Thornton named GNAC Co-Player of the Week


Jamie Foland

Junior forward Samantha Thornton (Bremerton, Wash./Business administration) has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Red Lion Women’s Basketball Co-Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday morning.

“She’s improved as the season’s gone along and really has established her role and identity with the team,” head coach Cody Burgess-Bench said. “It’s allowed her to flourish and it’s definitely helped us get some victories.”

Thornton led the Nanooks to a pair of wins at home last weekend, with a 55-40 victory over Western Oregon and a 67-65 overtime win against Saint Martin’s. The win gave the team its third win in a row, the longest win streak in five years.

She scored 27 points and had 14 rebounds for the week, including a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in Thursday’s win over WOU. In Saturday’s contest with SMU, Thornton scored six of her 10 points in overtime to lead the team to the win. Thornton shot 43 percent (10-22) in the two games and also contributed three blocks and five steals.

This is her first-ever conference award and the program’s first Player of the Week honor since Jan. 23, 2006, when Nicole Hartzog, who played just one season with the Nanooks, was named Co-Player of the Week after Alaska swept ironically Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon at home last year.

“It’s been finding who we are as a team and having the discipline and focus to never give up and give out best effort for every game,” Burgess-Bench said. “It’s a culmination of different things that have come together for us and Sam in the wins last weekend helped our morale get to a whole new level.”

Thornton, shared the honor with Simon Fraser’s Kristina Collins, who led the Clan to two wins and helped clinch them a first-round bye in the GNAC Championship.

The Nanooks conclude the 2012-13 season this Saturday at 7 p.m. when they face in-state rival Alaska Anchorage.