Anderson shoots for the stars

Men’s and women’s basketball set to tip off seasons again

Isabella Tranello, Sports Editor

At their first game of the 2021-2022 season, junior forward Shaw Anderson sets up for a free throw. (Rio Giancarlo)

In the winter season of 2020, Seattle Pacific University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams had a limited season and were not allowed to travel out of state. The men’s team only played 13  games total, and the women played 14 games.

In the 2021 season, everything has changed and both teams will play their full schedule. They will have the opportunity to play against teams outside of the GNAC. 

Before the season started, three athletes from the men’s team were named as members of the Preseason All-Great Northwest Athletic Conference men’s basketball team on Thursday, Oct. 21. These players included junior forward Shaw Anderson, graduate student forward Harry Cavell and senior guard Divant’e Moffitt. Moffitt was also named GNAC Preseason Player of the Year. The Falcons were also ranked No.1 in the GNAC preseason standings. 

On Saturday, Oct. 30, the men’s basketball team played their first game against Lincoln University from Oakland, California. The Falcons entered the game ranked nationally No. 21 in NCAA Division II. 

They came out on top 76-65, but because it was an exhibition game, it will not affect either team’s conference records. 

During the first half of the game, the Falcons scored 37 points, 10 of which were scored by Anderson, the top scorer. He scored two three-pointers, two free throws and one layup. The other scoring leaders for the first half were Cavell with six points and Moffitt with seven. 

Senior guard Divant’e Moffitt dribbles to the three point line against Lincoln University. (Rio Giancarlo)

The Falcons began the second half with a lead of 37-31. They kept the momentum going into the second half as they scored an additional 39 points. 

Anderson continued to dominate the court, scoring 14 more points for his team, which brought his game total to an astounding 24 points. He was nine for 19 from the floor. 

No other Falcon was able to come close to Anderson’s scoring record for the game, except Moffitt, who scored 14 total points. 

The team’s roster is full of all returning players from last year’s shortened season. Three of the players are graduate students at SPU who have decided to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted to them after the previous season. These students include guard Sharif Khan, Cavell and forward Mehdi El Mardi. 

Despite the team being very experienced and well-rounded, Head Coach Grant Leep wants to make sure that the team is always evolving and improving. 

We need each player to show up and play to his best within the systems we have in place on offense and defense. We are working very hard in practice and doing everything we can as coaches to challenge this group,” Leep said. “We are an old team with a lot of veteran guys who have been through pretty much every situation imaginable.  Part of our jobs as coaches is to continue to push them and help them become better players and a better team.”

The team’s next game will be on Saturday, Nov. 6 as they compete in the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic against Alabama-Huntsville University. They will also play a game on Sunday, Nov. 7 against Northwest Missouri State University. 

The women’s basketball team has not had their first game yet but is gearing up to begin the action on Saturday, Nov. 6 at Royal Brougham Pavilion. The Falcons will take on Multnomah University to begin the winter season. 

On Oct. 19, senior Ashley Alter was named to the Preseason All-GNAC women’s basketball team after she led the team last year in scoring with an average of 13.3 points scored each game. Alter also had a total of 25 steals last year. She will be a pivotal member of the women’s basketball team going into the 2021-2022 winter season. 

This year’s 2021-2022 roster has 14 returners and four freshman athletes who make up the women’s basketball team. This team will go into their season ranked No. 8 in the GNAC polls and hope to make their way up the rankings throughout the season. During the 2020-2021 winter season, the team held a record of 7-7. 

Though the Falcons return many of their players from the 2019-2020 season, other teams in the conference share the same advantage. The University of Alaska Anchorage, Western Washington University and Northwest Nazarene University are the three teams on top of the list, as they were two years ago. Simon Fraser, Central Washington, Saint Martin’s and Montana State Billings all remain ahead of the Falcons in the projected standings.