Nanooks triumphant against Montana State

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Senior forwards Jordan Wilson and Kailee Skjold combined for 41 points to lead the Alaska Nanooks Women’s basketball team to victory against the Montana State Billings, 66-42 at the Alaska Airlines Court on Saturday evening.

With the win, the Nanooks go over .500 increasing their record to 10-9 overall and 6-6 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the Billings season woes continue as their overall record falls to 6-14 and 3-9 in the GNAC.

Rebounding and tough defense proved to be the key to the Nanooks success as they pulled down a team-high forty-five rebounds and forced MSBU to commit 14 turnovers, half of those in the first half.

“That was our goal coming in,” Head Coach Cody Bench said following the win. “We wanted to make sure we got stops and the rebound, making them take tough shots and we were just pulling the rebounds down quick.”

The Nooks had several players score in double digits, led by Wilson who came into the game ranked second in division 2 women’s basketball in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game. She kept up her performance against Billings, scoring 21 points while also bringing down eight rebounds. Kailee Skjold nearly posted a double-double with 20 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Jailee Mays chipped in with 15 points and three steals, and fellow senior guard Victoria Milton dished out seven assists.

Forward Marissa Van Atta, a Montana junior, led her team in scoring with 10 points, as she was the only one to post in double figures in that category. Junior guard Rylee was the second leading scorer for the Billings with nine points and junior forward Grace Weeks added eight points to her team’s total.

Alaska is entering February tied for fifth place in the GNAC and on the brink of reaching the tournament. An appearance in the Conference tournament would be a first for the coaching staff, as well as the players. With 8 games left to go before GNAC tournament play, Skjold says the team is poised for the road that lies ahead.

“I think it’s something we talk about casually now,” Skjold said calmly. “We have a team full of girls who really want it—it’s not just hypothetical, this is here and it’s now, and we’re going to do it.”

The Alaska Women’s basketball team will continue their stride towards the conference tournament, hosting the Western Oregon Wolves on Thursday, Feb. 2 before another home bout against the Concordia Cavaliers on Saturday, Feb. 4.

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