Women, men play at home this weekend

Western Today staff

With a combined record of 18-0 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Western Washington University women (15-2) and men (18-0) play two doubleheaders this weekend in Carver Gymnasium on the Western campus.

Riding a nine-game winning streak and returning home where it is unbeaten this season, the women's basketball team plays host to University of Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, Jan. 31, and defending league and West Region champion University of Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, Feb. 2, in a pair of GNAC women's basketball contests. Tipoff is 5:15 p.m. for both games.

And working on a school-record 24-game winning streak, the men's team hosts Montana State University Billings on Thursday and Seattle Pacific University on Saturday in a pair of GNAC contests. Tipoff is 7:30 p.m. for those games.

The games can be heard live on KBAI Radio (AM 930 - Bellingham, www.930kbai.com) with Doug Lange providing the play-by-play and Mark Scholten handling the color commentary. A webcast and live stats are available at www.wwuvikings.com.

The Viking women are ranked No.5 in the latest USA Today Sports/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, are 15-2 overall and lead the GNAC standings by two games over second-place Simon Fraser with a 9-0 record. They are working on a nine-game winning streak that began in mid-December.

They picked up two tough road wins last week, 79-73 at Central Washington, snapping a three-game Wildcat winning streak, and 70-66 at Northwest Nazarene. That ended a nine-game victory string for the Crusaders, who knocked off No.7 Simon Fraser, 60-59, two days earlier and suffered their first home loss in eight games this season.

The Vikings, 9-0 at Carver Gym this season, are working on a 13-game home winning streak over the last two years.

The men's team, the defending national champions, is ranked No.2 in this week's National Association of Basketball Coaches/NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll. They are 18-0 overall, three games shy of the school's best start without a loss which was 21-0 in 1971-72, and they are first in the GNAC standings at 9-0, one game ahead of second-place and No.4-nationally ranked Seattle Pacific.

WWU, which is looking for its first ever No.1 national ranking, broke the school record for consecutive wins that had stood since 1972 with home victories last week over Alaska Anchorage, 75-62, and Alaska Fairbanks, 79-66. The victory string, the longest in the 12-year history of the conference, began with six wins in their national title run last season.

The men, who like the women are 9-0 at home this season, are working on a 19-game winning streak at Carver Gym. That is one short of the school-record set from 1970 to 1972. WWU's 9-0 first half conference start is just the second in GNAC history and only the fourth for either half. The Vikings were undefeated during the second half of league play in 2001-02.

Fourteen of WWU's wins this season have been by 10 or more points, the other margins being six, four, three and one.

For more information, visit the WWU Athletics website.