(MSUB Athletics photo)

(MSU Billings release)

BILLINGS – Off to the best start in program history, the Montana State University Billings women’s basketball team remains at home this week to host a pair of non-conference games during Eastern Montana College Throwback Weekend.

The Yellowjackets (7-0, 2-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) welcome Rocky Mountain College to Alterowitz Gym on Friday night, before hosting the University of Providence on Saturday night. Both games will be part of a doubleheader with the MSUB men’s basketball team, with the women playing the late game Friday at 7:30 p.m. and the early game Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

All games over the weekend will feature live video with play-by-play commentary and live statistics, available online through MSUB’s Stretch Internet portal here.

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“Our team is really looking forward to this weekend’s games against Rocky and Providence,” commented MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “Both RMC and Providence are off to great starts this season, so we will need to be focused and play well in order to come out on top. It is nice to be at home this week before next week’s final exams begin. Our team is excited to wear the throwback uniforms this weekend, as it is important to remember and honor our rich Eastern Montana College history.”

‘JACKETS ON TV: Friday’s doubleheader with the men’s team will be broadcast live in Montana on SWX Sports, cable channel 503 and on KULR-TV channel 8.2. For complete local listings for SWX Sports, visit the Montana Program Guide online here.

THROWING IT BACK: The annual tradition of EMC Throwback Night has been extended into EMC Throwback Weekend this year, with the Yellowjackets honoring their past in all games played this weekend. MSUB will wear black-and-yellow throwback jerseys throughout the weekend, paying tribute to the university’s former moniker.

LAST FIVE: W-W-W-W-W

‘JACKETS IN THE RANKINGS: For the first time this season, MSUB received votes in the Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Association top-25 poll released Tuesday. The ‘Jackets received 14 points in the poll, and remain as 1 of 14 undefeated teams in Division II. In the D2SIDA west region poll, MSUB moved up one spot to fifth place. The Yellowjackets and top-ranked University of Alaska Anchorage are the only two west-region teams with unblemished records.

LAST WEEK: The Yellowjackets opened conference play with a bang last week, defeating Western Washington University 75-62 on Thursday and Simon Fraser University 70-61 on Saturday. The win over the Clan pushed the Yellowjackets’ winning streak to seven games, surpassing the school record of six straight wins to start a season during 1990-91.

IN THE FORECAST: This week marks MSUB’s final home games before the holiday break, and the ‘Jackets will finish non-conference play with a trip to Hawaii for three games next weekend. MSUB’s next home games after this weekend are Jan. 4-13, 2018, when it has a four-game GNAC home stand.

BREEN MACHINE: For the second time this year and fourth time in her career, senior Alisha Breen garnered GNAC Player of the Week after perhaps her best weekend as a Yellowjacket. That award was followed by United States Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Week recognition, which was announced on Tuesday. Breen had just the 15th 60-point weekend in conference history, with 31 points against WWU and 29 more against SFU. 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). Entering this week, Breen leads the GNAC and ranks 16th in the NCAA with 21.7 points per game, and she is No. 11 in the NCAA with a 3-point field-goal percentage of 51.4. Among the 10 players ahead of her in 3-point field-goal percentage, only two – Chelsey Shumpert of Union (Tenn.) (33 makes) and Baylee Bennett of Cedarville (19 makes) – have more total makes from beyond the arc than Breen’s 18.

NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Scoring Leaders (as of Dec. 5, 2017)

Rank Player School Class Points Games PPG
1 Chelsey Shumpert Union (TN) JR 214 8 26.75
2 Felecity Havens Mount Olive JR 207 8 25.88
Jessica Kelliher Lewis JR 207 8 25.88
4 Shatara Parsons California (PA) SR 197 8 24.63
5 Jasmyne Fogle Post SR 97 4 24.25
6 Anna Schmitt Concordia-St. Paul JR 169 7 24.14
7 Ariel Jones Shippensburg FR 211 9 23.44
8 Sandra Ikeora Dominican (CA) SR 187 8 23.38
9 Megan Rosenbohm Southwest Baptist SR 183 8 22.88
Dana Watts American International JR 183 8 22.88
11 Khai Chandler Francis Marion SR 137 6 22.83
12 Addy Clift Oklahoma Christian JR 182 8 22.75
Shannon Ryan St. Anselm SO 182 8 22.75
14 Martha Burse Indianapolis SR 175 8 21.88
15 Dana Gettis LeMoyne-Owen FR 174 8 21.75
16 Alisha Breen MSU Billings SR 152 7 21.71
17 Imani Brown East Stroudsburg SR 173 8 21.63
Hailey Tucker Southwestern Oklahoma JR 173 8 21.63
19 Paris McLeod Glenville State SR 151 7 21.57
Porscha Speller West Chester SR 151 7 21.57

In her 100th career game, Breen moved into a tie for 10th in MSUB history with 1,362 points scored in her four seasons. Breen also needs just 10 more made free throws to break the MSUB school record of 392, held by Sherry McQuinn (1991-93).

MSUB Women’s Basketball Career Scoring Leaders (as of Dec. 7, 2017)

Rank Name Points Seasons
1 Alira Carpenter 2000 2006-09
2 Bobbi Knudsen 1831 2011-14
3 Tera Silvius 1620 1992-95
4 Evonne Goroski 1572 1985-88
5 Deb Prevost 1540 1975-78
6 Megan Mason-Dickerson 1519 1995-98
7 Kayleen Goggins 1456 2011-15
8 Sherry McQuinn 1452 1991-93
9 Shelley Altrogge 1382 1990-91
10 Kelli Kenyon 1362 1984-87
Alisha Breen 1362 2014-18

THE FREE-THROW STREAK: Breen missed her sixth free throw in the game against Simon Fraser, snapping a string of 36 consecutive made foul shots that dated back to MSUB’s first game of the year on Nov. 10 against the Academy of Art. Breen, who is a 93.0 percent foul shooter on the year, tied the fourth-longest made free throws streak in conference history, and matched the longest MSUB streak since Bobbi Knudsen made 36 in-a-row from Nov. 8, 2013-Dec. 19, 2013.

GNAC Women’s Basketball Made Free Throw Streaks (as of Dec. 5, 2017)

Rank Player School Streak Start End
1 Jamey Gelhar Saint Martin’s 78 12/18/2008 2/28/2009
2 Suzanna Ohlsen Seattle Pacific 49 1/18/2014 11/22/2014
3 Chelsie Luke Northwest Nazarene 39 11/9/2012 1/24/2013
4 Whitney Golob Saint Martin’s 36 1/7/2006 2/2/2006
Bobbi Knudsen MSU Billings 36 11/8/2013 12/19/2013
Alisha Breen MSU Billings 36 11/10/2017 12/2/2017
7 Cody Burgess Alaska Fairbanks 35 2/27/2003 11/14/2003
Adrienne Taalack Alaska Fairbanks 35 1/20/2005 3/3/2005
9 Kamie Jo Massey Alaska Anchorage 33 2/7/2004 2/21/2004
10 Krista Stabler Saint Martin’s 32 1/22/2015 2/19/2015
11 Whitney VanBrocklin Northwest Nazarene 31 12/6/2003 12/11/2004
12 Cody Burgess Alaska Fairbanks 30 2/12/2005 3/3/2005

KANE AMONG NATION’S TOP POINT GUARDS: Entering the week tied for eighth in the NCAA with 6.29 assists per game, senior point guard Rylee Kane has been productive in all aspects of the game. In addition to six assists in each game last week, Kane had the two best rebounding games of her career with seven against WWU and a career-best eight against Simon Fraser. Kane continues to rank second on the team with 11.6 points per game, and she is third in the GNAC with 16 steals on the year as well. Entering this week, Kane remains fifth in MSUB history and ninth in GNAC history with 428 career assists.

NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Assists Per Game Leaders (as of Dec. 5, 2017)

Rank Player School Class Assists Games APG
1 Ivy Wallen North Alabama SO 62 7 8.86
2 Nina Vukosavljevic NYIT SR 55 7 7.86
3 Alexis Smith Virginia State SR 51 7 7.29
4 Markia Stacey Lees-McRae JR 36 5 7.20
5 Kelly Martin Stonehill SR 43 6 7.17
6 Laney Lewis Ursuline SR 48 7 6.86
7 Rachel Iozzia San Francisco State SR 38 6 6.33
8 Lauren Ellenberger Embry-Riddle (FL) JR 44 7 6.29
Rylee Kane MSU Billings SR 44 7 6.29
10 Paige Imhoff Pittsburg State SR 50 8 6.25

STAVISH STEADY IN DOUBLE FIGURES: Junior forward Vanessa Stavish is the Yellowjackets’ third player averaging double figures with 10.4 points per game. She kept her season-long streak alive with at least one 3-pointer in all seven games for the ‘Jackets, and is shooting 35.5 percent overall from the arc on the year. Starting all seven games, Stavish has contributed with 4.0 rebounds per game while chipping in 1.3 assists and averaging 23.7 minutes per start. Her seven rebounds against WWU last week were a career high as well.

COLLINS REACHES SEASON HIGH: Freshman point guard Hannah Collins had her most productive game yet against the Clan last week, as she notched a season-high 10 points while playing 15 minutes. It was her second-highest minute total of the year, and her three made field goals were the most so far in a game in her young career.

CONSISTENT CUNNINGHAM: Starting all seven games, sophomore forward Taylor Cunningham has provided a consistent and reliable presence this year. She had four rebounds and three assists in each GNAC game last week, while averaging 29 minutes and committing just two turnovers. Entering this week, Cunningham ranks third on the team with 28.0 minutes per game.

PREVOST PROVIDES SPARK: When the ‘Jackets trailed in the third quarter against WWU, senior Lexi Prevost helped provide a pair of key stops to turn the game around. MSUB went on a game-changing run to start the fourth quarter, with two steals from Prevost coming at crucial moments in the game. She also had three assists against the Vikings, and followed by matching her season high with four rebounds against SFU. Prevost joins Kane, Breen, Stavish, and Cunningham, as the fifth Yellowjacket to start all seven games this year.

Rocky Mountain College Battlin’ Bears
Friday, Dec. 8 – 7:30 PM – Alterowitz Gym
2017-18 Record: 6-1
Last Five: W-W-W-W-L
Head Coach: Wes Keller, 3rd season

The Bears are coming off their first loss of the season, falling 60-52 at the hands of the University of Providence last Saturday. RMC won its first six contests of the year and is out-scoring its opponents by an incredible mark of 78.0-39.3.

This will be the second meeting of the year between the Bears and ‘Jackets, with Friday’s game counting for MSUB and standing as an exhibition game for the Bears. MSUB won the first exhibition game between the teams 71-48 on Nov. 6 at the Fortin Center.

Leading the team offensively is Brooke Jones, who is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and averaging 13.1 points per game. Her 6.7 rebounds per contest are also a team high, and she ranks second on the squad with 26.4 minutes per game.

Mikayla Jones is also a double-figure scorer for the Bears, with an average of 11.9 points per game. Alexi Smith is RMC’s top perimeter shooter at 51.4 percent (18-for-35), and Hailee Farstveet leads the team with 4.9 assists per game.

As a team RMC is shooting 44.6 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from long range, and 64.5 percent from the free-throw line. The Bears have out-rebounded their opposition by a mark of 44.4-31.7 through seven games.

The Series: The last counting game between MSUB and RMC was on Dec. 17, 2016, and the ‘Jackets have won 17 games in-a-row and 22 of the last 23 counters dating back to 1995. The ‘Jackets hold a dominant 39-5 record in home games against the Bears.

Last Time Out: Breen had 20 points and eight rebounds, Kane added 19 points, six assists, and five boards, and Grace Weeks had 11 points in MSUB’s one-sided exhibition win earlier this year. Brooke Jones led the Bears with 13 points and Mikayla Jones had a dozen in the exhibition game.

University of Providence Argos
Saturday, Dec. 9 – 5:30 PM – Alterowitz Gym
2017-18 Record: 10-2
Last Five: W-L-W-W-L
Head Coach: Bill Himmelberg, 7th season

Providence split its opening weekend of Frontier Conference play, defeating Rocky 60-52 and losing to Carroll College 78-65 last week. The Argos started the year 7-0 and have kept up the strong pace at 10-2 under seventh-year head coach Bill Himmelberg.

Saturday’s game will be an exhibition contest for Providence, and a counter for MSUB.

Providence’s lineup features four double-figure scorers, including team leader Stephanie McDonagh who contributes 19.1 points per game. McDonagh is a 54.7 percent shooter from the field, including a mark of 39.6 percent from 3-point range.

Parker Esary is second on the team with 13.9 points per game, and leads the Argos with 6.7 rebounds. Emilee Maldonado is also in double figures with 13.0 points, while leading the team with 4.1 assists per game. Maldonado is the team’s top perimeter shooter as well, with a mark of 27-for-76 (35.5 percent) on the year.

Kallee Wilson and Molly Herron are the other regular starters for Providence, and average 7.5 and 5.8 points per game, respectively.

Providence has out-scored its opponents 70.17-56.67 this year, and holds a solid rebounding margin at 41.8-31.2. The Argos are shooting 42.2 percent as a team, 32.8 percent from 3-point range, and 73.4 percent from the free-throw line.

The Series: Among the counting games in the series between the teams, Providence (formerly known as the University of Great Falls) holds a 12-9 advantage. MSUB is 8-4 all-time in home games, and has won two in-a-row in the series.

Last Time Out: MSUB strolled to a 102-78 triumph over Providence on Nov. 22, 2013. Breen, the only current Yellowjacket to play in that game, had 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, a block, and a steal in the beginning of her true freshman season.

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