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MSU Billings lands GNAC softball, basketball POTW honors

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Posted at 9:23 AM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 11:23:45-05

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

PORTLAND, Ore. – For the first time since March 2015, the Montana State University Billings softball team swept the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Softball Players of the Week awards, as senior first baseman Brittanee Fisher and junior pitcher Alyssa Etheridge earned the conference’s weekly awards.

“Sweeping the weekly honors is no small feat, and it’s exciting to see our players have early successes,” MSUB softball head coach Lisa McKinney said. “We are about to head into some games against conference opponents, so it’s important to continue that upward climb of success at this point in the year.”

Both Fisher and Etheridge had big outings across the Yellowjackets’ four games in Minot State’s Bubble Invite II last weekend. Fisher raised her batting average to .421 on the season, went 7-for-11 at the plate seven hits, three home runs, five RBIs, six runs scored and one drawn walk. The Billings Senior alumna homered in three of the four games; after last weekend, Fisher’s career home run total of 35 is tied for second in MSUB program history with Kelly Parsons.

“Brittanee has started seeing the ball better and making better contact at the Desert Stinger,” McKinney said. “It was great to see her carry that momentum into this past weekend playing in the dome. She has looked calmer and more confident at the plate.”

In the second game of the Bubble Invite against the host team Minot State on Saturday, Etheridge pitched a complete-game shutout, striking out seven batters – one off her career-high – and allowed only three hits and two walks. The junior from Grants Pass, Oregon got out of several jams and, with the help of the rest of the Yellowjacket defense, shut down the Beavers’ aggressive baserunning and small-ball approach.

“Alyssa has thrown some great games in her last few appearances, and it’s nice to see her continue to build off each start,” McKinney said. She stuck to our plan throughout the game against Minot State, and it worked well. Her energy and confidence on the mound is contagious for our team.”

This week’s award is the first for Fisher and the second for Etheridge. During her freshman year, Etheridge was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week for throwing the first no-hitter in MSUB history against Saint Martin’s on March 8, 2019. The last time MSUB swept the GNAC Player of the Week awards was on March 2, 2015, when Emily Osborn and Jessyka MacDonald swept the weekly awards after their outings at the College of Idaho/Northwest Nazarene University Classic.

Etheridge, Fisher and the Yellowjacket softball team will travel to Western Oregon for a four-game series starting this Saturday, Feb. 26 at 11 a.m.

Meantime, for the first time this season, a Montana State University Billings men’s basketball player won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week award, as junior guard Carrington Wiggins earned it.

“Carrington is very deserving of this award,” MSUB head coach Mick Durham said. “He’s put together a very solid and consistent GNAC season.”

One of the GNAC’s craftiest scorers who ranks fifth in the conference at 17.9 points per game, Wiggins had three more double-digit scoring outings last week against Western Washington and Simon Fraser. Across all three games, Wiggins combined for 76 points on 27-for-36 shooting and played in 115 minutes of action.

Wiggins started off the week by leading all scorers with 28 points in MSUB’s 91-64 road win over Western Washington on Feb. 14. In the win, Wiggins basically couldn’t miss. He finished 11-for-12 from the field – which included 4-for-5 from three-point range – and his 91.7% shooting night was the third-most accurate shooting night with at least 10 field goal attempts in MSUB program history. The Flint, Mich. native made his first seven field goals of the night, had 18 first-half points and finished with a statline of 28 points, four rebounds and three assists.

In the rematch against the Vikings three days later, Wiggins once again led all scorers with 31 points on 10-for-16 shooting – including four late points at the end of regulation to force overtime, then five-straight points to open overtime. His final statline against Western Washington was 31 points on 10-for-16 shooting, five rebounds, two assists and two steals while playing in 43 of 45 minutes.

Against Simon Fraser, Wiggins finished 6-for-8 from the field – including a perfect 3-for-3 from the field – and was MSUB’s second-leading scorer behind Damen Thacker with 17 points. Wiggins also chipped in two rebounds, three assists and two steals. His steal and breakaway dunk midway through the second half was one of the highlights of the Yellowjackets’ comeback attempt.

As it stands, Wiggins is MSUB’s leading scorer and ranks 15th in the conference at 50.9% field goal shooting. He has started in every game this season and has scored in double-figures in 22 of 25 games.

The GNAC Player of the Week award is the first of Wiggins’ career and the first time a MSUB men’s basketball player won the weekly award since Tyler Green won the award on Jan. 20, 2020.

Wiggins and the Yellowjackets (12-13, 8-7 GNAC) will play at Central Washington this Thursday at 7:30 p.m. local time. Livestream and live stat links can be found on the men’s basketball schedule page at msubsports.com.