BILLINGS – After collecting her fourth career Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week award on Monday, Montana State University Billings women’s basketball senior Alisha Breen was named the United States Basketball Writers’ Association National Player of the Week announced by the organization on Tuesday.
“It’s great to see Alisha honored nationally for her performance on the court last week,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “She played awesome in both games and her strong work ethic and senior leadership continue to impact our team in a positive manner. She worked extremely hard on and off the court during her rehab to return to action, and it is rewarding to see all of her hard work pay off.”
The last Yellowjacket basketball player to win the national weekly honor was Marc Matthews, who claimed the honor on Jan. 3, 2017.
Breen recorded just the 15th 60-point weekend in GNAC history, helping the Yellowjackets remain perfect on the year at 7-0 and win their first two league games last week. Breen had 31 points in a 75-62 win over Western Washington University last Thursday, and 29 more in a 70-61 win over Simon Fraser University on Saturday.
Thursday marked Breen’s fifth-career 30-point game, and it was her highest scoring output of the season. She connected on 11 of 17 shots from the field including a perfect mark of 4-for-4 from 3-point range, and also made all five of her free throws. On Saturday, Breen was even more efficient while shooting 9-for-12 from the field and making four more 3-pointers in five attempts. She made 7 of 8 free throws, and her lone miss snapped a string of 36 consecutive makes from the foul line dating back to the first game of the year on Nov. 10. Breen tied the fourth-longest made free throw streak in GNAC history.
In addition to her 60 points, Breen had a dozen rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block, while playing 73 of 80 minutes on the weekend. She made 20 of 29 shots (68.9 percent), 8 of 9 3-pointers (88.8 percent), and 12 of 13 free throws (92.3 percent). Breen leads the GNAC with an average of 21.7 points per game this year, and is shooting 51.4 percent from 3-point range.
With her final point on Saturday, Breen moved into a tie for 10th place in MSUB history with 1,362 career points. The Choteau, Mont., native was picked as the GNAC Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12 earlier this fall, and earned the honor twice during her junior campaign in 2016-17.
The last GNAC player to score 60 or more points in a two-game stretch in one week was Autummn Williams of Alaska Anchorage, who scored 65 combined on Feb. 9-11, 2017. The most points scored in a pair of games in the same week in conference history is 73 by Adrienne Taalak of the University of Alaska, who scored 36 points on Feb. 19 and 37 points on Feb. 21 during the 2003-04 season.
The Yellowjackets return to action this week, hosting a pair of non-conference opponents at Alterowitz Gym. MSUB welcomes Rocky Mountain College on Friday night at 7:30 p.m., before taking on the University of Providence on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.