MSUB, WWU Women Seal First-Round Byes for GNAC Championships

Jenni White

March 1, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. - After wrapping up the No. 1 overall seed for the 2013-14 Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball championships on Thursday, regular season champion Montana State Billings finished its regular season with a 75-72 victory over visiting Alaska Anchorage Saturday night inside Alterowitz Gym in Billings, Mont.

The win pushed MSUB's record at home to a perfect 15-0 this season, and snapped UAA's 5-game winning streak. The Yellowjackets (23-6, 15-3 GNAC) made up for a 90-59 loss to UAA on Dec. 5, 2013 in Anchorage.

MSUB led by nine points with 8:57 remaining in the game, but the Seawolves launched a comeback campaign to narrow the spread and take the lead 63-62 on a 3-pointer by Jenna Buchanan with 6:35 left.

The Yellowjackets recovered, pushing their lead to five with 1:47 left. MSUB fought off UAA down the stretch, holding their breath as Jessica Madison's last-second 3-point attempt to tie the game rattled out.

On the game, Kayleen Goggins led all scorers with 20 points, while MSUB senior Chelsea Banis had 18 points and Alisha Breen added 15 more. Yellowjacket senior Bobbi Knudsen scored eight points, and had eight assists and six rebounds.

Madison finished with 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and Kylie Burns added 14 points for the Seawolves in the loss. The Seawolves (19-7, 12-6) earned the No. 3 seed and will face No. 6 seed Saint Martin's at 5:15 p.m. Pacific time on Wednesday.

On ROOT SPORTS, Western Washington (17-9, 13-5) defeated Simon Fraser (17-8, 12-6) with a 72-63 triumph in Bellingham. By virtue of MSUB's win over UAA, WWU earned the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the GNAC Championships.

Senior guard Jenni White had a team-high 14 points, and Sarah Hill notched her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Tia Briggs had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench for WWU, and Sydney Donaldson approached a double-double with 12 points and eight rebounds.

For SFU, it was GNAC-leading scorer Erin Chambers who led all players with 23 points in the loss. The Clan shot just 1-for-16 from 3-point range and 55.6 percent (10-for-18) from the foul line on the game. SFU earned the No. 4 seed and will square off against No. 5 seed Seattle Pacific on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time in Lacey.

Saint Martin's (17-10, 11-7) weathered a late comeback effort by Central Washington (7-19, 2-16), picking up a 59-52 win in Ellensburg. Angela Gelhar totaled 13 points on 11-of-12 from the foul line, and Megan Wiedeman logged 11 rebounds and seven points for the Saints.

The Saints ended up with the No. 6 seed after Seattle Pacific (18-8, 11-7) defeated Alaska Fairbanks (9-17, 3-15) 69-56 in Seattle to claim the No. 5 spot heading into the championships.

For the Falcons, Suzanna Ohlsen led the way with 17 points while Betsy Kingma contributed 14. The duo combined to shoot 7-for-11 from 3-point range. Senior Katie Benson added 11 points and eight rebounds for SPU.

In other action, Northwest Nazarene (15-11, 8-10) closed out its 2013-14 season with a 74-57 win over Western Oregon (6-20, 3-15) in Nampa. Senior Megan Hingston scored 19 points and added seven rebounds, an assist and a steal in her final collegiate performance. Chelsie Luke also scored 19 points for the Crusaders, and Kylee Schierman had a near double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. -30-


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