(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – For the third time in the last five seasons the Montana State University Billings women’s basketball team has earned a spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, which kick off on Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Center and are hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage.
MSUB finished the 2017-18 regular season with a record of 19-11, and earned the No. 4 seed into the championship tournament by going 12-8 in conference play. The Yellowjackets will open the tournament against No. 5 seed Central Washington University (15-13, 11-9 GNAC), a team MSUB defeated twice during the regular season on its playoff run.
“We are looking forward to the tournament, and it is great to be back after our last appearance in 2015-16,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “We have a strong senior class, and I definitely think it’s a special time of year for our whole team. I’ve been very impressed with our players’ attitudes during this tough road stretch we have been on at the end of the year. I think we are fresh mentally, and we are excited about the tournament.”
2017-18 GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships Schedule (all times Alaska Standard Time – AKST)
Thursday, March 1, 2018 – Quarterfinals
5:15 PM – No. 5 Central Washington vs. No. 4 MSU Billings
7:30 PM – No. 6 Simon Fraser vs. No. 3 Seattle Pacific
Friday, March 2, 2018 – Semifinals
5:15 PM – Quarterfinal 1 Winner vs. No. 1 Northwest Nazarene
7:30 PM – Quarterfinal 2 Winner vs. No. 2 #9 Alaska Anchorage
Saturday, March 3, 2018 – Championship Game
7:30 PM – Semifinal 1 Winner vs. Semifinal 2 Winner
LIVE COVERAGE: All quarterfinal and semifinal games will be streamed live on GNAC.tv, with play-by-play commentary by Rob Lowery and color analysis by Keaton Homer. Saturday’s championship game will be streamed live on Watch ESPN, as part of the NCAA Division II College Basketball Showcase.
Live statistics will be available for all games of the tournament online through GNAC.tv. “In tournament play your focus becomes the single game in front of you, and you have to be focused all in on your one opponent,” said Woodin. “The strengths of our team all year have been our 3-point shooting, and that will be a key again for us along with limiting our turnovers.”
REGIONAL RANKINGS: The Yellowjackets appeared at No. 8 in the most recent NCAA D2 west region rankings, released last week. With the next rankings due out Wednesday, MSUB will look to hang on to the final spot in the regional championship tournament which will run March 8-10. The winner of the GNAC Championships will receive an automatic berth into the regional tournament as well. The NCAA D2 Women’s Basketball Championships selection show is scheduled for 8 p.m. Mountain time on Sunday, March 4, and can be viewed live online here.
‘JACKETS AGAINST THE FIELD
No. 1 Northwest Nazarene (0-2)
Game 1 – NNU 66, MSUB 52 (1-11-18 at Billings, MT)
Game 2 – NNU 85, MSUB 71 (2-10-18 at Nampa, ID)
No. 2 Alaska Anchorage (0-2)
Game 1 – #6 UAA 81, MSUB 60 (1-6-18 at Billings, MT)
Game 2 – #8 UAA 73, MSUB 63 (2-1-18 at Anchorage, AK)
No. 3 Seattle Pacific (0-2)
Game 1 – #25 SPU 70, MSUB 61 (12-28-17 at Seattle)
Game 2 – SPU 66, MSUB 50 (1-27-18 at Billings, MT)
No. 5 Central Washington (2-0)
Game 1 – MSUB 86, CWU 84 (1-13-18 at Billings, MT)
Game 2 – MSUB 78, CWU 58 (2-8-18 at Ellensburg, WA)
No. 6 Simon Fraser (1-1)
Game 1 – MSUB 70, SFU 61 (12-2-17 at Billings, MT)
Game 2 – SFU 77, MSUB 74 (2-22-18 at Burnaby, BC)