The University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s basketball team is looking to end a nine-game slide in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the Nanooks men’s squad hope to move up in their standings of the NCAA Division II conference.
Both Nanooks team have GNAC doubleheaders this week on the Alaska Airlines Court in the UAF Patty Center.
The Nanooks women take on the Seattle Pacific Falcons at 5:15 p.m. today, and the Seattle Pacific and UAF men’s teams are scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m.
The Saint Martin’s Saints, of Lacey, Washington, visit the Patty Center on Saturday. The women’s contest is set for 1 p.m., and the men’s game is slated for 3:15 p.m.
The Nanooks, at 6-13 overall and 1-9 GNAC, hold last place in the 11-team conference.
The Nanooks are coming off a pair of tough losses at Simon Fraser and Western Washington.
UAF lost 93-61 on Jan. 23 to the Simon Fraser Clan in Burnaby, British Columbia. The Nanooks fell 88-47 two days later to the Western Washington Vikings in Bellingham, Washington.
Despite UAF’s struggles, junior guard Jocelyn Gandara continues to lead the GNAC in scoring with 18.1 points per game.
Freshman teammate and guard Sam Tolliver averages 14.7 points, which ties Northwest Nazarene’s Marina Valles for fourth in the conference.
Saint Martin’s and Seattle Pacific are tied for seventh in the GNAC standings. The Saints are 9-8 overall and 4-6 GNAC, and Falcons’ 4-6 conference mark goes with a 6-12 overall record.
Saint Martin’s has the top two rebounders in the GNAC in senior forward Bria Thames (12.0) and sophomore forward Claire Dingus (8.8).
Seattle Pacific senior guard Hailee Bennett leads the GNAC with a .909 free-throw shooting percentage (50 for 55 in 18 games).
Falcons junior forward Ashlynn Burgess, from Eagle River, is second in the conference in field-goal percentage — .618 on 94-for-152 shooting in 18 games.
The Nanooks are in a three-way tie for third place at the halfway point of conference play.
UAF is 7-11 overall and 6-4 GNAC, and shares third with the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves and the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks.
The top six men’s and women’s teams each at the end of the regular season advance to the GNAC Championship Tournament on March 5-7 at Seattle Pacific’s Royal Brougham Pavilion.
Nanooks junior guard Shadeed Shabazz leads the GNAC in scoring with 24.5 points per game. He also has scored in the 30-point neighborhood for six straight games.
The native of Seattle also ranks first in steals with 3.7 per game. Shabazz has 67 total steals in 18 games.
Seattle Pacific is atop the GNAC men’s standings at 14-4 overall and 10-0 conference, while Saint Martin’s is 10th at 4-15 and 2-8, respectively.
Falcons freshman forward Shaw Anderson leads the GNAC in 3-point shooting percentage at .557 with 34 baskets among 61 attempts in 18 games.
Saints junior center Marky Adams is first for field-goal percentage with a .659 from 89 shots made in 135 attempts in 18 games.
Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.