Two Vikings named first-team GNAC all-stars


Two members of the Western Washington University men's basketball team, center Austin Bragg and guard Richard Woodworth, were first-team selections on the Great Northwest Athletic Conference All-Star Team announced Monday by the conference office.

The 6-foot-9 Bragg ranks among the top four in the GNAC in five categories. He leads in rebounds at 9.0 per game, while being second in both blocks at 1.8 and offensive rebounds at 3.2, and fourth in both field-goal percentage at 60.2 (165-of-274) and scoring at 17.5.

On Feb. 1 in a 99-76 home victory over Alaska Anchorage, Bragg had the second triple-double in school history and only the third in GNAC history, finishing with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He tops the GNAC in double-doubles this season with 11 after leading the conference last year with eight.

Bragg has earned conference Player of the Week honors twice this season and three times during his two-year career at WWU after transferring from Clark CC.

Bragg has scored double-figure points in 25 games this season. In WWU's win over Central Washington on Feb. 22, he scored a career-high 32 points. On Jan. 11, Bragg had 30 points and a career-high 17 rebounds against Simon Fraser.

Woodworth is averaging 17.5 points per game and is shooting team-bests of 41.3 percent (38-of-92) from 3-point range and 82.7 percent (124-of-150) at the free throw line. He scored a career-high 33 points at Simon Fraser on Feb. 8.

Over the last eight games, Woodworth has averaged 20.4 points and 5.0 assists, shooting 45.0 percent (18-of-40) from 3-point range and 82.8 percent (48-of-58) at the free throw line.

The 6-foot-3 Woodworth became the 24th Viking to reach 1,000 career points while scoring 24 against Alaska Anchorage on Jan. 2. His current point total of 1,250 ranks 16th and he is 13th in assists at 338.

Woodworth hit a buzzer beater from beyond half court in a dramatic 94-91 win over arch-rival Central Washington on Feb. 22, the video of that shot receiving over 31,000 hits on YouTube. He scored the Vikings' last 13 points, nine in the final 20 seconds, as they rallied from a six-point deficit with 1:05 to go.

Seattle Pacific guard David Downs was named GNAC Player of the Year and the Falcons' Ryan Looney received Coach of the Year accolades. Alaska Fairbanks forward Andrew Kelly was Defensive Player of the Year, Montana State Billings guard-forward Jonathan Mesghna was Newcomer of the Year and Northwest Nazarene guard Michael Loomis was Freshman of the Year.

Named to the GNAC first team, besides Bragg and Woodworth, were Downs, guard Mark McLaughlin from Central Washington, center Patrick Simon from Seattle Pacific, and guard Travis Thompson from Alaska Anchorage. Downs, who was the only unanimous pick, was picked for the third straight year and McLaughlin was another repeater.

This Thursday at 5:15 p.m., WWU plays the winner of Wednesday's Alaska Fairbanks/Montana State Billings contest in a GNAC tourney semifinal at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of host Saint Martin's University in Lacey. The semifinal winners advance to Saturday's championship contest, which also tips off at 5:15 p.m.

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