sits seventh in the conference standings heading into this week’s games. The Nighthawks will be back home this week as they play their lone game of the week against Central Washington on Saturday. Junior guard/forward Madeline Gebers continues to excel as one of the best three-point shooters in the country, ranking first in the GNAC and 6th in Division II with a .452 three-point percentage. Gebers also ranks 32nd in the division with an average of 2.55 three-pointers per game.

ALL ABOARD: Alaska (4-20, 2-12) might not be in the midst of a playoff hunt, but does remain one of the top rebounding teams in the country. The Nanooks pull in 29.2 defensive rebounds per game to rank 19th in Division II while also snagging an average of 40.38 total rebounds per game to rank 50th in the division. The rebounding effort has been led by senior forward Emma Wass who ranks second in the conference and 14th in the division with an average of 7.4 defensive rebounds per contest.

CONSTANT PRESENCE: Saint Martin’s (5-16, 3-11) is led by one of the busiest players in the conference in senior Anjel Galbraith. The Vallejo, Calif., native leads the conference and checks in at No. 16 in Division II playing an average of 36.54 minutes per night. Galbraith puts those minutes to good use, also leading the Saints with 10.9 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Saint Martin’s will be back in Lacey this week as it hosts the Alaska schools for its final home games of the season. The Saints will host the Seawolves on Thursday and the Nanooks on Saturday.

ONCE MORE IN THE EMERALD CITY: Seattle Pacific (10-14, 7-7) occupies the final spot in the top six of the GNAC standings heading into the week as it returns home for the final time this season. The Falcons will host Simon Fraser on Thursday before another big test against No. 13 Western Washington that could determine their postseason fate. Junior forward Olivia Mayer continues to lead the way for SPU, pacing the team in scoring (15.6 ppg), rebounding (7.7 rpg), field goal percentage (47.7%), steals (1.5 spg) and minutes per game (30.8). As a team, Seattle Pacific holds opponents to an average of just 61.6 points per game to rank fourth in the conference.

Player to Watch


Stephanie Peterson, Western Washington

Peterson has shown that she’s a key part of the nationally-ranked Vikings’ success in her senior season and should be an important factor in the week ahead for WWU. The guard from Broomfield, Colo., leads the conference with 4.1 assists per game. She has also been one of the most responsible players in the conference when passing the ball, leading the GNAC and ranking 32nd in the division with a 2.18 assist to turnover ratio. Along with her offensive work, Peterson has been stellar on defense, averaging 2.8 steals per game to lead the GNAC.

Peterson has been playing some of her best basketball down the stretch, notching double-digit points in four of her last seven games. She narrowly missed out on a double double against Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 8, notching 10 points to go with seven steals, six assists and a block. The Vikings will hope that Peterson can turn in that kind of performance again as they hit the road this week to face No. 11 Montana State Billings in a battle for the top spot of the GNAC standings on Thursday.

GNAC in the National & Regional Rankings

The WBCA Division II rankings and the D2CSC rankings are released every Tuesday throughout the season and are the two leading polls nationally. The WBCA top-25 is voted on by a panel of coaches, while the D2CSC top-25 is a poll constructed by sports information directors at Division II schools.

With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the first NCAA regional rankings have been released with teams under consideration organized by alphabetical order. Alaska Anchorage, Montana State Billings and Western Washington all feature among the west region teams being considered heading into the penultimate week of the conference slate.

Montana State Billings and Western Washington both remain in the top 25 of the WBCA national rankings heading into their Thursday rematch. The Yellowjackets stayed put at No. 11 after taking a 66-55 win over Seattle Pacific last Saturday while the Vikings rose two places in the poll to No. 13 after taking an 85-63 win over Saint Martin’s in their final home game of the regular season. In the D2CSC regional rankings, Central Washington leapfrogged Alaska Anchorage and moved up to No. 9 after defeating the now No. 10 Seawolves, 72-65, last Saturday.

NCAA Regional Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Feb. 18 UAA MSUB WWU --


WBCA National Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Preseason 15. MSUB RV WWU -- --
Nov. 21 10. MSUB 21. WWU -- --
Nov. 28 15. WWU 17. MSUB -- --
Dec. 5 13. WWU 16. MSUB -- --
Dec. 12 13. WWU 16. MSUB -- --
Dec. 19 20. WWU 21. MSUB -- --
Jan. 2 14. WWU 17. MSUB -- --
Jan. 9 14. MSUB 21. WWU -- --
Jan. 16 12. MSUB 21. WWU -- --
Jan. 23 9. MSUB 17. WWU -- --
Jan. 30 13. WWU 17. MSUB -- --
Feb. 6 14. MSUB 19.WWU -- --
Feb. 13 11. MSUB 16. WWU -- --
Feb. 20 11. MSUB 13. WWU -- --
D2CSC National Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Nov. 14 10. WWU 21. MSUB -- --
Nov. 21 14. MSUB 17. WWU -- --
Nov. 28 12. WWU 17. MSUB -- --
Dec. 4 9. WWU 15. MSUB --  --
Dec. 12 9. WWU 15. MSUB -- --
Dec. 18 15. MSUB 19. WWU -- --
Jan. 8 9. MSUB 16. WWU -- --
Jan. 17 8. MSUB 14. WWU -- --
Jan. 23 7. MSUB 15. WWU -- --
Jan. 30 11. WWU 19. MSUB -- --
Feb. 6 17. MSUB 23. WWU -- --
Feb. 13 17. MSUB 22. WWU -- --
Feb. 19 15. MSUB 20. WWU -- --
D2CSC West Region Rankings
Poll Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4 Team 5
Nov. 14 1. WWU 3. MSUB 7. UAA 9. CWU --
Nov. 21 1. MSUB 2. WWU 7. UAA RV CWU --
Nov. 28 1. WWU 2. MSUB 8. CWU 9. SFU RV UAA
Dec. 4 1. WWU 2. MSUB 7. CWU RV SFU --
Dec. 11 1. WWU 2. MSUB 5. CWU -- --
Dec. 18 1. MSUB 2. WWU 6. CWU -- --
Jan. 8 1. MSUB 2. WWU 6. CWU -- --
Jan. 16 1. MSUB 2. WWU 7. CWU RV UAA --
Jan. 22 1. MSUB 2. WWU 6. UAA 7. CWU --
Jan. 29 1. WWU 3. MSUB 9.UAA 10. CWU --
Feb. 5 2. MSUB 3. WWU 9. UAA RV CWU --
Feb. 12 2. MSUB 3. WWU 8. UAA 10. CWU --
Feb. 19 2. MSUB 3. WWU 9. CWU 10. UAA --

GNAC Women's Basketball in the NCAA Statistical Rankings

Through games on Feb. 20.

Team Rankings (Top-30)

Assist/Turnover Ratio:
3. MSUB, 1.30; 8. WOU, 1.23; 19. WWU, 1.11
Assists Per Game: 5. WWU, 18.6; 17. MSUB, 16.5; 28. WOU, 15.8
Bench Points Per Game: 14. UAA, 29.3
Blocks Per Game: 2. SFU, 5.7; 9. WWU, 5.1
Field Goal Percentage: 3. WWU, 47.3
Fewest Fouls Per Game: 25. MSUB, 14.4
Free Throw Percentage: 2. MSUB, 80.8; 18. CWU, 76.9
Free Throws Made Per Game: 18. MSUB, 15.73
Rebound Margin: 27. MSUB, 6.5
Defensive Rebounds Per Game: 19. UAF, 29.2
Offensive Rebounds Per Game: 18. UAA
Scoring Margin: 15. MSUB, 14.4; 20. WWU, 13.8
Steals Per Game: 8. UAA, 13.7
Three Point Attempts Per Game: 26. CWU, 24.0
Three Point Percentage: 21. WWU, 35.1; 27. CWU, 34.6; 30. MSUB, 34.5
Three Pointers Per Game: 11. CWU, 8.3; 26. WWU, 7.6; 28. MSUB, 7.6
Turnover Margin: 14. UAA, 5.26
Turnovers Forced Per Game: 19. UAA, 22.17
Fewest Turnovers Per Game: 9. MSUB, 12.7; 10. WOU, 12.9
Winning Percentage: 16. MSUB, 84.6; 19. WWU, 83.3

Individual Rankings (Top-30)

Assist To Turnover Ratio: 3. Shayla Montague, MSUB, 3.31
Blocks: 4. Gemma Cutler, SFU, 74; 21. Brooke Walling, WWU, 48; 26. Tori Hollingshead, UAA, 45
Blocks Per Game: 6. Gemma Cutler, SFU, 2.96; 21. Brooke Walling, WWU, 2.00; 25. Tori Hollingshead, UAA, 1.96
Double Doubles: 12. Brooke Walling, WWU, 12
Field Goal Attempts: 1. Sunny Huerta, CWU, 451; 3. Asher Cai, CWU, 442; 4. Cali McClave, WOU, 425; 8. Sophia Wisotzki, SFU, 392
Field Goal Percentage: 6. Brooke Walling, WWU, 61.0
Field Goals: 6. Asher Cai, CWU, 188; 8. Sunny Huerta, CWU, 185; 16. Brooke Walling, WWU, 169; 28. Sophia Wisotzki, SFU, 161
Free Throw Percentage: 19. Asher Cai, CWU, 87.6; 25. Dyauni Boyce, MSUB, 86.9
Free Throws: 26. Kola Bad Bear, MSUB, 112; 28. Jessica Wisotzki, SFU, 111
Minutes Per Game: 16. Anjel Galbraith, SMU, 36.54
Points Per Game: 6. Asher Cai, CWU, 20.6; 28. Sunny Huerta, CWU, 18.3
Rebounds: 20. Asher Cai, CWU, 243
Defensive Rebounds Per Game: 11. Asher Cai, CWU, 7.5; 13. Emma Wass, UAF, 7.3
Offensive Rebounds Per Game: 15. Capri Sims, CWU, 4.0
Steals: 18. Stephanie Peterson, WWU, 67
Steals Per Game: 23. Stephanie Peterson, WWU, 2.79
Three Point Attempts: 9. Asher Cai, CWU, 198; 26. Grace Killins, SFU, 177
Three Point Percentage: 4. Madeline Gebers, NNU, 45.2; 12. Mason Oberg, WWU, 41.8
Three Pointers: 7. Asher Cai, CWU, 74
Three Pointers Per Game: 21. Asher Cai, CWU, 2.74

GNAC Women's Basketball Players of the Week
Date Offensive Player of the Week
Nov. 6 Asher Cai, Central Washington
Nov. 13 Brooke Walling, Western Washington
Nov. 20 Asher Cai, Central Washington
Nov. 27 Sunny Huerta, Central Washington
Dec. 4 Dyauni Boyce, Montana State Billings
Dec. 11 Kola Bad Bear, Montana State Billings
Dec. 20 Brooke Walling, Western Washington
Jan. 8 Senya Rabouin, Alaska Anchorage
Jan. 15 Riley Dykstra, Western Washington
Jan. 22 Tori Hollingshead, Alaska Anchorage
Jan. 29 Stephanie Peterson, Western Washington
Feb. 5 Olivia Mayer, Seattle Pacific
Feb. 12 Riley Dykstra, Western Washington
Feb. 19 Capri Sims, Central Washington

Player of the Week - Capri Sims, Central Washington

First-career player of the week – first this season.

Sims pulled down a pair of double-doubles and led the Wildcats to a pair of big road wins in Alaska. The freshman scored a season-high 20 points while adding 13 rebounds in CWU’s 78-61 triumph over Alaska last Thursday, making a season-high three 3-pointers in the process. She followed that with 14 points on 7-for-8 shooting and a dozen rebounds in the Wildcats’ 72-65 upset of Alaska Anchorage. Sims led all GNAC players in rebounding (25) and field-goal percentage (.722) in the two games, while averaging 17.0 points to help keep the Wildcats in the upper half of the GNAC standings.

Also Nominated: Senya Rabouin, UAA; Kayla Johnson, UAF; Shayla Montague, MSUB; Kendall Clark, NNU; Anjel Galbraith, SMU; Sophia Wisotzki, SFU; Brooke Walling, WWU.

2023-24 All-Tournament Selections

2023 CCA Canadian Tip-Off Classic
Nov. 3-5 at Langley, B.C. (Simon Fraser, Host)
Alaska: Ellen Silva, F
Central Washington: Asher Cai, G; Sunny Huerta, G
Simon Fraser: Jessica Wisotzki, G

D2CCAA Tipoff Classic at the Trailhead
Nov. 3-5 at Billings, Mont. (Montana State Billings, Host)
Montana State Billings: Kola Bad Bear, F; Dyauni Boyce, F

GNAC/PacWest Crossover
Nov. 10-11 at Honolulu, Hawaii (Hawaii Pacific, Host)
Alaska Anchorage: Jazzpher Evans, G (MVP); Tori Hollingshead, F
Montana State Billings: Chloe Williams, G; Kola Bad Bear, F

WWU Veterans Day Classic
Nov. 10-11 at Bellingham, Wash. (Western Washington, Host)
Seattle Pacific: Olivia Mayer, F
Western Washington: Brooke Walling, F (MVP); Aspen Garrison, F; Riley Dykstra, G

2023 Warrior Classic
Nov. 17-18 at Turlock, Calif. (Stanislaus State, Host)
Simon Fraser: Makenna Gardner, G (MVP); Jessica Wisotzki, G/F; Sophia Wisotzki, G

Lynda Goodrich Classic
Nov. 24-25 at Bellingham, Wash. (Western Washington, Host)
Central Washington: Sunny Huerta, G (MVP); Asher Cai, G
Western Washington: Brooke Walling, F; Stephanie Peterson, G; Riley Dykstra, G; Mason Oberg, G

2023 Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational
Nov. 24-25 at Fairbanks, Alaska (Alaska, Host)
Alaska: Ellen Silva, F; Emma Wass, F

WEST REGION SUCCESS: With non-conference action in the rearview mirror, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference solidified its place in the region with strong showings against regional competition from the CCAA and PacWest. Among the conference’s 10 teams, the GNAC went 18-11 against CCAA opponents and 14-12 against opponents from the PacWest. Western Washington and Simon Fraser combined for 14 of those 32 wins, with each team going 7-2.

Rank Team (1st Place Votes) 2022-23 GNAC Record (Finish) Points
1. Montana State Billings (5) 25-8 14-4 (2nd) 94
2. Western Washington (4) 24-4 16-2 (1st) 91
3. Alaska Anchorage (1) 18-10 10-8 (4th) 75
4. Simon Fraser 10-13 8-10 (6th) 68
5. Central Washington 21-9 12-6 (3rd) 66
6. Seattle Pacific 15-13 9-9 (5th) 51
7. Northwest Nazarene 11-15 7-11 (T7th) 42
8. Saint Martin's 10-16 6-12 (9th) 27
9. Western Oregon 13-13 7-11 (T7th) 19
10. Alaska 4-21 1-17 (10th) 17

 Points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

Preseason Player of the Year: Brooke Walling, Western Washington

Name School Pos. Ht. Yr. Hometown
*!$ Brooke Walling Western Washington F 6-3 Sr. Vancouver, Wash.
*!# Jessica Wisotzki Simon Fraser G/F 6-2 Sr. Langley, B.C.
*! Sunny Huerta Central Washington G 5-4 Jr. Whittier, Calif
*!+ Vishe' Rabb Alaska Anchorage F 5-9 Sr. Springfield, Minn.
%$ Kortney Nelson Montana State Billings G 5-8 Sr. Scobey, Mont.
*% Anjel Galbraith Saint Martin's G 5-5 Sr. Vallejo, Calif.
*&@ Asher Cai Central Washington G 5-9 So. Colfax, Wash.
^$ Riley Dykstra Western Washington G 5-10 Jr. Everson, Wash.
*@ Gemma Cutler Simon Fraser F 6-2 Jr. North Vancouver, B.C.
* Jazzpher Evans Alaska Anchorage G 5-6 Jr. Shorewood, Ill.
Schuyler Berry Seattle Pacific C 6-3 Jr. Portland, Ore.
*% Cali McClave Western Oregon G 5-9 Jr. Corvallis, Ore.
@ Shayla Montague Montana State Billings G 5-11 Sr. Billings, Mont.
@ Dyauni Boyce Montana State Billings F