Women's Basketball Weekly Report

Oct. 16, 2014 Contact: Nathan Webber ([email protected]) 503-305-8756 / www.gnacsports.com 2014 GNAC Tournament Champions WWU Voted to Win Conference Crown Great Northwest Coaches Poll 2013-14 Records Pts 1. Western Washington (9) 19-10, 13-5, 2nd 81 2. Alaska Anchorage (1) 19-9, 12-6, t-3rd 70 3. Simon Fraser 20-10, 12-6, t-3rd 63 4. Seattle Pacific 18-9, 11-7, t-5th 56 5. Montana State Billings 25-8, 15-3, 1st 53 6. Saint Martin's 18-11, 11-7, t-5th 45 7. Northwest Nazarene 15-11, 8-10, 7th 27 8. Alaska 9-17, 3-15, t-8th 23 9. Western Oregon 6-20, 3-15, t-8th 21 10. Central Washington 7-19, 2-16, 10th 15 (Note: First-place votes in parentheses. Points awarded on a 9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis). PORTLAND, Ore. - The Western Washington women’s basketball team has been selected to win the conference in the GNAC preseason coaches poll. The Vikings received the maximum of nine first-place votes in the poll. The 2013-14 GNAC tournament champions return 10 letter winners and four starters on a team that went 19-10 in the regular season and 13-5 in conference play. Two all-conference players from last year headline the Vikings returnees, including first-team conference selection Katie Colard who averaged 14.7 points per game in 201314. The Vikings moved up two spots from last year’s poll where they received three first-place votes, but placed behind Montana State Billings and Seattle Pacific respectively. Second in the poll is Alaska Anchorage, which received the only other first-place vote in the poll. The coaches had mixed feelings on teams 3-5 as they were separated by only 10 points. Last year’s tournament runner-up Simon Fraser got the nod for the third spot with 63 points. SFU, which tied Alaska Anchorage for third place in the GNAC last season, returns five letter winners, including the conference’s leading scorer in Erin Chambers. Seven points behind the Clan was Seattle Pacific. Coach Julie Heisey returns one of the most experienced teams in the conference with 10 players and four starters suiting up on a squad that went 18-9 last season. Montana State Billings, last year’s regular season and preseason poll champion, dropped all the way to fifth place in this year’s poll. MSUB made it farther than any other GNAC team in the NCAA tournament last year, reaching the West Region championship game and completing a 25-8 regular season. Saint Martin’s, which tied for fifth with Seattle Pacific in the 2013-14 season, was voted to finish in sixth place. The Saint’s return one of the conference’s top defensive groups, allowing 62.9 points per game last season. The seventh place team voted in the poll was also the last GNAC team to finish the 2013-14 season above the .500 mark. Northwest Nazarene ranked fourth in the nation in free-throw percentage last year and return two starters on a team that went 15-11. UAA coach Ryan McCarthy’s team tied for third last season and reached the NCAA tournament where they lost to eventual final four participant Cal Poly Pomona. Alaska and Western Oregon were only separated by two points in the coaches poll. These teams tied for eighth in the GNAC last season, but enter this year another year wiser and more experienced and will try and make some noise in the conference. The Seawolves have four starters and nine letter winners returning from an offense that led the GNAC with 78.6 points scored each game and a defense the led the nation in assists per game. Central Washington was voted 10th in the poll. The Wildcats are in a period of transition as new coach Jeff Harada takes over a team that won only two conference games last season.