Women’s basketball travels to Seattle Pacific, MSU Billings

Photo by Paul McCarthy
Photo by Paul McCarthy

Jamie Foland

The Alaska women’s basketball hits the road this week as it continues Great Northwest Athletic Conference play at Seattle Pacific and Montana State Billings.

The Nanooks (2-9, 0-3 GNAC) first hit the court with the Falcons (9-3, 3-1 GNAC) Thursday at 6 p.m. at Brougham Pavilion in Seattle before wrapping up the trip against the Yellowjackets (9-3, 3-1 GNAC) Saturday at 5 p.m. at Alterowitz Gymnasium. Both opponents are receiving votes in this week’s USA Today Sports Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll as MSUB would rank 40th and SPU would place 47th if the poll extended.

Last week, Alaska dropped both home GNAC games, falling 71-56 to then-No. 9 Simon Fraser and 87-59 to then-No. 20 Western Washington. SFU moved two spots to seventh while WWU jumped nine slots to 11th this week.

Senior forward Jacqueline Lovato led the Nanooks with 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds as she drained seven three pointers on the week. Senior guard Taylor Altenburg contributed 9.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 1.5 blocks while sophomore guard Benissa Bulaya added 8.5 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals per game.

In the GNAC rankings, junior guard April Fultz is 15th with 11.9 points per game while Altenburg is one spot back in 16th with 11.4 points per outing. Bulaya is second in the league in steals (2.7 spg) while sophomore guard Kelly Logue is tied for seventh (2.2 spg) and Fultz is 10th (2.1 spg) in the same category. Altenburg also cracks the top 10 in rebounding (6.3 rpg) while Bulaya is also 10th in assists (2.9 apg).

The Nanooks average 65.6 points per game while allowing opponents to score 75.4 points per contest. Alaska leads the GNAC in steals (12.4 spg) while also ranking fourth in rebounding offense (41.2 rpg)

Game 12: Alaska at Seattle Pacific – Jan. 10 at 6 p.m. (AKST)
Seattle Pacific enters Thursday 9-3 overall with a 3-1 mark in GNAC play following a 1-1 split last week. The Falcons downed Western Oregon 72-65 before falling 70-66 at Saint Martin’s.

SPU is the league’s top scoring team with 74.3 points per game but ranks eighth as it allows 65.2 points to its opposition. The Falcons are second in both shooting (.444 FG) and free throws (.795 FT) and lead the GNAC in three-point shooting (.388 3PT) and rebounding margin (+9.6 rpg).

Katie Benson is ninth in the GNAC with 14.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game while Suzanna Ohlsen is 11th with 13.7 points per outing. Rachel Murray is tied for fourth with a 50 percent shooting season while Ohlsen is fifth with 4.3 assists per contest. Ohlsen and Aubree Callen both rank in the top five in free throw percentage while Ohlsen leads the league in three-point percentage (.500).

Game 13: Alaska at Montana State Billings – Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. (AKST)
MSU Billings begins the week 9-3 on the year and 3-1 in league action after going 1-1 last week on the road. The Yellowjackets defeated Saint Martin’s 67-49 before being upended at Western Oregon 73-65.

MSUB averages 70.8 points per game while allowing its foes to score 61.8 points per night. The ‘Jackets are second in turnover margin (+7.17) and third in three point defense (.306 3PT) while also placing third in steals (10.8 spg).

Bobbi Knudsen is atop the scoring list in the GNAC with 18.7 points per game this season. Kayleen Goggins also averages 11.9 points while Janiel Olson is third in rebounding (8.5 rpg). Knudsen is third in assists (6.0 apg) and rounds out the top 10 in shooting percentage (.458 FG). Olson is also fourth in steals (2.6) while Brooke Tolman is fourth in three pointers made (2.1/gm).