ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Not wanting to put their fate in the hands of others, the Montana State Billings women’s basketball team took care of their own business late Saturday night, defeating Seattle Pacific 71-61 for the GNAC Tournament title.
It is the first GNAC Tournament title in program history.
The Yellowjackets (22-11) earned the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Division II national tournament.
MSUB was the No. 4 seed entering the GNAC Tournament, defeating No. 5 seed Central Washington on Thursday and No. 1 seed Northwest Nazarene on Friday to reach the title game. SPU was the No. 3 seed. The Falcons defeated the Yellowjackets twice during the regular season.
Alisha Breen posted her 16th double-double of the year with a game-high 24 points and 10 rebounds. The GNAC Tournament MVP and league Player of the Year has scored 20 or more points in the last 10 games.
Rylee Kane added 15 points and Hannah Collins a career-high 13. Collins, a freshman from Great Falls, made four free throws in the final 38 seconds of the game to help MSUB keep its lead.
There were three ties and six lead changes.
Rachel Koehler’s layup pulled the Yellowjackets event, 59-59, and a layup by Breen gave MSUB the lead for good, 61-59, with 3:01 remaining. The go-ahead basket came off an assist by Koehler.
The Falcons missed three layups and two 3-point attempts in the final four minutes.
Riley Evans led SPU with 18 points, while teammate Courtney Hollander had 12 points and nine rebounds. The Falcons will also find out Sunday if they receive an at-large berth in the West Regional.