Sports Writer, Patrick Burns
Two members of the Saint’s Women’s Basketball team were honored with conference awards that showed just how strong they both were during the season. Freshman, from Saniah Simpson-Patu, Las Vegas, won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference award for Freshman of the Year, while Senior, Elin Johansson was added to the All- Conference team as an honorable mention selection. The two both had great years and the GNAC recognized both of them.
Johansson was the Saints star player for the last two seasons and her role didn’t change in her senior year. Since coming on as a Saint back in 2014 from Sweden, Johansson has been a strong face of the Women’s basketball team.
Last season, Johansson averaged 13.2 points while adding 6.1 rebounds per game. Those stats to were good enough to lead the team in both categories and earn her second team All- Conference honors. However, Johansson’s senior year was cut short by a season-ending injury during a home game against Alaska. She had scored the first basket of the game for the Saints, but that would be the last basket she would make in her career. At that point in the season she had averaged 14.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. This included 3 double-doubles over that span. These stats were strong enough for her to earn the Honorable Mention award for the conference.
Simpson-Patu was standout for the Saints during her first year. She comes from Las Vegas, but completed her last year of high school at Rainier Beach near Seattle. In her first 11 games with SMU, she scored double digit points in 10 of those games. Over the span of games she averaged over 7 rebounds a game with a double-double vs Seattle Pacific with 21 points and 14 rebounds. Simpson-Patu’s highlight of the season came when she scored 33 points with 8 rebounds at Central Washington, more than half of the Saints total points for the game.
Johansson will be graduating and leaving the Saints in May. However, Simpson-Patu will be there to take the place Johansson left behind as the team’s leader in multiple categories. The Saints will look to her next Fall reach the GNAC championships for the first time since the 2014-2015 season. With only three Seniors leaving the Saints, Simpson-Patu should be surrounded by a strong cast of teammates looking to take the GNAC by storm.
Simpson-Patu will look to build on her amazing start as a Saint during her next season. With one year and the Freshman of the Year award under her belt she will help bring the Saints to the GNAC Tournaments.