Woodin named GNAC Women's Coach of the Year - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Woodin named GNAC Women's Coach of the Year

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MSU-Billings coach Kevin Woodin was named GNAC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year Monday afternoon, while junior Alisha Breen was named first team all-conference, and seniors Janiel Olson and Monica Grimsrud earned honorable mention accolades.

“I was very pleased to hear that Alisha, Janiel, and Monica earned GNAC all-conference honors,” Woodin said. “They have all been tremendous leaders and players for our team this year. They positively represent what we are looking for in a student-athlete at MSU Billings. Alisha has been a great all-around player on our team. She has really improved her game and I believe is one of the top athletes in our region and I am happy she is being recognized with this honor. Janiel has worked extremely hard this season. After tearing her ACL and sitting out last year, she has come back and been an incredible asset to our team. Her work-ethic and dedication to the program is remarkable. Monica has had an outstanding senior season as a Yellowjacket. Her focus on basketball has helped her gain a lot of skill and her commitment this year as a leader has been great to see.”

“Congratulations to Coach Woodin for this incredible and well-deserved honor,” MSUB director of intercollegiate athletics Krista Montague said. “His team’s success on and off the field this season certainly proved to his peers he is deserving of this award.” 

Breen, a 5-foot-10 forward from Choteau, was unanimously voted as a first team all-conference selection. Breen is averaging 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. She is shooting 43.5 percent from the field, 38.9 percent from the 3-point arc, and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line.

Breen scored a career-high 37 points in the first game of the year at home against Academy of Art (Nov. 13, 2015). She collected a career-high 17 rebounds in the game at Alaska on Jan. 2, 2016.

The junior surpassed 1,000 career points this season, and has scored 1,115 which ties her with No. 20 all-time at MSUB Michelle Lieber (2005-07). Of those points, 328 of them are at the free-throw line, which makes Breen third all-time in free-throws for the Yellowjackets. Breen has also collected 510 career rebounds which lists her at No. 19 all-time at MSUB.

Last season, Breen was named to the GNAC honorable mention team. She was also just named for the second consecutive season as a GNAC all-academic team selection with a 3.71 cumulative grade point average in health and human performance.

Olson, a 5-foot-10 forward from Billings, was selected to a GNAC all-conference team for a third time. The Billings West graduate earned first team recognition in the 2013-14 season and was an honorable mention selection in 2012-13. After tearing her ACL and sitting out a season, Olson has returned to the court and climbed her way back to second in the GNAC in rebounding with 8.3 per game. She is also averaging 7.3 points and 1.5 assists this season.

Last Saturday, Olson became the all-time leading rebounder in the MSUB women’s program, exceeding the previous record held by Robyn Milne (957, 2002-05). Olson has collected 961 in her career and has the potential to add to her total as the Yellowjackets head into the postseason tournament this week.

Olson recorded a career-high 18 rebounds this season in a home game against Saint Martin’s on Jan. 7, 2016. That total is a conference season-high this year and places her on the all-time GNAC per game list. Olson has ascended to No. 4 on the GNAC all-time rebounding list, pulling ahead of Western Oregon’s Heather Laats (952, 1998-02) last week.

The graduate student in health care administration carries a 3.72 grade point average and this season was named to the GNAC all-academic team for the third time in her career.

After earning accolades in being named to the GNAC all-academic team this season for the first time with a 3.70 cumulative grade point average in elementary education, Grimsrud has added to her honors with an all-conference honorable mention nod.

The 6-foot-1 senior from Montana City, Mont., is a five-year member of the MSUB women’s basketball team, redshirting the 2013-14 season. The dual student-athlete for the Yellowjackets has made the most of being able to focus on basketball this season and has had the best numbers of her career.

In the past five of six games, Grimsrud has scored double-digit points and is contributing an average 10.3 per game for MSUB. She is also averaging 2.2 assists, and is fifth in the GNAC in 3-pointers made per game with 1.9.

This season, Grimsrud scored a career-high 20 points on Senior Night at MSUB against Concordia (Ore.). She made a career-high four 3-pointers twice this season and has rarely gone the season without a steal. At 110 career steals, Grimsrud needs three more to tie the No. 10 all-time at MSUB Colleen Day (1988-90) at 113.

Grimsrud has amassed a career total of 628 points and 392 rebounds.  This season, she has already made more 3-pointers (54) than the last three seasons combined (42) for a total of 96.

After leading the MSU Billings team to a third-place finish in the conference standings after being voted in the preseason coaches’ poll to finish in a tie for seventh, Coach Woodin was named the 2015-16 GNAC Coach of the Year. The Yellowjackets are 19-9 overall this season and 15-5 in the GNAC.

This is Coach Woodin’s fourth Coach of the Year Honor in his twelve seasons at the helm of the Yellowjacket program. During the 2004-05 season, he was named the NCAA Division II Independent Coach of the Year, he was the 2006-07 Heartland Coach of the Year, and Woodin was named the GNAC Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year for the 2013-14 season.

Coach Woodin’s teams have excelled academically during his tenure. Under his leadership, the MSUB women’s basketball program has earned seven WBCA (Women’s Basketball Coaches Association) academic top-25 awards and through his twelve seasons, 100.00 percent of his seniors have graduated.

“Above the academic and athletic successes of his team, his leadership has prepared a community of young women to be leaders of the future and we would like to thank him for his tireless efforts,” Montague said. “We are very proud of all Coach Woodin and our women’s basketball team has achieved this year, and wish them the best of luck at the GNAC Championships this week.”

This week, MSU Billings heads to the GNAC postseason tournament taking place Mar. 3-5 in Lacey, Wash., hosted by Saint Martin’s University. The Yellowjackets enter as the No. 3 seed and will face. No. 6 Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, Mar. 3 at 6:15 p.m. Mountain time. All games at the GNAC Basketball Championships will be streamed live at GNAC.tv.

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