WWU on road to face Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Head Coach Carmen Dolfo
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Head Coach Carmen Dolfo
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Feb. 3, 2014

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - After losing two straight home games, the first time that has happened since the 2007-08 season, the Western Washington University women's basketball team looks to work things out on the road this week, traveling to Northwest Nazarene University on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Central Washington University on Saturday (7 p.m.) for a pair Great Northwest Athletic Conference contests.

Live stats and video streams for both games can be found at wwuvikings.com.

THE LAST MEETING
Northwest Nazarene68
Western Washington81
January 11, 2014
BELLINGHAM
WWU topples No.18 Northwest Nazarene, 81-68
Guard Katie Colard scored a team-high 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers, to lead Western Washington University to an 81-68 triumph over nationally ranked Northwest Nazarene University in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game Saturday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

THE LAST MEETING
Central Washington64
Western Washington71
January 9, 2014
BELLINGHAM
WWU defeats Central Washington, 71-64
Forward Sydney Donaldson scored a career-high 21 points and made a series of key plays in the dying moments as Western Washington University defeated Central Washington University, 71-64, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game Thursday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

WWU, 11-8 overall, is in a four-way tie for second at 7-4 with Alaska Anchorage, Seattle Pacific, and Simon Fraser. Montana State Billings leads the standings at 9-2. Last week, the Vikings had a 26-game home court winning streak snapped with a pair of losses at Carver Gym, 71-63 to MSUB and 68-62 to Seattle Pacific. The victory string was the second longest in school history and fell three shy of the WWU record.

The loss to MSUB also ended a season-best, six-game winning streak for the Vikings, who had won eight of nine following a 3-4 start.

WWU leads the GNAC in field-goal percentage (45.1) and 3-point percentage (35.6).

The Vikings are the defending GNAC regular-season and tournament champions. They went on to win the 2013 West Regional title and reach the national semifinals.

HILL DOUBLES: Senior center Sarah Hill had two double-doubles during a recent five-game stretch and came just short of accomplishing that in all five of those contests.

Hill had 18 points and 16 rebounds, both career highs, at Western Oregon on Jan. 16 and 11 points and 12 rebounds versus Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 25. She also had nine points and 14 rebounds at Saint Martin's on Jan. 18, 13 points and nine rebounds against Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 23 and 16 points and nine rebounds versus Montana State Billings on Jan. 31.

During that five-game stretch, Hill averaged 13.4 points per game and 12.0 rebounds.

Hill, who received GNAC Player of the Week honors for Jan. 12-18, is averaging 9.8 points this season and a team-high 7.8 rebounds. She also leads the Vikings with 32 blocked shots.

COLARD: Junior point guard Katie Colard is averaging a team-leading 13.0 points on 37.8 percent (48-of-127) accuracy from 3-point range, and tops the GNAC in made threes (2.5, 48). She hit a career-best six treys in an 81-68 home victory over Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 11.

Colard scored a career-high 25 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting in WWU's 84-77 win at Seattle Pacific on Jan. 2. She leads the team with 14 double-figure scoring games.

DONALDSON: In the seven games prior to the Seattle Pacific loss, junior forward Sydney Donaldson averaged 14.3 points on 55.1 percent (38-of-69) field-goal shooting and 9.1 rebounds.

Donaldson, who was the GNAC Player of the Week for Jan. 5-11, scored a career-high 22 points versus Alaska Fairbanks on Jan. 25 and grabbed a career-high 15 rebounds against Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 11. On the season, she is averaging 8.3 points and 6.1 rebounds.

PEACOCKE: Freshman guard Taylor Peacocke has come off the bench to average 11.6 points this season, scoring double figures 12 times.

WHITE: Junior point guard Jenni White is scoring at a 9.5 clip. She paces the Vikings in assists (4.3, 81) and steals (2.1, 39), and leads the team in 3-point accuracy at 38.8 percent (19-of-49).

BRIGGS: Freshman forward Tia Briggs scored 28 points on 68.7 percent (11-of-19) floor accuracy in last week's two losses. She averaged 12.5 points on 57.1 percent (20-of-35) field-goal shooting during the four-game home stand. On the season, Briggs is averaging 9.5 points on a team-best 51.4 percent (73-of-142) field-goal accuracy.

UPCOMING GAMES:

Feb. 6 (Thu.) at Northwest Nazarene* (Nampa, ID - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 8 (Sat.) at Central Washington* (Ellensburg, WA - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 13 (Thu.) SAINT MARTIN'S*# (CARVER GYM - 7 p.m.)
Feb. 15 (Sat.) WESTERN OREGON *# (CARVER GYM - 7 p.m.)

*Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest #broadcast on KBAI Radio (930 AM) and on internet at wwuvikings.com %broadcast on KPUG Radio (1170 AM) and on internet at wwuvikings.com

NORTHWEST NAZARENE: The Crusaders are 12-7 overall and 5-6 in GNAC action. They have lost five of their last seven games following a 10-2 start and are 8-2 at home. NNU is led by honorable mention All-America 5-9 senior guard Megan Hingston (16.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 81.2 FT Pct.), a unanimous GNAC first-team all-star. Two more standouts for first-year coach Ryan Bragdon, formerly an assistant at Illinois State who took over a squad that was 20-9 last season, are 5-8 sophomore guard Taylor Simmons (14.1 ppg, 3.5 apg, 3.6 spg, 81.6 FT Pct.) and 5-9 senior guard Chelsie Luke (14.5 ppg, 43.2 3-pt. Pct., 32-74; 89.7 FT Pct.). NNU tops the GNAC in free throw shooting (79.7 percent) and is second in scoring offense (76.5) and steals (10.7). WWU, which won 81-68 over NNU at home on Jan. 11, holds a 24-9 series lead, winning 11 of the last 12 meetings.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON: The Wildcats are 6-12 overall and 1-9 in GNAC play, losing their last four games and eight of their last nine. Central returns all five starters and nine letter winners from last year's 9-17 team. They are led by second-team GNAC all-star 5-9 senior guard Jessica Van Dyke (15.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and honorable mention all-conference 6-2 sophomore center Jasmine Parker (9.9 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg-leads GNAC), who had a GNAC-leading 2.3 blocks per game average last season. Another standout back for coach Shawn Nelson (3rd year, 24-46; 11th overall, 226-116) is 5-11 junior forward Courtney Johnson (12.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg). WWU holds an 85-10 series advantage, winning the last 12 meetings and 20 of the last 21.

THREE-DOT NOTES: Hill has 489 points and 482 rebounds during her three-year career. Colard has 674 points and Donaldson 538 points and 365 rebounds ... Two Vikings, Donaldson and Hill, were named to the GNAC preseason all-conference team ... Two of WWU's losses have been in overtime and four have been by single digits ... WWU won its own Goodrich Classic title for the 15th time in the 17-year history of the tourney with wins over Pacific Lutheran, 84-46, and Northwest, 83-44. That ran its Goodrich Classic victory string to 12, with wins in 31 of 34 games overall. Three WWU players were all-tournament picks. Briggs was named Most Valuable Player, and was joined by Hill and White.

FAMILY TIES: Two members of this year's team have fathers who played men's basketball at WWU. They are Tia Briggs (Ed) and Kiana Gandy (Joe). Sarah Hill's sister, Celeste, was an All-America hoop player for the Vikings, and Katie Colard, had a sister, Kelly, who played basketball at WWU, and a brother, Kevin, who competed in football for the Vikings.

VIKINGS THIRD IN GNAC COACHES POLL: WWU received three of 10 first-place votes and was picked to place third in the GNAC coaches' preseason poll. The Vikings previously won GNAC championships in 2002, 2006, 2011 (regular season) and 2013 (regular season and tournament). Montana State Billings was No.1 with six first-place votes and Seattle Pacific second with one first-place vote.

HOME COURT DOMINANCE: The Vikings are 444-74 (85.7 percent) in 42 seasons at Carver Gym. Their longest home court win streak was 29 from 1983 to 1986.

COACH DOLFO: Carmen Dolfo, who was the CaptainU Division II National Coach of the Year last season, is in her 23rd year as head coach at WWU. She has a 486-181 (72.9 percent) record and ranks No.9 among active NCAA II coaches in winning percentage and No.12 in victories. Her winning percentage in NCAA II all-time ranks No.21 and her victory total No.26. Dolfo's teams have reached post-season play 21 times and have won 20 or more games 17 times. She was named GNAC Coach of the Year in 2004, 2006, 2011 and 2013; Northwest small college Coach of the Year in 2000 and Pacific Northwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Dolfo has coached 13 All-Americans (includes honorable mention) and 48 conference all-stars during her tenure. She was the top Viking assistant for four seasons (95-28, 77.2) and earned All-America honors as a player at WWU.

TRADITION OF SUCCESS: With 918 victories (316 losses, 74.4 percent) in its 43-year history, WWU is one of just a handful of colleges in all divisions of the NCAA to reach the 900-plateau... The Vikings have made 40 post-season appearances, including one stretch of 28 straight, with two national semifinal and three quarterfinal finishes ... They have made 14 West Regional appearances in their 15 seasons as a NCAA II member, and also have had 31 20-win seasons ... WWU has had 22 winning streaks of 10 or more games with its longest being 21 ... Former WWU coach Lynda Goodrich is a member of the NAIA National Hall of Fame. She coached WWU for 19 seasons, winning more than 400 games (411-127, 76.4 percent). Another Viking NAIA Hall of Famer is forward Jo Metzger (1977-81), who earned first-team All-America honors in 1980 and 1981 ... WWU has had 13 first, second or third-team All-Americans.

A LOOK BACK AT 2012-13: Last year, WWU finished 29-4 and reached the semifinals at the NCAA II National Championships after winning the West Regional title and both the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament crowns.

COLLEGIATE FIRST: WWU was the first college in the country to boast two 400-win women's basketball coaches. Lynda Goodrich, who recently retired after 26 years as the school's director of athletics, posted 411 victories from 1971 to 1990, and current coach Carmen Dolfo is in her 23rd season with 486.

ON THE WEB: All Viking home games are being video streamed live and are available at www.stretchinternet.com. For up-to-date statistics, box scores of every game, records, stories, etc., see the WWU Athletics web page at www.wwuvikings.com. Up-to-date league standings and statistics can be found on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference web page at www.gnacsports.com

RADIO BROADCASTS: Selected WWU games are being broadcast this season on KBAI Radio (930 AM) or KPUG (1170 AM) with Doug Lange handling the play-by-play and Mark Scholten providing the color commentary. They also can be heard on the internet at www.wwuvikings.com.

ROOT SPORTS: WWU's home game with Simon Fraser on Sat., March 1 will be televised live on ROOT Sports (Comcast Channel 30). Tipoff is 3 p.m. (originally 7 p.m.). ROOT Sports is the home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks and Portland Timbers, among numerous other professional and collegiate sports teams in the Pacific Northwest. Its scope covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and the ROOT SPORTS regional networks combine to reach nine million homes across 18 states.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

F Taylor Peacocke, 5-9, Fr., Kenmore, WA/Inglemoor/Sacramento State
F Sydney Donaldson, 6-0, **Jr., Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway
C Sarah Hill, 6-3, **Sr., Richmond,VA/Lloyd C.Bird/ Maryland-Baltimore County
G Jenni White, 5-5, **Jr., Spokane, WA/East Valley
G Katie Colard, 5-9, **Jr., McCleary, WA/Elma

F Tia Briggs, 6-1, Fr., Tacoma, WA/Wilson F Marcel Pounds, 5-8, **Jr.., Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake F Kiana Gandy,5-10, R-Fr., Des Moines, WA/Mount Rainier F Rachel Albert, 5-10, Fr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome *letters won

MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:

Jan. 30 - Montana State Billings 71, WWU 63 at Bellingham, WA

WWU's home winning streak ended at 26 games, as guard Bobbi Knudsen scored a game-high 28 points to lift Montana State Billings to a 71-63 triumph over the Vikings in a GNAC game at Carver Gym. Hill led WWU with 16 points and nine rebounds. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for the Vikings. MSUB improved to 15-5 overall and took over first place in the GNAC at 8-2 with its fifth consecutive victory. Forward Kayleen Goggins added 12 points for the Yellowjackets. The Vikings trailed by just two, 44-42, with under 15 minutes left, but then had just one field goal in the next eight minutes, and Knudsen scored 11 of MSUB's next 14 points to give the Yellowjackets a 58-50 lead, matching the biggest of the game, with 7:59 to go. WWU rallied with six straight points to pull within two, 60-58, and had a pair of potential go-ahead 3-pointers rim out, the last with 3:40 remaining, but MSUB then took control, as Janiel Olson hit a 3-pointer, and then with the shot clock running down, Knudsen missed a shot off the side of the backboard but converted the putback for a 65-58 advantage with 2:04 to go. The Vikings never got closer than four points after that. Tia Briggs came off the bench to score 14 points for WWU, and Donaldson had 11 points and 12 rebounds. MSUB shot 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field in taking a 37-35 halftime lead. The period featured five ties and eight lead changes, with no lead of more than six points. Knudsen, who had 37 points in an 82-69 victory over WWU at Billings on Jan. 4, was 12-of-23 from the field Thursday, adding seven rebounds and four assists. MSUB had a 43-34 rebound advantage with Chelsea Banis grabbing 12 and Olson 11. WWU's last loss at Carver Gym came on Jan. 14, 2012, 75-55 to Alaska Anchorage.

Feb. 1 - Seattle Pacific 68, WWU 62 at Bellingham, WA

Seattle Pacific University used big runs each side of halftime to establish a double-digit lead and held on to defeat WWU, 68-62, in a GNAC game at Carver Gym. Colard had 15 points and Briggs came off the bench to add 14 for WWU, which fell to 11-8 overall and 7-4 in the GNAC. SPU improved to 14-5 overall and 7-4 in the GNAC. Betsy Kingma scored a game-high 17 points for the Falcons and Suzanna Ohlsen added 15. The Falcons closed the first half with a 9-2 run to take a 32-23 lead at halftime, then scored the first nine points of the second half, opening up the biggest lead of the game, 39-23, a little over two minutes into the second half. The Vikings scored seven straight points to close the margin to nine, and eventually pulled within five, 54-48, on a White layin with 5:38 remaining that capped a 9-2 run. WWU was still within five, 59-54, inside two minutes, but Kingma hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to eight, with 1:48 to go. The Vikings pulled within six on three occasions after that, but got no closer. WWU shot just 36.8 percent (21-of-57) from the field, but was 17-of-21 (81.0 percent) on free throws, hitting 10 straight in the final 2:29. White had 11 points and five assists for the Vikings. The first half was tightly contested with 13 lead changes in the first 12 minutes before SPU scored seven straight points to take a 23-17 lead with 5:37 left in the period. Ohlsen scored the last seven points of SPU's 9-2 run to close the half with a nine-point lead.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference

2013-14 Women's Basketball Report 13 Week 12 (Feb. 4, 2014)

                    Conf.              Overall
                    W	L	W	L	H	A	N
MSU Billings        9	2	16	5	9-0	5-2	2-3
Alaska Anchorage    7	4	14	5	9-2	5-3	0-0
Seattle Pacific     7	4	14	5	6-3	5-2	3-0
Simon Fraser        7	4	12	6	9-2	3-3	0-1
Western Washington  7	4	11	8	6-2	4-4	1-2
Saint Martin's      6	4	12	7	7-1	4-3	1-3
Northwest Nazarene  5	6	12	7	8-2	4-5	0-0
Alaska Fairbanks    3	8	9	10	5-6	4-4	0-0
Western Oregon      2	9	5	13	4-7	1-4	0-2
Central Washington  1	10	6	13	3-6	1-5	2-2

LAST WEEK: Thursday - Central Washington 70 at Alaska Anchorage 77; Northwest Nazarene 86 at Alaska Fairbanks 81; MSU Billings 71 at Western Washington 63; Seattle Pacific 68 at Simon Fraser 77 Saturday - Northwest Nazarene 70 at Alaska Anchorage 72; Central Washington 68 at Alaska Fairbanks 88; MSU Billings 76 at Simon Fraser 61; Saint Martin's 59 at Western Oregon 56; Seattle Pacific 68 at Western Washington 62.

THIS WEEK: Wednesday - South Dakota Mines at MSU Billings, 7 p.m. Thursday - Alaska Anchorage at Saint Martin's, 5:15 p.m.; Alaska Fairbanks at Western Oregon. 5:15 p.m.; Simon Fraser at Central Washington 7 p.m.; Western Washington at Northwest Nazarene 7 p.m. Saturday - Alaska Anchorage at Western Oregon, 2 p.m.; Alaska Fairbanks at Saint Martin's, 5:15 p.m.; Western Washington at Central Washington 7 p.m.; Seattle Pacific at MSU Billings 7 p.m.; Simon Fraser at Northwest Nazarene 7 p.m.

POLLS: WBCA (Feb. 4) - None ranked.

NCAA STATISTICS (Through Feb. 2)

TEAM (Top 30): Ast./T.O. Ratio - 22. MSU Billings (1.10) Ast./Gm. - 16. Alaska Anchorage (17.7) Blk./Gm. - 12. Seattle Pacific (4.9) 29. Simon Fraser (4.3) 30. Western Washington (4.3) F.G. Pct. - 29. Western Washington (45.1) F.G. Pct. Def. - 23. Saint Martin's (35.9) F.T. Pct. - 2. Northwest Nazarene (79.7) 17. Seattle Pacific (76.6) Fls./Gm. - 5. MSU Billings (15.4) Rbnd. Margin - 14. MSU Billings (8.0) Scoring Margin - 22. Alaska Anchorage (13.6) Scoring Offense - 4. Alaska Anchorage (84.5) Stls./Gm. - 3. Alaska Anchorage (15.6) 3-Pt. F.G. Def. - 4. Simon Fraser (23.6) 9. Alaska Fairbanks (25.2) 3-Pt. F.G./Gm. - 30. Simon Fraser (7.2) T.O. Margin - 3. Alaska Anchorage (8.53) T. O./Gm. - 5. MSU Billings (12.4).

INDIVIDUAL (Top 30): Ast./Gm. - 6. Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (5.9) 9. Ally Schmitt, CWU (5.5) 13. Kiki Robertson, UAA (5.4) Blk./Gm. - 24. Jasmine Parker, CWU (2.26) 25. Rebecca Langmead, SFU (2.22) F.G. Pct. - 27. Jordan Wilson, UAF (55.9) F.T. Pct. - 14. Chelsie Luke, NNU (89.7) 22. Suzanna Ohlsen, SPU (88.5) 28. Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (87.9) Pts./Gm. - 4. Erin Chambers, SFU (23.1) 23. Katie Benson, SPU (20.2) Rbnd./Gm. - 15. Janiel Olson, MSUB (10.7) Stls./Gm. - 2. Kiki Robertson, UAA (4.00) 4. Taylor Simmons, NNU (3.58).

DOUBLE-DOUBLES (Through Feb. 4): 7 - Katie Benson, SPU 6 - Megan Hingston, NNU; Dana Goularte, WOU 4 - Jordan Wilson, UAF; Jasmine Parker, CWU; Chelsea Haskey, SMU 3 - Jessica VanDyke, CWU; Rebecca Langmead, SFU; Janiel Olson, MSUB.

RED LION PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Week of Jan. 27 - Feb. 2 - Taylor Simmons, NNU (G, 5-8, So., Middleton, ID - Middleton) scored 36 points and grabbed 10 rebounds last week as the Crusaders defeated Alaska Fairbanks 86-81 and lost by just two to Alaska Anchorage on the road. Simmons was instrumental in both victories, dishing out 13 assists and providing a conference-high 12 steals on the weekend. The sophomore point guard also shot .476 (10-for-21) from the field and .789 (15-for-19) from the foul line in the victories. Simmons also played a team-high 68 minutes in the two games.

Honorable Mention - Brooke Paulson, SMU (F, 5-10, Jr., Buckley, WA - White River); Dana Goularte, WOU (F, 6-0, Jr., Port Orchard, WA - South Kitsap); Jordan Wilson, UAF (F, 5-11, Fr., Henderson, CO - Prairie View); Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (G, 5-8, Sr., Malta, MT - Malta); Jenna Buchanan, UAA (G, 5-8, So., Galena, AK - Galena); Chelsea Banis, MSUB (C, 6-4, Sr., Fairfield, MT - Montana State).

`JACKETS SWARM INTO FIRST PLACE: With two of its biggest victories of the season, MSU Billings grabbed a firm hold on first place in the GNAC standings with road wins over Western Washington and Simon Fraser last week. The first time the Yellowjackets and Vikings met this season, Bobbi Knudsen put on a career show with 37 points. On Thursday, she led all scorers with 28 while adding four assists, seven rebounds and a steal, as MSUB became the first team to defeat WWU inside Sam Carver Gym since Jan. 2012. Chelsea Banis and Janiel Olson came up big in the win over WWU as well, as each scored eight points and they grabbed 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively. Crossing the border into Canada had little effect on Knudsen and the `Jackets, as the senior guard scored 21 more points and added five assists. Banis exploded for 16 points and notched her first double-double of the season with 11 rebounds, and Olson mirrored Thursday's excellence with eight more points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Alisha Breen also turned in 16 points off the bench for MSUB on Saturday.

MSUB will host South Dakota Mines on Wednesday in a non-conference matchup, before welcoming Seattle Pacific to Alterowitz Gym on Saturday at 7 p.m. for the teams' lone conference game of the week.

SEAWOLVES GRIND OUT TWO HOME WINS: Holding their breath through a last-second shot by NNU on Saturday, the Seawolves exhaled a sigh of relief as the Crusaders' shot at the buzzer was off and UAA held on for a narrow 72-70 win. The victory came two days after another close game, with UAA overcoming a halftime deficit to down Central Washington 77-70 on Thursday night inside the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. UAA spread its scoring as usual in both games, with Jessica Madison leading the way on Thursday with 15 points off of the bench. Jenna Buchanan (14), Alli Madison (13) and KeKe Wright (11) also scored in double figures in the Seawolves' first win of the week, while Buchanan and Madison led the charge on Saturday with 20 points apiece.

UAA looks to keep its momentum going as it hits the road this week to challenge a Saint Martin's team on Thursday that has only lost once this season inside Marcus Pavilion (7-1), and Western Oregon on Saturday at a special 2 p.m. start time.

NANOOKS SNAP 5-GAME SKID: Alaska Fairbanks came up just short in a tough 86-81 home loss to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, but responded well with a solid 88-68 win over visiting Central Washington on Saturday afternoon inside the Patty Center. Freshmen Jordan Wilson and Victoria Milton each scored 15 points for the Nanooks on Thursday, with the former grabbing eight rebounds, handing out three assists and adding two steals as well. Candace Prestwich was also key in the loss, with a dozen points and five assists off of the bench. Brianna Kirk, a sophomore guard, contributed 14 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal off the bench for UAF as well. The Nanooks unleashed a remarkable barrage from long distance late on Thursday, sinking five 3-pointers in the final 1:12 of regulation in a valiant comeback effort. Overall, UAF made 14-of-30 from downtown, coming up three shy of the GNAC record of 17 in one game.

Early foul trouble for Wilson on Saturday did not harm the Nanooks save for their leading scorer's average, as UAF cruised to the 20-point decision over the Wildcats. Wilson still managed 16 points in an abbreviated 19-minute stint, while Kirk turned in 14 more points off the bench, Milton added 11, and Benissa Bulaya and Kaillee Skjold each scored 10.

Wilson slipped to No. 5 in the GNAC in scoring average at 17.1, but is still No. 4 in rebounding at 8.2 per contests and has the league's highest field-goal percentage at 55.1.

UAF challenges Western Oregon on Thursday and Saint Martin's on Saturday in a pair of 5:15 p.m. Pacific time GNAC road contests.

CRUSADERS COME UP JUST SHORT, SPLIT: As time wound down on Saturday evening, a last-second layup attempt to tie the game against Alaska Anchorage came up just shy as NNU fell to the Seawolves 72-70 in Anchorage. The tough loss came two nights after NNU staved off a late charge by UAF and converted 15 free throws in the final 1:23 to win the race against the Nanooks. Megan Hingston was instrumental in the victory with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Chelsie Luke contributed 16 points and five rebounds off of the bench. Kayla Schumann (10-for-10) and Taylor Simmons (8-for-8) combined for 18 of the Crusaders' 30 made free throws, and the duo scored 16 and 14 points, respectively. Simmons was even better two nights later, totaling 22 points, five rebounds, nine assists and six steals in the narrow defeat. The sophomore earned Red Lion Player of the Week honors for her effort last week. Luke also had a big night on Thursday, with 20 points off of the bench including 4-for-6 from long distance.

FALCONS SWOOP WIN FROM VIKINGS: Handing Western Washington its second-consecutive home loss on Saturday, Seattle Pacific emerged from the weekend with a split after falling to Simon Fraser on Thursday in Burnaby. The dynamic duo of Betsy Kingma and Suzanna Ohlsen lifted SPU on Saturday with 17 and 15 points, respectively. The duo combined for six of the Falcons' 12 free throws, as SPU leading scorer Katie Benson was held to 10 points and just three rebounds. The senior forward was much more effective in SPU's loss on Thursday, as she notched 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds on 9-for-16 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line. Ohlsen began her week with 16 points against the Clan, while also turning in five rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the defeat. SPU maintained a share for second place with the split, as the Falcons now sit at 7-4 in GNAC play.

SPU will enjoy a day off on Thursday before a tough road trip to Billings to challenge conference leader MSUB. After Saturday's contest, SPU closes the season with four of its final six games at home and only one outside of Washington when SPU faces WOU in Monmouth on Feb. 22.

CLAN CAN'T CONQUER `JACKETS: A career night from Katie Lowen helped Simon Fraser to a big win over Seattle Pacific on Thursday as the junior guard went off for 23 points and added five rebounds, two assists and a steal. Lowen converted five 3-pointers in the 77-68 win, while GNAC leading scorer Erin Chambers added 20 despite missing several minutes with a dislocated finger. On Saturday, SFU could not respond to a 38-29 halftime deficit facing MSUB, and eventually fell 76-61 at home against the red-hot Yellowjackets. The injury to Chambers' non-shooting left hand appeared to be a non-factor, as she eclipsed her NCAA Division II fifth-best scoring average of 23.1 points with 25 in the defeat. Chambers also added five rebounds, four assists and a steal, while Chelsea Reist came up just shy of a double-double with a dozen points and nine rebounds.

SFU faces a difficult schedule leading up to the GNAC tournament in March, as the Clan's only two home games from here on out are on Feb. 13 and 15 against Western Oregon and Saint Martin's. Other than that, SFU faces five road contests, including a tough trip to Alaska followed by a date with WWU in Sam Carver to close its 2014 slate.

SAINTS KEEP PACE WITH VICTORY: Saint Martin's snapped a three-game losing streak with a strong 59-56 win over Western Oregon on Saturday, as the Saints withstood a last-ditch comeback effort by the Wolves. Chelsea Haskey notched a 12-point 11-rebound double-double for Tim Healy's crew, while Brooke Paulson and Megan Wiedeman each turned in 11 points off the bench for SMU. The Saints emerged victorious over WOU, despite shooting just 29.8 percent (17-for-57) from the floor on Saturday.

SMU welcomes Alaska Anchorage to Marcus Pavilion on Thursday and Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday in a pair of conference matchups this week.

VIKINGS SNAP HOME-COURT WIN STREAK: With a tough 71-63 loss to Montana State Billings on Thursday, WWU's historic 26-game home court winning streak came to a close as the Vikings lost for the first time inside Sam Carver Gym since January of 2012. A trio of Vikings - Sarah Hill (16), Tia Briggs (14) and Sydney Donaldson (11) - scored in double figures, with Donaldson grabbing a dozen rebounds to complete a double-double. Hill came up one rebound short of a double-double on Thursday, as WWU could not overcome another monster effort by Bobbi Knudsen and the first-place Yellowjackets. WWU proved no more fortunate on Saturday, as the Vikings could not overcome a 32-23 halftime deficit in a 68-62 loss to visiting Seattle Pacific. Katie Colard led WWU with 15 points on Saturday, while Briggs turned in 14 off the bench for the second straight game and Jenni White added 11 with a team-high five assists. Despite the losses, WWU remains in good position in the GNAC standings, holding a 7-4 mark in conference play and sitting in a four-way tie for second place.

Coming up, WWU travels to Nampa to battle Northwest Nazarene on Thursday before looping back for a road contest against Central Washington inside Nicholson Pavilion on Saturday. The Vikings host three of their final seven games, with home games next week against SMU and WOU interrupting this week's road trip and WWU's Feb. 20 journey to Alaska. WWU closes the season at home against Simon Fraser on March 1, in a game televised on ROOT SPORTS.

HANNAH SHINES BRIGHT FOR WILDCATS: Central Washington could not maintain a 41-37 halftime lead against Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, falling 77-70 inside the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. Sophomore Hannah Shine emerged with 19 points on 5-of-9 from long distance in 29 minutes off the bench on Thursday for the Wildcats to lead all scorers. Shine also grabbed three rebounds and had three assists and two blocks, while Jessica VanDyke added 11 points and six rebounds and Amber Moser contributed 10 points off the bench for CWU. Ally Schmitt had a game-high six assists to go along with her eight points. The Wildcats got off to a slow start against the Nanooks on Saturday, finding themselves in a 49-36 hole at the half. Erika Locker led CWU with 13 points off the bench, and Daisy Burke sunk 3-of-4 shots from long range for 11 points. Courtney Johnson also had 11 points for the Wildcats, while grabbing five rebounds, dishing out one assist and recording a block and a steal. Jasmine Parker remained among NCAA Division II leaders in blocks per game with three more on Saturday and four overall on the weekend.

CWU returns home this week to host Simon Fraser on Thursday and Western Washington on Saturday, with both games set for a 7 p.m. tip-off in Ellensburg.

WOLVES FALL JUST SHORT AT HOME: Despite a monster effort from Dana Goularte, Western Oregon came up just short in its lone game of the week, falling 59-56 to Saint Martin's on Saturday. Goularte notched her sixth double-double of the season, with 16 points and 17 rebounds and also added four blocks for the Wolves. Goularte shot 6-for-15 from the floor, made her only 3-point attempt, and was 3-for-4 from the foul line. Chantel Divilbiss contributed a dozen points and three assists for WOU, which lost its fifth straight game and fell to 2-8 in GNAC play with the defeat. On the game, WOU shot 35.2 percent (19-for-54) from the field and 60 percent (15-for-25) from the free-throw line.

Next up, WOU remains at home for a pair of GNAC contests against Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday and Alaska Anchorage on Saturday. WOU hosts four of its final seven games to close out the regular season.

2013-14 RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

Week of Jan. 20-26: Erin Chambers, SFU (G/F, 6-1, Jr., Mission, BC - Heritage Park) led Simon Fraser to a pair of victories as she scored 64 points while shooting .629 (22-for-35) from the floor and .412 (7-for-17) from 3-point range. Chambers also converted 13-of-14 free throws and grabbed 10 rebounds while playing all 80 minutes for the Clan last week. On Thursday, the junior helped SFU edge Alaska Fairbanks by two points as she scored 30 points and hauled in five rebounds. Chambers was even better in a four-point victory over Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, notching 34 points, five more rebounds and three assists. Chambers maintained her spot atop the GNAC scoring leaders, boosting her average to 22.8 points per game as she has scored a conference-high 387 points so far in 2013-14.

Week of Jan. 13-19: Sarah Hill, WWU (F, 6-3, Sr., Richmond, VA - Maryland-Baltimore County) scored 27 points and grabbed a GNAC-high 30 rebounds to help WWU to a pair of victories that extended the Vikings' winning streak to four games. Hill shot 10-for-22 from the field while averaging 32.0 minutes per contest last week. The senior also contributed three blocks, three steals and an assist. On Thursday, Hill notched a big double-double as she led all scorers and rebounders with 18 points and 16 boards in a 78-58 triumph over Western Oregon. Hill just missed a double-double on Saturday, scoring nine points and turning in a game-high 14 rebounds in WWU's 79-73 win over first-place Saint Martin's in Lacey. The wins propelled WWU into a four-way tie atop the GNAC standings, and Hill now ranks No. 8 in the conference in rebounds per game with 7.5.

Week of Jan. 6-12: Sydney Donaldson, WWU (F, 6-0, Jr., Edmonds, WA - Edmonds-Woodway) averaged a double-double with 18.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in a pair of WWU victories last week that extended the Vikings' home win streak to 24 straight and pushed them over .500 on the season at 7-6 overall and 3-2 in GNAC play. Donaldson powered WWU in a 71-64 victory over Central Washington on Thursday, leading all scorers with 21 points while grabbing nine rebounds, blocking five shots and dishing out five assists. The junior shot 8-for-10 from the field and 4-for-6 from beyond the 3-point line. On Saturday, Donaldson turned in 15 points while collecting 15 rebounds and posting four blocks and four assists in a 81-68 win over Northwest Nazarene. In all, Donaldson shot .583 from the field (14-for-24) and totaled nine assists and nine blocks against just three turnovers in 68 minutes on the floor last week.

Week of Dec. 30 - Jan. 5: Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (G, 5-8, Sr., Malta, MT) had 55 points, 12 assists, and four steals and was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line with five rebounds. She led the team to an 81-63 win over Simon Fraser University and an 82-69 win over Western Washington University. In the game against SFU Knudsen had a team-high 18 points, six assists and two steals. In the win over WWU, Knudsen had a career-high 37 points, making 14-of-21 shots, including 3-of-4 from 3-point territory, for a shooting percentage of 66.6. Her 37 points is the highest by a women's player in the GNAC this season. "Bobbi Knudsen played a special game tonight," head coach Kevin Woodin said. "She had 37 points, and had six assists to only one turnover. It is probably one of the best perimeter games I have ever witnessed."

Week of Dec. 16-22: Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (G, 5-8, Sr., Malta, MT) scored 32 points while dishing out 17 assists and grabbing 14 rebounds in a pair of South Point Holiday Hoops Classic games last week in Las Vegas. Knudsen led the Yellowjackets to a 78-58 win over Texas Woman's and was instrumental in MSUB's one-point loss to No. 6 Drury. Trailing by two points in the final minute against the Panthers, Knudsen drove into the paint, scored a layup and drew a foul. After converting the free throw to give MSUB a one-point lead with six seconds left, Drury scored a buzzer-beater from 18 feet to shock the Yellowjackets and escape with the victory. "Bobbi played some incredible basketball over the two games," MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin said. "Our team played the two best games we have all season, and Bobbi was a top contributor in both contests."

Week of Dec. 9-15: Krista Stabler, SMU (G, 5-6, So., Silverdale, WA - Central Kitsap) finished with a career-high 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field while she was 8-of-10 from the line against Hawaii Hilo on Saturday. She also had career highs in rebounds with six and assists with four while adding two steals and committing zero turnovers in 27 minutes off the bench.

Week of Dec. 2-8: Dana Goularte, WOU (F, Jr., Port Orchard, WA - South Kitsap) averaged a double-double last week with 22.5 points and 12 rebounds in the Wolves' loss to No. 18 Northwest Nazarene and victory over Central Washington. Goularte averaged 36.0 minutes, shooting .538 from the floor and .800 from the free-throw line. She racked up four assists and six blocks and became the first WOU player since 2005 to grab 17 rebounds in a game when she accomplished the feat against NNU on Thursday. "She had one of the best all around performances I've ever seen," WOU head coach Holli Howard-Carpenter commented on Goularte's performance against NNU. "She defended, made some great passes and was a beast on the boards." The double-figure scoring performances gave her 22 total in her career, and her double-double on Thursday was the eighth of Goularte's career and third this season.

Week of Nov. 25 - Dec. 1: Kiki Robertson, UAA (G, 5-7, Fr., Honolulu, HI - Mid-Pacific) averaged 16.5 points and grabbed a dozen rebounds in a pair of games against Division I competition last week in the Great Alaska Shootout. Robertson averaged 34 minutes on the court, contributing a GNAC-high 12 steals and 11 assists in a victory against UC Riverside and a loss to Georgetown. Robertson shot 39 percent from the field, while turning in a solid 1.6 assist-turnover ratio.

Week of Nov. 18-24: Katie Benson, SPU (F, 6-1, Sr., Snohomish, WA - Snohomish) led the GNAC in scoring (28.5) and rebounding (11.5), and was second in blocks (3.0) and field goal percentage (.667) last week as the Falcons won a pair of games to improve to 6-0 in 2013. Benson also shot 83 percent from the free throw line and turned in seven steals while converting three-of-four attempts from long distance.

Week of Nov. 11-17: Katie Benson, SPU (F, 6-1, Sr., Snohomish, WA - Snohomish) averaged a double-double with 18 points and 12.5 rebounds in a pair of Falcon wins last week as SPU has started the 2013-14 campaign 4-0. Sixteen of Benson's 25 total rebounds were defensive, and she also turned in six steals and four blocks while committing just two turnovers. Overall, the senior shot 14-of-25 from the field and drained 7-of-8 free throws while averaging 25 minutes of action per game. Benson's 17 rebounds on Saturday night against Point Loma Nazarene tied her career high, and she was named tournament Most Valuable Player for the SPU-hosted Sodexo Tip-Off Classic.

Week of Nov. 4-10: Jordan Wilson, UAF (F, 5-11 Fr., Henderson, CO - Prairie View) posted a double-double with 27 points and 12 rebounds in her first career collegiate game. Wilson helped the Nanooks to an 87-72 victory over Western New Mexico, marking the first time UAF has won its season opener in four seasons. Wilson also notched an assist while shooting 10-of-11 from the field and sinking seven free throws on 10 attempts.

2013-14 GNAC TEAM OF THE WEEK: Sept. 2-8 - Simon Fraser (Football) Sept. 9-15 - Northwest Nazarene (Volleyball) Sept. 16-22 - MSU Billings (Men's XC) and Simon Fraser (Women's XC) Sept. 23-29 - Western Oregon (Football) Sept. 30 - Oct. 6 - Seattle Pacific (Men's Soccer) Oct. 7-13 - Central Washington (Women's Soccer) Oct. 14-20 - Western Oregon (Women's Soccer) Oct. 21-27 - Alaska Anchorage (Cross Country) Oct. 28 - Nov. 3 - Simon Fraser (Men's Soccer) Nov. 4-10 - Seattle Pacific (Women's Soccer) & Alaska Anchorage (Women's Cross Country) Nov. 11-17 - Western Washington (Volleyball) Nov. 18-24 - Simon Fraser (Men's Soccer) & Western Washington (Women's Soccer) Nov. 25 - Dec. 1 - Western Washington (Men's Basketball) Dec. 2-8 - Saint Martin's (Women's Basketball) Dec. 16-22 - Alaska Anchorage (Women's Basketball) Dec. 30 - Jan. 5 - Western Oregon (Men's Basketball) Jan. 6-12 - Central Washington (Men's Basketball) Jan. 13-19 - Seattle Pacific (Men's Basketball). Jan. 20-26 - Montana State Billings (Women's Basketball) Jan. 27 - Feb. 2 - Western Washington (Men's Basketball).

Women's Basketball: Yellowjackets Push Win Streak to 6 (Feb. 4, 2014)

PORTLAND, Ore. - With a pair of big road victories last week, Montana State Billings upped its Great Northwest Athletic Conference-high women's basketball winning streak to six games and assumed sole possession of first place. The battle for one of the top six spots and a berth in the GNAC championship tournament remains tight, with four teams now tied for second and two more within just two games of the No. 2 spot.

After winning two games in a row, Alaska Anchorage will look to solidify a spot in the tournament as it takes on Saint Martin's and Western Oregon on the road this week. The Saints currently occupy the sixth spot in the standings, and will look to hold on to their postseason contention with wins over the Seawolves and visiting Alaska Fairbanks.

Meanwhile, Northwest Nazarene will host two teams tied for second in Western Washington and Simon Fraser, as the Crusaders sit a game and a half behind SMU in a battle for the final postseason spot.

With a top seed all but locked up, Montana State Billings returns home for a non-conference game against South Dakota Mines on Thursday before its lone GNAC bout of the week against Seattle Pacific on Saturday inside Alterowitz Gym.

NNU moved up a spot this week in terms of NCAA Division II free-throw percentage, as the Crusaders' mark of 79.7 is second-best behind St. Cloud State's impressive 84.3 percent. UAA continues to be one of the most prolific scoring teams in the NCAA, with its average of 84.5 points per game being the fourth-best in the land. The Seawolves rank third in turnover margin (plus-8.53), and steals per game with 15.6, thanks in large part to NCAA No. 2-ranked Kiki Robertson's average of 4.00.

Simon Fraser is No. 4 in the NCAA in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to convert just 23.6 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. Also excelling in that category is UAF, which is No. 9 in the NCAA with an allowance of 25.2 percent from long distance.

Individually, MSUB's Bobbi Knudsen remained a top facilitator in Division II with 5.9 assists per game to land sixth. Falling close behind are Central Washington's Ally Schmitt, who ranks ninth with 5.5 assists per game, and UAA's Robertson who is 13th with 5.4.

Erin Chambers of SFU, the GNAC's current scoring leader, ranks fourth in Division II in points per game with 23.1. Seattle Pacific senior Katie Benson is the conference's other scorer in the top-30, landing at No. 23 with 20.2 points per contest.

Janiel Olson of MSUB leads the GNAC and ranks No. 15 in the NCAA in rebounds per contest with 10.7, and Taylor Simmons of NNU, the Red Lion Player of the Week, is close behind Robertson in steals per game as her total of 3.58 ranks fourth in Division II.

RECAP

In one fell swoop MSU Billings (16-5, 9-2 GNAC) made quick work of Western Washington and Simon Fraser last week, defeating both teams on the road to become the first sole leader in the GNAC standings since Saint Martin's led at 4-1 in Week 9. With the 71-63 win over WWU (11-8, 7-4), the Yellowjackets became the first team to defeat the Vikings inside Sam Carver Gym since Jan. of 2012, an incredible streak of 26-straight home victories.

Knudsen put forth another strong effort on the weekend, scoring 49 points and dishing out nine assists. On Saturday, senior center Chelsea Banis logged her first double-double of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while adding three blocks. Olson matched Banis with a team-high 23 rebounds on the weekend.

For the Vikings, Tia Briggs had back-to-back 14-point performances, while Sarah Hill logged 23 points and 16 rebounds on the weekend.

Simon Fraser (12-6, 7-4) earned a split on the weekend by defeating Seattle Pacific on Thursday before falling to the `Jackets on Saturday. In the Clan's first game of the week, Chambers suffered a dislocated finger, but still managed 20 points against the Falcons. The injury appeared not to be major, as she followed with a game-high 25 in the 76-61 loss to MSUB.

Despite the loss to SFU on Thursday, Seattle Pacific (14-5, 7-4) responded with a big 68-62 win over WWU on Saturday in Bellingham. Betsy Kingma and Suzanna Ohlsen led the way with 17 and 15 points respectively, while SPU leading scorer Benson was held to just 10 points after scoring 23 in the Falcons' 77-68 loss to the Clan.

In an incredible run down the stretch on Thursday, Alaska Fairbanks (9-10, 3-8) and Northwest Nazarene (12-7, 5-6) each scored 15 points in the final 1:23 of regulation, albeit in very different ways. The Nanooks unleashed a furious comeback effort, sinking five 3-pointers in the waning minutes against the visiting Crusaders. NNU responded however, proving why it is the second-best free-throw shooting team in the NCAA with an incredible 15 made foul shots to counter UAF's strong effort.

The Nanooks' total of 14 made shots from long range came up three shy of the GNAC record of 17, and NNU held on for the 86-81 win. Simmons played outstanding for the Crusaders, scoring 36 points on the weekend, while grabbing 10 rebounds, dishing out 13 assists and recording 12 steals. Megan Hingston had a strong performance in the win over the Nanooks, with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Chelsie Luke had 16 points and five rebounds off the bench.

For UAF, Jordan Wilson had another strong weekend with 31 points and a dozen rebounds. The freshman from Henderson, Colo., is now leading the conference in field goal percentage at 55.9, ranks fifth in scoring (17.0) and fourth in rebounds (8.0). Wilson logged a game-high 16 points in just 19 minutes on Saturday, as the Nanooks kept their hopes for a GNAC tournament seed alive with a solid 88-68 home win over CWU.

Alaska Anchorage (14-5, 7-4) snapped a two-game losing skid as the Seawolves downed Central Washington (6-13, 1-10) 77-70 on Thursday and then held on for a narrow 72-70 triumph over the Crusaders on Saturday. Jenna Buchanan had a strong weekend for the Seawolves with 34 points on 12-of-21 (.571) from the field. Robertson continued her impressive freshman campaign with 15 points, eight rebounds and a GNAC-high 15 assists last week.

Central Washington sophomore Hannah Shine had a career game off the bench on Thursday, scoring a game-high 19 points for the Wildcats in the loss. On Saturday, Jessica VanDyke and Daisy Burke each had 11 points for CWU, while Erika Locker led the team with 13 points off the bench and Jasmine Parker recorded three blocks.

In the teams' lone conference game of the week, Saint Martin's (12-7, 6-4) walked away victorious with a dramatic 59-56 win over Western Oregon (5-13, 2-9) in Monmouth on Saturday. The Saints' Chelsea Haskey notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and WOU's Dana Goularte was phenomenal with 16 points and 17 rebounds, her sixth double-double of the season. After Brooke Paulson converted two free throws with 11 seconds left, a last-second attempt by WOU rattled out and the Saints held on for the win. -30-