WWU opens GNAC play at Simon Fraser on Saturday

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Tia Briggs
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Tia Briggs
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Dec. 3, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Evening its record at 3-3 by winning the Lynda Goodrich Classic, the Western Washington University women's basketball team begins defense of its Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship on Saturday (7:30 p.m.), traveling to Simon Fraser University.

The teams last met in the 2013 NCAA Division II West Regional title game, the Vikings winning 75-58. WWU, which also beat Simon Fraser, 60-40, in last year's GNAC Tournament championship contest, advanced to the national semifinals before losing to eventual champion Ashland OH.

Last week, WWU won the Goodrich Classic title for the 15th time in the 17-year history of the tourney with lopsided wins over Pacific Lutheran, 84-46, and Northwest, 83-44.

The victories extended the Vikings' home court winning streak to 22 and ran their Goodrich Classic string to 12. They have won 31 of 34 tourney games overall.

Three WWU players were all-tournament picks. Freshman forward Tia Briggs was named Most Valuable Player, scoring 30 points on 12-of-17 (70.6 percent) field-goal shooting and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Two other Vikings named all-tourney were senior center Sarah Hill and junior guard Jenni White.

Freshman guard Taylor Peacocke leads WWU in scoring, averaging 11.8 points per game. She has made 17-of-20 free throws (85.0 percent).

White is averaging 11.5 points and leads the Vikings in assists (4.2) and steals (2.3). She is shooting 53.3 percent (24-of-45) from the floor, including 52.2 percent (12-of-23) from 3-point range.

Redshirt freshman forward Kiana Gandy is averaging 10.3 points on 60.5 percent (26-of--43) shooting.

Briggs is averaging 8.3 points, and Hill 7.3 points and 6.5 rebounds.

SIMON FRASER: The Clan, 5-1 overall, is working on a five-game winning streak. Two returning starters for coach Bruce Langford (12th year, 310-71) from last year's 25-6 team are 6-1 junior forward Erin Chambers (22.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and 5-6 junior guard Katie Lowen (14.8 ppg). Another talented returnee is 5-6 senior guard Marie-Line Petit (10.5 ppg). WWU holds a 41-32 series advantage, winning eight of the last nine meetings.

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.

PRE-SEASON HONORS: Two Vikings - Sydney Donaldson and Sarah Hill - were named to the GNAC preseason all-conference team.

VIKINGS THIRD IN GNAC COACHES POLL: WWU received three of 10 first-place votes as it 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 440-72 (85.9 percent) in 42 seasons at Carver Gym. Their longest home court win streak was 29 from 1983 to 1986. WWU was 16-0 at home last season and is working on a 22-game home court victory string over the last three years.

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 478-176 (73.1 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 910 victories (311 losses, 74.5 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 478.

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) 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.

PROBABLE WESTERN STARTERS & TOP RESERVES:

F Taylor Peacocke, 5-9, Fr., Kenmore, WA/Inglemoor/Sacramento State
F Tia Briggs, 6-1, Fr., Tacoma, WA/Wilson
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 Kiana Gandy,5-10, R-Fr., Des Moines, WA/Mount Rainier F Rachel Albert, 5-10, Fr., Bellingham, WA/Sehome F Sydney Donaldson, 6-0, **Jr., Edmonds, WA/Edmonds-Woodway G Marcel Pounds, 5-8, **Jr.., Bonney Lake, WA/Bonney Lake INJ F Aleisha Hathaway, 5-9, *So., Spokane, WA/Shadle Park *letters won

MOST RECENT GAME SUMMARIES:

Nov. 8 - WWU 75, Fresno Pacific 46, at Fresno, Calif.

WWU used a strong second half to defeat host Fresno Pacific, 75-46, in first-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic.The game was the season opener for both teams. The Vikings were led by the game-high 15 points of Gandy. They also got 14 points from Peacocke. WWU shot 61.5 percent (16-of-26) from the field in the second half, making nine of its first 13 attempts. The Vikings finished at 53.7 percent (29-of-54) for the game with Peacocke 5-of-6 and Gandy 7-of-9. Fresno Pacific, which shot just 30.8 percent (16-of-52) from the floor, 22.2 percent (6-of-27) after halftime, got 10 points from guard Patrice Saindon. Guard Keairra White, who averaged 18.2 points last year for the Sunbirds, was held to two points on 1-of-6 field-goal shooting. Ahead by six, 35-29, at halftime, WWU scored the first 13 points of the second half for a 19-point advantage, 48-29, with 14:29 remaining in the game. FPU missed 10 shots and had two turnovers during that stretch of 5:31. The Vikings' biggest lead was 30 points on two occasions. White and Donaldson each scored 11 points for WWU. The Vikings had a 37-26 rebound edge with Albert grabbing a game-high eight. WWU scored the first eight points of the game and led by 11, 17-6, nine minutes into the first half. FPU was within two, 28-26, with 3:53 left in the period, but the Vikings finished with a 7-3 run for a six-point lead at halftime.

Nov. 9 - Humboldt State 77, WWU 68 (OT) at Fresno, Calif.

White scored a team-high 18points, dished out five assists and had three steals, but WWU saw a second-half lead slip away in a 77-68 overtime loss to Humboldt State in final-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic. The Vikings had their record evened at 1-1. They also got 10 points each from Gandy and Peacocke. Humboldt State,1-1, was led by the game highs of 23 points and seven assists of Kersey Wilcox. Jae Shin scored 15 points, all in the first half, and Megan Shields and Elle Anderson each had 10. White scored seven straight points during a 10-2 run that gave WWU a 49-39 lead following a 3-pointer by Peacocke with 11:37 remaining in regulation. HSU responded with a 21-8 run, Wilcox scoring 13 points, to take a 60-57 lead with 4:06 to go in the second period. A White trey tied it at 60-all and there were three lead changes and three ties in the final three minutes with each team making one of two free throws in the final 12 seconds as regulation ended in a 64-64 deadlock. HSU outscored the Vikings, 13-4, in the extra period. The Lumberjacks had a 48-38 rebound advantage with Shields and Kelly Kime each grabbing a game-high 10. Wilcox had six rebounds.

Nov. 22 - Azusa Pacific 76, WWU 61 at Azusa, Calif.

A scoring drought midway through the game doomed WWU which fell 76-61 to host Azusa Pacific in first-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic. The Vikings were led by the 15 points of Gandy. Colard and Peacocke each had 11 points for WWU, and White added 10. Hill grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds and blocked two shots. Azusa Pacific, which evened its record at 1-1, was led by the game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds of forward Sendy Valles and the 15 points and game-high 10 assists of guard Allison Greene. Trailing by six, 34-28, with 1:18 left in the first half, WWU did not score again until the 14:06 mark of the second half. The Vikings were outscored 16-0 during that span as APU took a 50-28 lead. The Cougars' biggest lead was 24 points on three occasions, the last being 69-45 with 5:07 to play. Also scoring double figures for APU were Kelly Hardeman with 13 points and Maggie Dumphy with 10 points. APU shot 56.9 percent (29-of-51) from the floor to 43.6 percent (24-of-55) for the Vikings.

Nov. 23 - UC San Diego 72, WWU 66 (OT) at Azusa, Calif.

For the second straight game, WWU had a scoring drought of over seven minutes in falling 72-66 in overtime to UC San Diego in final-day action at the West Region Crossover Classic. UCSD, which improved to 1-2, was led by the team-high 16 points of guard Miranda Seto and a double-double of 14 points and a game-high 13 rebounds by forward McKennan Bertsch. Peacocke led four WWU players scoring in double figures with 14 points. White contributed 13 and Colard and Briggs each had 10. WWU, which held a 13-point lead, 32-19, at halftime, after 3-pointer by Colard with 17 seconds to go. Colard hit another trey 59 seconds into the second half to put the Vikings' advantage at16, 35-19, but they did not score again for 7:14 as UCSD scored 20 straight points to go in front, 39-35. WWU came back to lead 53-46 with 6:25 remaining in regulation, but the Tritons tied the score at 55-55 with 23 seconds left on a layup by Seto and the Vikings missed three shots for the win in the last five seconds to send the game into overtime. WWU never led in the extra period, but was behind by just one with 1:44 to go before five straight points by Meghan Perry gave the Tritons a six-point advantage, 68-62 at 0:44. WWU never got closer than three after that.

Nov. 29 - WWU 84, Pacific Lutheran 46 at Bellingham

Peacocke scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, helping WWU open an early lead and roll to an 84-46 victory over Pacific Lutheran in first-day action at the 17th annual Lynda Goodrich Classic at Carver Gym. Briggs added 14 points and a game-high seven rebounds for the Vikings. Shelly Kilcup had 12 points and six rebounds for PLU, which fell to 1-3. First-year Lutes' coach Jennifer Childress was a top assistant at WWU for seven seasons. WWU never trailed, jumping to a 17-6 advantage after eight minutes and leading 42-26 at halftime. The margin was never less than 20 points in the last 14 minutes and never less than 30 in the final nine minutes. Hill and Collard each had 11 points for the Vikings, who shot 55.4 percent (31-of-56) from the field and had a 38-22 rebound advantage. The Vikings have not lost to PLU in 24 series meetings.

Nov. 30 - WWU 83, Northwest 44 at Bellingham

Tournament MVP Briggs scored a game-high 16 points as WWU defeated Northwest, 83-44, to claim top honors at the 17th annual Lynda Goodrich Classic in final-day action at Carver Gym. It was the 22nd straight home court victory for the Vikings, who improved to 3-3. White had 13 points, all in the first half, for WWU, and added a game-high six assists. The contest was a non-counting exhibition game for NWU, which is 5-3 in counting games. Domi Mendezona had 10 points and four assists for the Eagles. WWU never trailed, but the score was tied at 13-13 six minutes in, and the Vikings led by just three, 22-19, with less than nine minutes left in the first half. But WWU then put the contest out 19-0 run, holding the Eagles scoreless for more than seven minutes and enabling the Vikings to take a 45-22 lead at halftime. Hill, Colard and Gandy each had 10 points for WWU. The Vikings had a 52-34 advantage in rebounds, with Albert having a game-high 10, and held Northwest to just 27.6 percent field-goal shooting (16-of-58). The victory was the 12th straight for WWU at the Goodrich Classic, and its 31st in 34 games overall. The Vikings have tied or won 15 of the 17 tourney titles Briggs was joined on the all-tournament team by White, Hill, Sanda Milovic of Northwest, Chelsea Haskey of Saint Martin's and Shelly Kilcup of Pacific Lutheran.

Great Northwest Athletic Conference

2013-14 Women's Basketball Report 5 Week 4 (Dec. 3, 2013)

                        Conf.	Overall
                        W	L	W	L	H	A	N
Northwest Nazarene      0	0	6	0	6-0	0-0	0-0
Seattle Pacific         0	0	6	0	2-0	1-0	3-0
Alaska Anchorage        0	0	5	1	2-1	3-0	0-0
Simon Fraser            0	0	5	1	4-0	1-1	0-0
Alaska Fairbanks        0	0	6	2	3-1	3-1	0-0
Montana State Billings  0	0	5	2	4-0	0-0	1-2
Central Washington      0	0	3	2	1-0	0-0	2-2
Saint Martin's          0	0	3	3	2-0	0-0	1-3
Western Washington      0	0	3	3	2-0	1-2	0-1
Western Oregon          0	0	2	3	2-3	0-0	0-0

LAST WEEK: Monday - Rocky Mountain 58 at MSU Billings 85. Tuesday - Great Alaska Shootout (Alaska Anchorage 83 vs. UC Riverside 75); Academy of Art 69 at Simon Fraser 84 Wednesday - Great Alaska Shootout (Georgetown 92 vs Alaska Anchorage 78); Academy of Art 74 at Simon Fraser 89; Montana Northern 59 at MSU Billings 76 Thursday - UAF North Star Invitational (Dominican 65 vs. Alaska Fairbanks 82) Friday - UAF North Star Invitational (Lees-McRae 65 vs. Alaska Fairbanks 77); Northwest Nazarene Invitational (Colorado Christian 60 vs. Northwest Nazarene 72; Central Washington 92 vs. Cal Baptist 66); WWU Lynda Goodrich Classic (Saint Martin's 76 vs. Northwest 78; Western Washington 84 vs. Pacific Lutheran 46); WOU Capital City Classic (Willamette 46 vs. Western Oregon 71) Saturday - UAF North Star Invitational (Wayne State 82 vs. Alaska Fairbanks 64); Northwest Nazarene Invitational (Cal Baptist 88 vs. Northwest Nazarene 94; Central Washington 75 vs. Colorado Christian 80); WWU Lynda Goodrich Classic (Saint Martin's 54 vs. Pacific Lutheran 71; Western Washington 83 vs. Northwest 44); WOU Capital City Classic (Western Oregon 64, Cal Maritime 46).

THIS WEEK: Thursday - MSU Billings at Alaska Anchorage, 7 p.m.; Seattle Pacific at Alaska Fairbanks, 7 p.m.; Central Washington at Saint Martin's, 7 p.m.; Northwest Nazarene at Western Oregon, 7 p.m. Saturday - Seattle Pacific at Alaska Anchorage, 5:15 p.m.; MSU Billings at Alaska Fairbanks, 7 p.m.; Central Washington at Western Oregon, 7 p.m.; Northwest Nazarene at Saint Martin's, 7 p.m.; Western Washington at Simon Fraser, 7:30 p.m.

POLLS: WBCA (Dec. 3) - 6. Seattle Pacific 18. Northwest Nazarene.

NCAA STATISTICS (Through Dec. 2): TEAM (Top 30) - Assist-Turnover Ratio - 15. MSU Billings (1.28) Blks/Gm. - T-19. Western Washington (4.8) T-29. Seattle Pacific (4.3) Field Goal Pct. - 16. Northwest Nazarene (.482) Field Goal Pct. Defense - 28. Seattle Pacific (.342) FT Pct. - 4. Northwest Nazarene (.828) 27. Western Oregon (.759) PF/Gm. - 19. Northwest Nazarene (16.2) T-23. MSU Billings (16.6) Rebound Margin - 23. Central Washington (10.4) Scoring Defense - 21. Seattle Pacific (55.3) T-30. Western Oregon (57.2) Scoring Margin - 11. Alaska Anchorage (26.2) Scoring Offense - 9. Alaska Anchorage (89.7) Steals/Gm. - 4. Alaska Anchorage (18.2) 3-Pt. FG Defense - 5. Alaska Anchorage (.176) T-17. Simon Fraser (.213) 3-Pt. FG/Gm. - T-13. Central Washington (9.2) 18. Simon Fraser (8.7) Turnover Margin - 7. Alaska Anchorage (12.33) Turnovers/Gm. - 6. MSU Billings (11.9) T-24. Central Washington (14.2) W-L-T Pct. - T-1. Seattle Pacific (1.000) T.1. Northwest Nazarene (1.000).

INDIVIDUAL (Top 30) - Ast./Turnover Ratio - T-23. Ally Schmitt, CWU (3.13) Ast./Gm. - 6. Kiki Robertson, UAA (7.2) T-17. Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (6.0) Blks./Gm - T-26. Katie Benson, SPU (2.0) Double-Doubles - T-15. Katie Benson, SPU (3) Field Goal Pct. - T-13. Amber Moser, CWU (.636) FT Pct. - T-1. Bobbi Knudsen, MSUB (1.000) T-16. Angela Gelhar, SMU (.950) Pts./Gm. - T-16. Erin Chambers, SFU (22.0) T-20. Jessica VanDyke, CWU (21.4) 22. Katie Benson, SPU (21.3) Reb./Gm. - T-21. Katie Benson, SPU (11.0) Steals/Gm. - 2. Kiki Robertson, UAA (5.33) T-18. Taylor Simmons, NNU (3.67) 3-Pt. FG/Gm. - T-11. Jessica VanDyke, CWU (3.80) 3-Pt. FG Pct. - T-19. Jenni White, WWU (.522) T-26. Courtney Johnson, CWU (.500).

DOUBLE-DOUBLES (Through Dec. 3): 3 - Katie Benson, SPU 2 - nine with. 1 - five with.

RED LION PLAYER OF THE WEEK

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.

Honorable Mention - Annie DePuydt, MSUB; Chantel Divilbiss, WOU; Tia Briggs, WWU; Jessica VanDyke, CWU; Megan Hingston, NNU.

ROBERTSON'S ROBBERY: The highlight of Alaska Anchorage's matchups against Division I competition last week was the play of freshman Kiki Robertson, who amassed a dozen steals, 11 assists, while averaging 16.5 points and 34 minutes per game. Robertson earned GNAC Player of the Week honors, as the Seawolves downed UC Riverside but fell to Georgetown in the championship game of the 2013 Great Alaska Shootout last week. UAA dives into GNAC play this week against preseason favorite Montana State Billings and undefeated Seattle Pacific. The Seawolves welcome MSU Billings on Thursday and entertain the Falcons on Saturday before the Winter break begins.

HINGSTON'S 30 WIN NNU A TOURNEY: It took a spectacular performance from NNU's best player to keep the team undefeated and earn it a victory over Cal Baptist in the Finals of the Northwest Nazarene Invitational. Megan Hingston unleashed for 30 points on 15-of-16 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the free-throw line to help the Crusaders to a 94-88 win that pushed the team's record to 6-0 this season. Hingston turned in 18 points in NNU's win over Colorado Christian the day before, and teammate Chelsie Luke and Taylor Simmons were close behind with 16 and 15 points respectively in the victory. NNU hits the road to begin its GNAC schedule, facing Western Oregon and Saint Martin's this week. The Crusaders, picked to finish tied for fourth in the 2013-14 GNAC preseason coaches' poll, sneaked into the WBCA top-25 last week.

VANDYKE SHINES FOR CWU: Jessica VanDyke matched Hingston's performance with a 30-point game of her own last week, achieving the feat in a 92-66 blowout of Cal Baptist. VanDyke drilled five 3-pointers and grabbed nine rebounds to come up one shy of a double-double. Teammate Amber Moser contributed 25 points for the Wildcats in the victory on Day 1 of the NNU Invitational. CWU struggled against Colorado Christian on Saturday however, as 20 points from VanDyke and 19 more from Courtney Johnson weren't enough in an 80-75 defeat. CWU kicks off GNAC play this week against Saint Martin's in Lacey on Thursday, before traveling to Monmouth for a bout against Western Oregon on Saturday.

WOU WINS CAPITAL CITY CLASSIC: After an 0-3 start to its 2013-14 season, Western Oregon followed with an impressive 2-0 showing at its own Capital City Classic tournament last weekend. Leading the way for WOU were Chantel Divilbiss and Dana Goularte, who helped the Wolves to a 71-46 win over Willamette on Friday and a 64-46 triumph over Cal Maritime on Saturday. On the weekend, Goularte averaged 15 points and seven rebounds while shooting 67 percent from the field. Divilbiss notched five buckets from long range as she shot an even .500 from the field and averaged 13.5 over the two-game stretch. Friday's victory marked the first in the collegiate coaching career of Wolves head coach Holli Howard-Carpenter. WOU hosts GNAC opponents NNU and CWU this week before heading to Las Vegas over the Winter break for a tournament.

MSUB PUSHES WINNING STREAK TO FIVE: Closing out its string of four straight games against Montana opponents, MSU Billings improved to 5-2 with a solid 76-59 victory over Montana State University Northern on Wednesday. The Yellowjackets extended their winning streak to five straight after dropping their first two contests of 2013-14. Annie DePuydt led the way with 17 points for MSUB, while senior guard Bobbi Knudsen turned in a double-double with 12 points and 11 assists. Knudsen remained perfect from the free throw line this season with a pair of makes, pushing her total on the year to 21-for-21. The Yellowjackets make the long trip to Alaska this week, challenging Anchorage and Fairbanks on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. MSUB will have its hands full with an early test, as the two schools have started 2013-14 with a combined record of 11-3 and will have home-court advantage.

SFU BEATS ACADEMY OF ART TWICE: Erin Chambers averaged 23.5 points as Simon Fraser downed the Academy of Art in back-to-back games last week in Burnaby. The Clan has now won five games in a row since dropping their first game of the 2013-14 season, and Chambers continues to lead the GNAC in scoring with 22.0 points per game so far. Katie Lowen was also instrumental in last week's victories, as she averaged 20 points and came up with four steals for SFU. The Clan open up GNAC play with a single game against Western Washington this Saturday before the Winter break.

WWU EXTENDS HOME WINNING STREAK: With a pair of victories in the Lynda Goodrich Classic last weekend, Western Washington pushed its home-court winning streak to 22 straight games. Tia Briggs was named MVP of the tournament as she led the team with 15.0 points and 6.5 rebounds. The Vikings defeated Pacific Luthernan on Friday and Northwest on Saturday to claim the title. Four Vikings averaged in double figures on the weekend, and WWU shot .475 from the field, .394 from long range and .800 from the free-throw line as a team. The Vikings open up GNAC play on Saturday as they cross the border to face Simon Fraser in Burnaby.

UAF SOLID IN NORTH STAR INVITE: Alaska Fairbanks took care of business in its first two games of its own North Star Invitational, before falling to Wayne State on the final day. The Nanooks downed Dominican 82-65 on Thanksgiving, and followed with a 77-65 triumph over Lees-McRae on Friday. Benissa Bulaya was solid for UAF, leading the team with 12.0 points and 11 assists over the three-game stretch. Autumn Childers shot a solid 4-for-13 from downtown, while freshman Jordan Wilson averaged 9.0 points and hauled in a team-high 24 caroms. The Nanooks are in for an early test in GNAC play, as they host Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings this week.

SMU STRUGGLES IN LYNDA GOODRICH INVITE: Saint Martin's snapped its three-game winning streak last week with a pair of losses at the WWU-hosted tournament. SMU suffered a two-point heartbreaker against Northwest on Friday, before falling to Pacific Lutheran on Saturday 71-54. The Saints host Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene this week as GNAC play begins.

SPU KICKS OFF CONFERENCE SLATE: Seattle Pacific makes the long journey up north after a week off to face the Alaska schools to open GNAC play. The Falcons are a perfect 6-0 to start the season.

PREVIOUS RED LION PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

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. Honorable Mention - Chelsea Haskey, SMU; Megan Hingston, NNU.

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. Honorable Mention - Jordan Wilson, UAF; Dana Goularte, WOU; Jessica VanDyke, CWU; Megan Hingston, NNU.

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. Honorable Mention - Chelsea Haskey, SMU; Megan Hingston, NNU; Alli Madison, UAA; Erin Chambers, SFU.

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).