(MSU Billings release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Set to return to the court for her senior season, Montana State University Billings forward Vanessa Stavish was named to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball preseason all-league team announced by the conference office Friday.
Stavish was among eight unanimous selections among the coach-selected team, and 15 total players from the conference received the honor. “It was nice to see Vanessa selected for the GNAC preseason all-conference team,” commented MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “She had a consistent junior season and played some of her best basketball over our final stretch of tournament games a year ago. I look for Vanessa to have her best season yet this year, and her leadership ability will also be very important to our team.”
A key player on last season’s NCAA Division II Elite Eight run, Stavish started all 37 games for the Yellowjackets and ranked third on the team with 9.5 points per game. She was also tied for second on MSUB with 5.0 rebounds per game, and her shooting percentage of 36.3 from beyond the arc was the top mark among statistical qualifiers. Overall Stavish shot 42.9 percent from the floor and made 82.4 percent of her free throws.
One of Stavish’s top career performances came in the west region championship game against Alaska Anchorage, when she matched her season high with 17 points and completed her first-career double-double with 10 rebounds. Overall in 2017-18 Stavish reached double figures in scoring in 19 games, and hit a career-best five 3-pointers on two different occasions.
Through three seasons in the program Stavish has totaled 587 points, 304 rebounds, and has played in 97 games. She has converted 107 3-pointers and needs 18 more to break into the top-10 in MSUB history in that category. She is a two-time academic all-conference selection as well.
Stavish is the sixth Yellowjacket to receive preseason all-conference honors since the award was established prior to the 2012-13 season. Among her predecessors are three-time selections Alisha Breen and Janiel Olson, two-time picks Bobbi Knudsen and Kayleen Goggins, and 2017-18 senior Rylee Kane.
MSUB Women’s Basketball Preseason All-GNAC Selections
Player Pre-All-GNAC Season(s) Career
Vanessa Stavish 2018-19 2015-19
Alisha Breen 2015-16, 2016-17*, 2017-18* 2013-18
Rylee Kane 2017-18 2015-18
Janiel Olson 2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16 2011-16
Kayleen Goggins 2013-14, 2014-15 2011-15
Bobbi Knudsen 2012-13, 2013-14* 2010-14
*-Preseason Player of the Year
Hannah Wandersee of the University of Alaska Anchorage was named by the coaches as the GNAC Preseason Player of the Year. She is the second Seawolf to garner the accolade, after Megan Mullings was picked as the top preseason player in 2015-16 before going on to win the GNAC Player of the Year award. Northwest Nazarene was the lone team to have three players selected among the 15, while Yazmeen Goo joined Wandersee to make UAA the only school with multiple unanimous selections.
MSUB is coming off one of the best seasons in school history, as it tied the school record for wins and made the second-ever appearance at the Elite Eight going 25-12 overall. MSUB placed fourth in the GNAC with a conference record of 12-8 last year, before winning the conference tournament and west-region championships.
First up on this year’s schedule for the ‘Jackets is the MSUB Alumni Game, scheduled for 6 p.m. on November 2 at Alterowitz Gym. The team opens its 2018-19 regular season at home on November 9, hosting the University of Providence at 7 p.m.