WWU's Bragg and Woodworth named first-team GNAC all-stars

Richard Woodworth

March 3, 2014

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Two members of the Western Washington University men's basketball team, center Austin Bragg (Sr., Longview/Mark Morris) and guard Richard Woodworth (Sr., Bellevue/Newport), were first-team selections on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Star Team announced Monday by the conference office.

The 6-foot-9 Bragg ranks among the top four in the GNAC in five categories. He leads in rebounds at 9.0 per game, while being second in both blocks at 1.8 and offensive rebounds at 3.2, and fourth in both field-goal percentage at 60.2 (165-of-274) and scoring at 17.5.

On Feb. 1 in a 99-76 home victory over Alaska Anchorage, Bragg had the second triple-double in school history and only the third in GNAC history, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He tops the GNAC in double-doubles this season with 11 after leading the conference last year with eight.

Bragg has earned conference Player of the Week honors twice this season and three times during his two-year career at WWU after transferring from Clark CC.

Bragg has scored double-figure points in 25 games this season. In WWU's win over Central Washington on Feb. 22, he scored a career-high 32 points. On Jan. 11, Bragg had 30 points and a career-high 17 rebounds against Simon Fraser.

Woodworth is averaging 17.5 points per game and is shooting team-bests of 41.3 percent (38-of-92) from 3-point range and 82.7 percent (124-of-150) at the free throw line. He scored a career-high 33 points at Simon Fraser on Feb. 8.

Over the last eight games, Woodworth has averaged 20.4 points and 5.0 assists, shooting 45.0 percent (18-of-40) from 3-point range and 82.8 percent (48-of-58) at the free throw line.

The 6-3 Woodworth became the 24th Viking to reach 1,000 career points while scoring 24 against Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 2. His current point total of 1,250 ranks 16th and he is 13th in assists at 338.

Woodworth was named to the national all-tournament team in 2012 when WWU won the NCAA II national championship and was the West Regional Most Outstanding Player in 2013 when the Vikings reached the national semifinals.

Woodworth hit a buzzer beater from beyond half court in a dramatic 94-91 win over arch-rival Central Washington on Feb. 22, the video of that shot receiving over 31,000 hits on YouTube. He scored the Vikings' last 13 points, nine in the final 20 seconds, as they rallied from a six-point deficit with 1:05 to go.

Seattle Pacific guard David Downs was named GNAC Player of the Year and the Falcons' Ryan Looney received Coach of the Year accolades. Alaska Fairbanks forward Andrew Kelly was Defensive Player of the Year, Montana State Billings guard-forward Jonathan Mesghna was Newcomer of the Year and Northwest Nazarene guard Michael Loomis was Freshman of the Year.

Named to the GNAC first team, besides Bragg and Woodworth, were Downs, guard Mark McLaughlin from Central Washington, center Patrick Simon from Seattle Pacific, and guard Travis Thompson from Alaska Anchorage. Downs, who was the only unanimous pick, was picked for the third straight year and McLaughlin was another repeater.

This Thursday at 5:15 p.m., WWU plays the winner of Wednesday's Alaska Fairbanks/Montana State Billings contest in a GNAC tourney semifinal at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of host Saint Martin's University in Lacey. The semifinal winners advance to Saturday's championship contest, which also tips off at 5:15 p.m.

Men's Basketball: Falcons' David Downs Voted GNAC Player of the Year

Seattle Pacific guard David Downs has been voted the 2013-14 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Year.

Downs received eight of 10 first-place votes for the Player of the Year award and was also the lone unanimous selection to the all-conference team, being listed among the top six players on all nine opposing coaches' ballots.

He also was selected to the first team for the third year in a row joining a select group of basketball players - Humboldt State's Fred Hooks (2002-04) and Austin Nichols (2002-04) and Jake Linton of Saint Martin's (2007-09) - to accomplish that feat.

Downs led the Falcons to a 24-5 record this winter and the GNAC regular-season title. He finished the regular-season ranked third in the conference in scoring (20.1), fourth in assists (4.7) and second in three-point field goal percentage (47.5).

Downs ranks 11th in GNAC history in career scoring (1,715 points), ninth in three-pointers made (238) and fourth in assists (548).

Seattle Pacific coach Ryan Looney earned his second GNAC Coach of the Year award. Looney, who is a 1998 graduate of Eastern Oregon, also won the award in 2010. Looney is in his fifth season at Seattle Pacific and has a record of 116-33. His overall collegiate head coaching record in 10 seasons is 211-88.

Also winning special awards were forwards Andrew Kelly of Alaska Fairbanks and Jonathan Mesghna of Montana State Billings and guard Michael Loomis of Northwest Nazarene.

Kelly, who ranks second in the conference in rebounding (8.8), ninth in steals (1.4) and 11th in blocks (0.8), was voted the GNAC Defensive Player of Year. Kelly also averages 12.7 points per game.

Mesghna was selected the GNAC Newcomer of the Year. A transfer from the University of Maine, Mesghna ranks 12th in the GNAC in scoring (15.2) and 13th in rebounding (5.8).

Loomis was voted the GNAC Freshman of the Year. He finished his first season as the GNAC's top free throw shooter, converting on 90.9 percent (50-of-55) of his attempts. He also averaged 12.2 points per game this season.

Joining Downs on the first team all-conference team were guard Richard Woodworth of Western Washington, guard Mark McLaughlin of Central Washington, forward Patrick Simon of Seattle Pacific, guard Travis Thompson of Alaska Anchorage and Western Washington forward Austin Bragg. McLaughlin was a repeater from last year's first team.

Kelly earned second team honors. Joining him on the second team were guards Kalob Hatcher of Montana State Billings, Rodney Webster of Western Oregon, Brian McGill of Alaska Anchorage, Ronnie Baker of Alaska Fairbanks and Sango Niang of Simon Fraser.


First Team: **+David Downs, Seattle Pacific (G, 6-2, Sr., Kirkland, WA); Richard Woodworth, Western Washington (G, 6-3, Sr., Bellevue, WA); *Mark McLaughlin, Central Washington (G, 6-6, Sr., Bothell, WA); Patrick Simon, Seattle Pacific (F, 6-8, Sr., Ephrata, WA); Travis Thompson, Alaska Anchorage (G, 6-1, Jr., Anchorage, AK); Austin Bragg, Western Washington (F, 6-9, Sr., Longview, WA). +Unanimous *Repeater

Second Team: Andrew Kelly, Alaska Fairbanks (F, 6-7, Sr., Gilbert, AZ); Kalob Hatcher, Montana State Billings (G, 5-11, Sr., San Diego, CA); Rodney Webster, Western Oregon (G, 6-1, Sr., Hanford, CA); Brian McGill, Alaska Anchorage (PG, 6-2, So., Clackamas, OR); Ronnie Baker, Alaska Fairbanks (G, 6-3, Sr., Vallejo, CA); Sango Niang, Simon Fraser (G, 6-0, Jr., Paris, France).

Honorable Mention: Kyle Fossman, Alaska Anchorage (G, 6-0, Sr., Haines, AK); Sergej Pucar, Alaska Fairbanks (C, 6-10, Sr., Belgrade, Serbia); JB Pillard, Central Washington (F, 6-6, Sr., Kirkland, WA); Jonathan Mesghna, MSU Billings (G/F, 6-6, Sr., Frankfurt, Germany); Austin Hudson, MSU Billings (C, 6-7, Jr., Salt Lake City, UT); Kevin Rima, Northwest Nazarene (F, 6-7, Jr., Fairbanks, AK); Mario Donaldson, Northwest Nazarene (G, 6-3, Sr., Rockton, IL); Evan Coulter, Saint Martin's (G, 5-10, Sr., Mt. Vernon, WA); Riley Stockton, Seattle Pacific (G, 6-4, Jr., Spokane, WA); Andy Avgi, Western Oregon (F, 6-6, So., Woodburn, OR).

GNAC Player of the Year - David Downs, Seattle Pacific (G, 6-2, Sr., Kirkland, WA). GNAC Defensive Player of the Year - Andrew Kelly, Alaska Fairbanks (F, 6-7, Sr., Gilbert, AZ). GNAC Newcomer of the Year - Jonathan Mesghna, MSU Billings (G/F, 6-6, Sr., Frankfurt, Germany). GNAC Freshman of the Year - Michael Loomis, Northwest Nazarene (G, 6-6, Fr., Tualatin, OR). GNAC Coach of the Year - Ryan Looney, Seattle Pacific.


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