Women’s basketball wins GNAC championship

Claims first title in program history; men fall in finals


Courtesy of GNAC

Jared Galanti, Sports Editor

Women’s basketball won their first Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship last weekend, edging out second-seeded Western Washington University by score of 57-46.

Against WWU in the championship game, redshirt senior forward Kassidy Malcolm would lead CWU in scoring with 14 points off of 4-9 shooting and 2-3 from three-point range. Redshirt junior center Samantha Bowman led the team with a GNAC tournament record 23 rebound performance to go along with her 12 points. 

Men’s basketball faced Alaska Fairbanks University (AFU) in the finals. CWU led 28-27 going into halftime. AFU pulled away in the second half and ended up winning 72-57.

Junior forward Matt Poquette would lead the team in scoring with 25 points (12-18 shooting) and brought down seven more rebounds but CWU wouldn’t have another double digit scorer. Senior guard Xavier Smith, who was named GNAC Player of the Year, was tied for second on the team with nine points (3-12 shooting) and brought down three rebounds and had two assists to go along with it.

CWU shot a mere 22-57 (38.6%) from the field and only 7-23 (30.4%) from three in the defeat. 

The CWU women’s team, who were seeded third entering the tournament, started with a 91-85 quarterfinal win over Simon Fraser University (SFU). Four CWU players had double digit scoring efforts led by redshirt senior guard Kizzah Maltezo who had 26 points off 10-16 shooting including 2-5 from three. Bowman led the team with 16 rebounds to go along with 16 points.

As a team CWU shot 31-66 (47%) from the field while only shooting 8-21 (38.1%) from behind the three point line. 

CWU would then take on Alaska Anchorage University (AAU) in the semifinals and would cruise past them 80-65. 

CWU again had four players score double digit points led again by Maltezo who had 22 points off of 7-14 shooting and 6-13 from three point range. Malcolm scored 18 points off of 6-11 shooting and 2-4 from three point range and Bowman once again led the team in rebounds with 13 to go along with her 16 points.

CWU shot an impressive 27-54 (50%) from the field and shot a better 16-33 (48.5%) from three to clinch a spot in the finals.. 

Bowman was named the GNAC most valuable player throughout the women’s tournament. Over the three games played she averaged 14.7 PPG 17.3 RPG and 5 APG. 

After winning the GNAC championship, CWU got placed as the two seed in the west region of the NCAA Division II women’s basketball tournament, slated to begin March 11. They’ll face Northwest Nazarene University (NNU) in the first round.

CWU men’s team had a similar path to the finals. They opened up their tournament ranked as the number five seed and beat the number four seed Montana State University Billings (MSUB) 74-67. 

CWU had three double digit scorers led by Smith who had 19 points off of 8-15 shooting including 1-3 from three. He also added four rebounds and four assists to those 19 points as well. 

CWU shot 29-56 (51.8%) from the field including only 3-9 (33.3%) from three. CWU’s defense held MSUB to only 25-58 (43.1%) from the field and only 2-21 (9.5%) from three. 

CWU would then take on the number nine seed Western Oregon University (WOU) who the night prior had won their quarterfinal matchup on a buzzer beater three from junior guard Cameron Cranston to take out the number one seed in the tournament St. Martin’s University.

CWU would have another tight fight with WOU and barely held on to a 65-64 win. CWU had four players score double digit points led by Poquette who had 14 points (7-12 shooting) while grabbing seven rebounds and having two assists to go with it. Smith was second on the team with 13 points (6-11 shooting) and freshman guard Colby Gennett had 12 points (5-10 shooting) off the bench while pulling down seven rebounds. 

CWU shot 27-62 (43.5%) from the field while only shooting 3-10 (30%) from three. 

While CWU finished with a strong 17-8 overall record it wasn’t enough for them to claim a spot in the men’s division ll basketball tournament.