Monday, December 27, 2010

Yellowjackets Finish Home Stand with Three Games This Week

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Montana State Billings women’s basketball team puts the finishing touches on the non-conference slate and opens the 2011 Great Northwest Athletic Conference home slate this week.  The Yellowjackets host Chadron State College (Dec. 29), followed by home dates with GNAC foes Alaska Anchorage (Jan. 1) and Alaska Fairbanks (Jan. 3).  The Yellowjackets stand at 5-4 on the year and 1-1 in GNAC play.

MSUB is coming off of its most dominating performance of the season in an 87-57 throttling of Minot State (Dec. 18).  The Yellowjackets shot a season-high 58.2 percent from the field on 32 of 55 from the floor.  Only one other time this season the Jackets had shot 40 percent or better which came in a 67-37 victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills (Nov. 19).  In that game, MSUB shot an even 40 percent.  The Jackets also blistered the nets from beyond the arc against Minot State, knocking down a season-high 12 triples (12 of 23 for 52.2 percent).  MSUB was 11 of 12 from the charity stripe and tallied a season-high 28 assists, five blocks and nine steals against the Beavers.

Balanced scoring was the name of the game for MSUB as everyone got involved.  Nine of the 10 players who played scored.  Senior Kayla Ryan and freshman Bobbi Knudsen led the way with 13 points each, while senior Beata Bak chipped in 12 points.

The Jackets held a 41-30 lead at intermission and exploded for 46 points in the second half as the team shot 60 percent from the floor and 58.3 percent from range.  The defense also stepped up, holding the Beavers to just 9 of 29 from the field and 2 of 8 from beyond the arc in the second half.  Minot State also struggled from the charity stripe in the final half, going just 7 of 15.  Conversely, MSUB knocked down 9-10 charity tosses.

Leading the way for the Yellowjackets this season is Bak who leads the team averaging 17.7 points per game.  She ranks second in the league in scoring and averages 6.2 rebounds per game which is good for second on the team.  She also has a team-high 15 blocks on the year, ranking her fourth in the league.

Ryan leads the team in rebounding averaging 9.4 rebounds per game ranking her second in the league, too.  Ryan averages 12.0 points per game and has recorded a double-double in four of the past five games.  Ryan ranks fourth in the league in free throw percentage at a .867 clip (26-30).  She also ranks seventh in the league in blocks (10), fourth in offensive rebounds (29) and second in defensive rebounds (56).

Senior Sarah McNamee is averaging 7.2 points per game, while Knudsen averages 7.0 points per contest.  Knudsen leads the team with 25 assists, ranking her eighth in the league.  Senior Shantell Marquis ranks sixth in the league in steals with 19 thefts.  Senior transfer, Jenny Heringer, played her first game as a Yellowjacket against Minot State.  Heringer scored nine points in her debut going 4-5 from the field with one triple in 20 minutes.  Heringer transferred to MSUB from Montana State.

As a team, the Yellowjackets are shooting 38 percent from the field through the first nine games on 200 of 528 from the floor.  They are 56 of 189 from deep (.296) and 124 of 170 from the line for a 73 percent average.  The Jackets average 37.6 rebounds per game and 64.4 points per contest.

Conversely, the opponents are shooting 36.6 percent from the field on 186 of 508.  They are 49 of 155 from beyond the arc for 31.6 percent, and are 120-188 from the line for 63.8 percent.  The opposition is averaging 40.3 rebounds per game and 60.1 points per contest.

Chadron State College enters the game with a 1-8 record overall.  CSC’s lone win was a 73-59 home victory over MSUB Nov. 29.  Since that game, the Eagles have lost six-straight.  Leading the way for the Eagles is Kaitlin Petri who leads the team averaging 16.7 points per game.  Petri has missed the last five games.  Second on the team in scoring is Lexi Smidt who averages 9.4 points per game.  Smidt leads the team with 26 made field goals and 22 triples. Petri leads the team averaging 7.3 rebounds per game, while Kelsey Scott is second in rebounds at a 5.3 clip.

The Eagles are shooting 33 percent from the field, 26 percent from beyond the arc and 62 percent from the line.  Chadron State is averaging 39.1 rebounds per game and 56.1 points per contest.  The opposition is shooting 40 percent from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc and 62 percent from the line.  They are pulling down 44.7 rebounds per game and 69.4 points.

Frigid shooting by the Yellowjackets (19 of 64 for 29.7) percent doomed MSUB in the first meeting between the teams this season.  Bak led the way with a game-high 22 points, while Ryan tallied 13 points and 11 rebounds.  Knudsen had nine points and no other Yellowjacket had more than three.

The bench for CSC proved to be the difference as it outscored the Jackets 29-16.  Petri and Kada Williams led the way with 14 and 13 points, respectively.  10 of 11 players scored for the Eagles and eight had five points or more.

MSUB leads the all-time series 7-2, including 5-0 in Billings.  Prior to the Nov. 29 meeting, MSUB had won seven-straight in the series.  The Yellowjackets are 2-1 in Chadron, while CSC leads 1-0 in neutral site matchups.

Alaska Anchorage, ranked 11th nationally, enters the game with a 10-2 record overall and a 1-0 record in the GNAC.  The Seawolves have won five straight, including a pair of dominating performances against Chaminade in their last two games.  UAA won both games by a combined score of 207-73.

Leading the way for the Seawolves this season is Hanna Johansson who leads the team averaging 14.0 points per game.  She is second on the team in rebounds at a 6.1 clip, and leads the team with 65 made field goals and a .565 average.  Nikki Aden is second in scoring at 13.2 points and leads the team with 16 made 3-pointers.  She leads the team in free throw shooting at a .867 clip and is tied with MSUB’s Ryan for fourth in the league.  Alysa Horn is third in scoring at 9.7 points and is second in made 3-pointers with 14. Horn leads the team in rebounds at a 7.6 average.

As a team, the Seawolves are shooting 39.5 percent from the field, 27.4 percent from beyond the arc and 69.4 percent from the line.  Alaska Anchorage averages 43.8 rebounds per game and scores 73.4 points per contest.

MSUB leads the all-time series with UAA 24-19 and 13-8 in Billings.  However, UAA has won the last six-straight since MSUB joined the GNAC in 2007.  Prior to that, MSUB had won 12 of 14.  The Jackets’ last home win versus UAA came in a 66-56 win on Mar. 3, 2001.

Alaska Fairbanks enters the week with a 0-8 record overall and a 0-1 record in conference play.  The Nanooks will travel to Seattle Pacific, Jan. 1, prior to the Jan. 3 tip with MSUB.  The Nanooks are led by Nicole Bozek who leads the team averaging 12.0 points per game.  She is second on the team in made field goals (27) and second in rebounds per game (6.1).  Bozek leads the team with a .500 field goal percentage.  Second in scoring is Whitney Anderson at 9.6 points.  She leads the team with 28 made field goals.  Autumn Greene leads the team averaging 6.9 rebounds per game, while Jeni Gabriel leads the team from deep with nine triples.

As a team, the Nanooks are shooting 34.1 percent from the field, 26.6 percent from beyond the arc and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe.  They are averaging 43.2 rebounds per game and scoring 57.8 points per contest.

MSUB leads the all-time series with the Nanooks 40-11, including 20-2 in Billings.  The Jackets have won seven-straight in the series.  UAF’s last win in Billings came Feb. 25, 1992, with an 83-79 win.

Following the UAF game, the Jackets head on the road for three, before returning home Jan. 20 to host Western Oregon.

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