Author: Taylor Hall

May 30, 2012 Taylor Hall

Three Elite Eight appearances. Three West Region Championships. Six consecutive trips past the NCAA Tournament First Round. Four Great Alaska Shootout titles. An .838 winning percentage, which is best amongst all active Division II women’s basketball coaches.

All of that was accomplished in Tim Moser’s six-year tenure at the helm of the UAA Women’s Basketball program.  So it should come as no shock that a bigger program came knocking on Moser’s door looking to give him a chance at the next level up. Sure enough, that opportunity came when Moser accepted an assistant coaching gig with Division I Colorado State: CSU’s gain, UAA’s loss.

But I’m here to tell you that not all is lost and the sky is still not falling.

In no way, shape or form am I denying that I have asked the very question that has crossed just about every UAA women fan’s mind: How can we replace a Tim Moser?

The answer, sad to say: you don’t. But who says you have to?

One of the beautiful things about Moser’s tenure here at UAA is that he helped put the Seawolf Women’s program back on the map and when word got out that the team needs a new coach, the school was bound to get to some serious looks from other highly qualified coaches looking to leave their mark.

Sure enough, the Seawolves and UAA Athletic Director Steve Cobb found a coach who not only has solid credentials but has already proven he can carry on success in a program.

In 2004, Nathan Altenhofen became the head coach at Odessa College. He helped the school reach the National Championship game in 2005, and in 2006, they returned and won it all. Over those two seasons, he went 66-3.

Before he got to Odessa, the Wranglers were conference titlists.

Witness his start-up at NAIA school Saint Ambrose in 2007: Altenhofen helped steer the program to the Sweet 16 and a 29-6 record. In three years, Altenhofen received a Midwest Collegiate Conference Coach of the year award and went 73-25

Before his arrival at Saint Ambrose; they, too, were conference titlists.

Is anyone seeing the trend yet?

Perhaps even more astounding that Altenhofen’s overall record of 153-40 as a head coach is the fact that he’s 19-4 in the postseason as a coach. Those are jaw-dropping numbers for the second season and show that this guy knows how to get it done when it matters most: in the month of March when titles and banners are at stake.

So while we recognize and congratulate the departing Moser, who will surely go down in the books as one of the best coaches in any sport this school has seen, we turn the page and open a new chapter in the program’s history.

And if Altenhofen and his reputation for wining carries over to UAA, expect that chapter to be another filled with similar success — just with a different author.

 


April 24, 2012 Taylor Hall

TNL’s sports editor, Taylor Hall, gets the lowdown on one of UAA’s stars on the ice, hockey player Chris Crowell, who will be playing his final year of hockey next year.
TNL: First off, congrats on becoming captain. Where and how did you get the news that you being named captain and what was your reaction?

April 3, 2012 Taylor Hall

UAA senior Taylor Rohde has been no stranger to personal accolades since he arrived on campus last year. The 6’9” center has literally towered over all others, collecting awards left and right at both a league and West Region level.

March 28, 2012 Taylor Hall

While they’re Tebowing in New York now, Denver just turned into a legitimate contender.

Witness the arrival of Peyton Manning, four-time MVP and the biggest name to ever hit the NFL free agency waters once the Indianapolis Colts jettisoned Manning onto the market on March 7, in Bronco orange and navy.

The reason the Colts gave up the face of their franchise? They figured they would try their “luck” in the draft in a few short months and rebuild through there.

After just over a week of hosting possible candidates for his new team, Manning decided to go with the Broncos and immediately turns a team that won the AFC West last season into legitimate AFC Championship contenders.

Yes, I am well aware that the Broncos don’t have exactly a seasoned core of wide receivers, a mediocre running game and play half their season in the thin, cold mile-high air in Denver.

Simply put: it is all irrelevant because Manning just rode over the hill gleaming in sunlight to take over.

Name me a Colts receiver who was not instantly better when the 11-time Pro Bowler started throwing the ball to him. Name me a better quarterback at picking apart defenses and keeping the opposition honest and open to run because of him. As for the weather, Peyton wins everywhere he plays, in all conditions.

Of course, the start of one era meant another had to close. Yes, Tim Tebow is gone and let me be the first to congratulate you, John Elway and Denver Broncos, for finally getting what you wanted all along: a team not led by Tebow.

Nothing against Tebow, the man. He is a shining example of sportsmanship, great teammate and a fierce competitor. But as for Tebow, the quarterback: not so much.

Entertaining as his comebacks were last season, “Tebow Time” covered up the simple fact that Tebow was ultimately ineffective as a passer. His running ability may have shielded the fact that he had the worst passing completion percentage (46.5) and passing yards per game (123.5) amongst NFL starting quarterbacks.

Manning for Tebow? I’m sorry, there’s no argument that even the biggest Tebow admirers will make that will justify keeping Timmy over Peyton that wouldn’t be laughed and shrugged off.

So where does Tebowmania go now? My friends, there is no place like Broadway and the biggest media market for Tebow to take center stage.

Tebow was traded from Denver to the New York Jets and now will take a starring role in what is already the biggest soap opera in the whole league. Going from the Orange Crush to Gang Green also sparks a quarterback controversy no matter what the Jets say to quiet the rumors.

Mark Sanchez, the current starter for the Jets and recent recipient of a big and questionable contract extension, will have no leash when it comes to having bad games this upcoming season. The minute a loss is put upon his shoulder pads or the inevitable interceptions start flowing for Sanchez like the nearby Hudson River, the calls for Tebow will grow louder and louder.

Talk about a confidence booster for a quarterback who many critics said was playing scared last season when the Jets missed out on the Playoffs. He now has a saint as his backup and Sanchez will hear about it non-stop from here on out.

So, all in all, what should we take out of this carousel?

The Broncos not only made a huge upgrade at the quarterback carousel, but also will start to attract more and more players possibly. The arrival of Manning also comes at a time that Denver has cap space to bring in some more weapons. Mike Wallace, anyone?

Denver also says goodbye to the Tebow circus and watched it become the new attraction in New York.

The Jets, on the other hand, just opened their doors to more head scratching and jeers from the haters. But after all, has there been a more hated team in the AFC other than Rex “lets go eat a snack” Ryan and his three-time guaranteed-to-win-a-Super-Bowl Jets?

Act accordingly, I suppose.

March 27, 2012 Taylor Hall

The UAA Women’s Basketball team was stopped just short of it’s ultimate goal as they fell 71-51 at the hands of the 2nd ranked Ashland Eagles in the NCAA Division II tournament in San Antonio on March 20.

Despite being down by 32-23 at the halftime break, the Seawolves rallied in the second half of the game to get back within three points before Ashland (32-1) went on a 19-2 run midway through the frame to extinguish the Seawolves national title hopes.

March 6, 2012 Taylor Hall

The UAA Men’s Basketball team suffered a 74-70 loss to Montana State Billings on March 3 in the GNAC Championship game to fall one win short of the conference title for the second straight year.

March 6, 2012 Taylor Hall

Trending Up! 1.     Nashville Predators – The perennial sellers finally made a stand and became buyers adding shutdown defenseman Hal Gill and veteran forward Paul Gaustad. Also held on to both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter (for now) to allow team to make deep postseason run. 2.     Vancouver Canucks – The bridesmaid from last year…

March 6, 2012 Taylor Hall

The UAA Hockey team played in two different types of games this past weekend against the Bemidji State Beavers. One was a low-scoring affair where scoring chances were at a premium. The other, a wide-open and high-scoring contest in which both teams had chances aplenty.

March 6, 2012 Taylor Hall

The UAA Women’s Basketball team proved once again they are the class of the GNAC and have some more hardware to further prove it. The Seawolves claimed a 67-52 GNAC Championship win over rival and second seeded Western Washington in Lacey, Washington on March 3 to officially punch their ticket to the West Region postseason.

The top seeded Seawolves (27-4) got a team-high 19 points from junior guard Haley Holmstead.

February 21, 2012 Taylor Hall

TNL Sports Editor, Taylor Hall, does a Q&A with UAA Gymnast, Melissa Doucette.
How did you get started in gymnastics?
It was in a “Mommy and Me” class. I saw others doing it and decided I wanted to join in on it.

February 14, 2012 Taylor Hall

 

The UAA Ski Team was able to claim a fourth place team finish at the UAA Invitational, taking place at both Kincaid Park (Nordic) and Alyeska Resort (Alpine) from Feb. 4-10.

The University of Utah was able claim the team title convincingly with 898 points, a good bulk of which came from the men and women’s Nordic events in which they placed first in three of the four events held.

Behind them in second was Colorado University (831 points), University of Denver in third (775), the Seawolves (718) and Montana State University (688) rounding out the top five teams.

In the Men’s Nordic events, MSU’s David Norris finished first in the 5K Classical and second in the 10K Freestyle, earning the Bobcats 97 points from his efforts alone. UAA sophomore Lukas Ebner led the way for the Seawolves with his eighth place and fifteenth place finishes in the Classical and Freestyle, respectively.

On the Women’s side, Utah’s Maria Graefnings and CU’s Eliska Hajkova both earned 97 points for their respective teams with first and second place finishes. Graefnings won the 10K Freestyle while Hajkova claimed the 5K Classical. UAA senior Jaime Bronga highlighted a strong team showing by the Seawolf Women. She finished fourth in both the Classical and Freestyle to earn the Seawolves 82 points on her own.

On the mountain, the Men’s Alpine saw DU’s Espen Lysdahl take first in the Slalom and second in the Giant Slalom to gain 97 points for his pair of impressive showings. UAA junior Andreas Adde finished in sixth place in the Giant Slalom and in eleventh place in the Slalom to lead the UAA Men.

Utah’s Tii-Maria Romar claimed victory in the Women’s Slalom as well as a third place finish in the Giant Slalom to highlight the women’s competition. The UAA Women saw freshman Anais Urbain claim 41 points with her fourth place finish in the Giant Slalom while senior Alex Parker claimed eighth place in the Slalom to help pace the Seawolves.

Action kicked off with all of the same teams competing in the Seawolf Invitational that took place Feb. 9-11.

Utah was again the victors after they claimed a team score of 858 points to edge out Denver (806), who made a charge on the last day of the meet with a combined 240 points from the Men and Women’s Slalom events.

Colorado (775) wound up in third place just ahead of New Mexico (769). UAA would take the fifth spot to wrap up their second host meet.

­­­CU’s Rune Oedegaard and Norris battled for supremacy in the Men’s Nordic events. Norris claimed his third win of the week after he edged Oedegaard in the 10K Freestyle. Odeegaard exacted revenge when he claimed victory over Norris in the 20K Classical race. Both racers earned their teams 97 points apiece with their respective 1-2 finishes.

Once again, Ebner would lead the UAA contingent with his pair of ninth place finishes in both the Classical and Freestyle events.

Hajkova and Bronga went head to head in both the Women’s 5K Freestyle and 15K Classical races. Hajkova would claim first in both events and earn Colorado a max 100 points. Bronga continued her impressive senior year with a second and third place effort in the Classical and Freestyle events, respectively. She earned 91 points for UAA and finished in the top-5 of all of her events over the week.

At Alyeska, DU’s Trevor Philp took home the gold in the Men’s Slalom with a time of 1:24.49. Lysdahl would take second to help the Pioneers to a 1-2 sweep in the event. The Seawolves would be led by Harmanen who finished in tenth place with a time of 1:26.81. The Men’s Giant Slalom races would be cancelled due to poor conditions.

On the Women’s side, Denver’s Sterling Grant would take home the win in the Slalom while Utah’s Jaime DuPratt claimed the Giant Slalom victory, both earning 50 points for their teams. Urbain finished her impressive week for the Seawolves by claiming second place in the Giant Slalom, only .44 seconds behind DuPratt. In the Slalom, UAA junior Kayla Hoog-Fry was the top Seawolf with her twenty-first place finish.

February 14, 2012 Taylor Hall

“It’s only a game.”

These are words that can trigger many emotions: disgust, anger and objection to name a few.

However, one that should come to mind that is far simpler and requires far less effort.

Realization.

The world of sports is filled with different levels of fandom, some of which we can’t comprehend. But never should a sports story become worldwide front-page news.

On Feb. 1, 74 people were killed after a soccer match in the Egyptian capitol of Cairo. The two rival teams, al-Ahly and al-Masry, and their supporters have had a long-standing rivalry. After their home side took a 3-1 win over the visitors, al-Masry fans stormed the field and chased players and supporters of the al-Ahly team and cornered them in at one end of the stadium and began throwing rocks and bottles at them.

People were trampled to death, beaten brutally, or stabbed while an outnumbered contingent of police and military personnel stood by doing little to nothing to deescalate the situation.

Now while I acknowledge this horrific scene comes from a country that has been in political and social unrest for quite some time, this was not just simply another clash of soccer hooligans. And while I understand the in’s and out’s of heated rivalries, this was not just a random event of temporary loss of control between two sides.

This was an open war on a field in which a win or loss and points in the standings was supposed to be the only thing waged, not life and death.

Back in the US, there have also been a few instances recently of fans crossing the lines due to sporting events.

Flash back just a few weeks ago to the NFC Championship game between the eventual Super Bowl victors, the New York Giants, and the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 22.

Anyone who saw or heard about this game undoubtedly heard about the pair of foul-ups that 49er return man Kyle Williams suffered that played a big factor in the 49ers failing to make it to their first Super Bowl in 17 years.

Hey, I know it and you know it, the guy blew it and that’s all there is to it. You know who else knows it? Kyle Williams himself.

Within hours of the 49ers loss, however, the second year player out of Arizona State received thousands of death threats, some coming via Twitter:

 

@KyleWilliams_10. You should jump off the golden gate bridge for that one

Jim Harbaugh, please give @KyleWilliams_10 the game ball. And make sure it explodes when he gets in his car

@KyleWilliams_10 I hope you, youre wife, kids and family die, you deserve it

 

These are just a sample of some of the things sent to Williams, all of which are an absolute disgrace and have no place within our society, much less the realm of sports.

Recount the March 31, 2011 incident in which a San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was attacked while leaving a game at Dodger Stadium.

The attack, which was unprovoked, came when Stow was beaten by a pair of Dodger fans and resulted in doctors placing the 42-year-old man into a medically induced coma due to severe skull and brain injuries.

Nearly a year later, Stow still is recovering and undergoing extreme therapy. While some things may return to normal for Stow and his entire family and followers, Stow still continues to have trouble with memory, mobility and basic functions such as eating. Costs of his ongoing medical treatment have surpassed 50 million dollars.

His life was forever changed, all because he was wearing the wrong jersey in parking lot of a rival team.

These three instances of violence surrounding sporting events should serve as serious reminders to all of us that there are far more important things in life than the sports we play or watch.

I know it’s cliché and I risk infuriating some, but these words may never have carried more meaning or made more sense given the recent trends of violence.

“It’s only a game.”

February 7, 2012 Taylor Hall

  What brought you here to UAA all the way back in 2008? My brother (Kevin) was here and he had been here for a year and was coming off the year UAA went to the Final Four. (Fellow Australian) Luke Cooper had also been here. I didn’t really look at any other schools. I…

February 7, 2012 Taylor Hall

The UAA Hockey team was finally able to get the monkey off their collective backs this weekend, ending their losing slump in absolute stunning fashion.

Using a three-point night from sophomore Matt Bailey and a 27 save effort from sophomore goalie Rob Gunderson, the Seawolves took down the nation’s top ranked team, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, by a score of 3-2.

January 24, 2012 Taylor Hall

Remember when All-Star games used to mean something? No? Me neither, sadly.

In the age of big endorsements and contracts, no All-Star game is a true contest of the best against the best, as more and more All-Star games become the “some-stars” games as some athletes opt out while those who compete really have no incentive to go all out.

One league tried to change that but they’re efforts take away from the meaning of the regular season.

In Major League Baseball (MLB), they have tried to increase the intensity of their game by awarding home-field advantage to the league that wins the mid-summer classic.

Now, that sounds good in theory, but what happens when an American League (AL) Wild Card team with 80-85 wins gets hot in the postseason and gets home field advantage over a 100-105 win Division Champion in the National League (NL)? Fans of that NL team would be up in arms and cry out that their team was by far and away a better regular season team and earned the right to enjoy the home-field advantage.

Why should the All-Star game, which may have had as few as one representative of the eventual World Series team from their league, decide the fate of the rest of their league’s teams? Lets face it, about 95 percent of the players in the All-Star game won’t play in the World Series, but they get to decide one of the most important factors of it.

Anyone else here thinking that doesn’t sound right?

Most people can probably agree that most of the other three All-Star games are flawed for their own various reasons, some of which are shared amongst the different league showcases.

How about the National Football League (NFL) and it’s ever popular Pro-Bowl. This game may be the biggest joke of all in the fact that all the players hope to make the roster, but half won’t even show for the game. Two reasons that cause this are simple.

The first is that because the Pro Bowl takes place the week before the Super Bowl, none of the players from the opposing Super Bowl teams is allowed to play in the game to avoid injury. The second reason is that more and more players opt out of the game for any and all reasons you can imagine. The main of which is that they just got done with a long regular season and that they are ready to just be done with the game for a while.

Who needs one more week of practice for a game that is an all out offensive showcase in which defensive stars turn into bystanders on the field? It may just be me but I don’t want to see personal favorites like Ed Reed or DeMarcus Ware turn into Charmin soft players who might as well be playing two-hand touch instead of annihilating opposing offensive players.

Turn the focus now to the National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) and their respective All-Star festivities. Both leagues capitalize on really gearing their whole All-Star weekends towards the fan and making it interactive.

The NHL lets fans vote the first six players into the game and then the league will add the 36 other representatives. From there, the All-Stars will pick two captains from the 42 total players and it turns into the good ol’ fashioned schoolyard style where the captains pick their teams. Very intriguing for fans to see the players themselves pick their teams for the game themselves.

The NBA and NHL both also have great skills competitions that are chalked full of highlight reel material. The NFL has one but you really never hear anything about it and the MLB only has the Home Run derby, which seems to lose more and more steam each year.

NBA and NHL All-Star games, themselves, put defense aside and are all out offensive slugfests. To a true fan, this can be amusing to and extent but is not at all close to anything real. No one truly plays the game with any true effort because they cannot afford to get hurt or they lose out on a) money from their contract possibly, and b) the chance to play for their teams.

Yes, those reasons were put in that order for a reason.

The simple truth is All-Star games can be fun and give us something to chat about with fellow fans at work or school the next day, but to real sports fans, they’re simply exhibition games keeping us from the games that truly matter.

Hate them or love them, but they just don’t make them like they used t0

January 24, 2012 Taylor Hall

UAA junior guard Haley Holmstead seems to have this whole scoring thing down pretty well.
A two-time Scenic West Athletic Conference Player of the Year at Salt Lake Community College, Holmstead was billed as one of the premier offensive threats in the national community college ranks.

January 24, 2012 Taylor Hall

After spending a large portion of the holiday season away from Anchorage, the red-hot UAA Women’s Basketball team finally has the chance to get off the road and enjoy the comforts of home for a change.

A rare four-game homestand in the middle of their league schedule offers the Seawolves both a chance to settle into the start of semester as well as put a bit of distance between themselves and other GNAC foes who are looking to catch UAA atop the conference standings.

December 6, 2011 Taylor Hall

The UAA Seawolves ran into a band saw this past weekend and it has left them reeling once again searching for answers.

North Dakota used a pair of three-goal wins over the Seawolves at the Sullivan Arena to continue their recent return to winning form. While their winning streak grew to four straight and propelled them into a tie for fourth place in the WCHA, the host Seawolves remain in a tie for eleventh place with Minnesota State at five points in 12 league games.

November 29, 2011 Taylor Hall

They came to the Shootout as the favorites and left Anchorage with the hardware to solidify that pretense.

It was the Miami Hurricanes running away with a 92-72 win over the South Florida Bulls to win the 2011 Women’s Great Alaska Shootout at the Sullivan Arena.

November 29, 2011 Taylor Hall

Give Isaiah Canaan the key to the city of Anchorage. He owns this town after his display in the 2011 Great Alaska Shootout Championship game that lifted the Murray State Racers to a thrilling 90-81 win in double overtime over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles.

Canaan would finish with a tournament-high 36 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 45 minutes of play. The junior guard shot 11 of 22 from the field, as well as 6 of 11 from beyond the arc. The Biloxi, Mississippi native also hit all of his eight attempts from the free throw line.

November 15, 2011 Taylor Hall

I walked into the Sullivan Arena on Nov. 22, 1995 for my first ever Great Alaska Shootout session. That night, I saw the sweet stroke of UConn’s sharpshooter Ray Allen.

The next night, I saw my beloved Duke Blue Devils begin their march towards the ’95 Shootout title with names like Jeff Capel, Ricky Price, Steve Wojciechowski (yes, I spelt that right) and the “Alaskan Assassin” himself, Trajan Langdon.

Though just six years of age, the experience left an impression on me and has had me coming back to the Shootout every year since.

Every Thanksgiving, Anchorage is transformed into a hoops heaven for us fans. We’ve seen countless instant classics, the shocking upsets and no shortage of big-time players who were blossoming into NBA stars.

So it is my distinct pleasure to give you my personal Top 10 Great Alaska Shootout moments, players, and games.

10: Preston Shumpert lights up 2000 Shootout

No, he was not the biggest or most memorable Shootout MVP. But man, this guy sure could shoot and put up scary numbers during the 2000 edition of the tournament. Shumpert shot a ridiculous 69 percent from three-point land to go with his  30.7 points per game average helping lead the Orangeman to claim the tournament gold pan.

 

9: UAA beats Notre Dame in Overtime at 1998 tournament

Perhaps in one of the best ever Shootouts, our beloved Seawolves shocked Notre Dame 88-82 to play their way into the 4th/6th place game the next night. I vividly remember the sound leaving the Sully when UAA missed a last second layup that would have won it in regulation. On the other hand, I also remember it being one of the loudest ovations when the underdog Seawolves wound up still taking down the Fighting Irish.

 

8: Fizer and Schraeder make their presence known early

In what had to be one of the best first round games ever, the Iowa State Cyclones narrowly defeated Saint Mary’s 74-72 in the 1998 Shootout.. While the game itself was fantastic, the battle between ISU’s Marcus Fizer and SMU’s Eric Schraeder was just as, if not more, intriguing as both put up 30 points.

 

7: Seawolf women pull off the three-peat

Time to show the ladies some love. Let by 16 points by the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player, Rebecca Kielpinski, the ‘Wolves withstood a late charge from the Orange to win their third title under Head Coach Tim Moser. Syracuse had two chances from the paint to take the lead in the final seconds but couldn’t get the ball to drop into the net.

 

6: Four is better than three, right?

No need to adjust your eyesight here. The Seawolves once again would win the Shootout by way of a one-point thriller. This time it would be Cincinnati becoming the latest victims of UAA and their amazing run of four straight Shootout titles. Nicci Miller scored a game-high to help lift the green and gold to a 49-48 upset of the Bearcats.

 

5: You may not know me, but my name is Dwayne Wade

Though he is now known as one of top players in the NBA, you would be hard-pressed to know of anyone who knew of D-Wade before he helped lead the Marquette Golden Eagles to the 2001 Shootout title over America’s Team, the Gonzaga Bulldogs. A year later, Wade helped lead Marquette to the Final Four before going onto an already phenomenal professional career.

 

4: Big things really can come in small packages

Electric is one of many adjectives that could be used to describe the Shootout performance from Washington’s Nate Robinson in 2004. This 5’9” guard stole the headlines every game with his lightning quick drives which often times ended up with a jaw dropping dunks. Teaming up with the fellow junior guard Brandon Roy, this Tourney Most Outstanding Player helped the Huskies to a 79-76 championship victory over Alabama.

 

3: Carter, Jamieson turn 1997 GAS into nightly highlight reel

With a dynamic duo consisting of Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison, the North Carolina Tar Heels left Anchorage with their third Shootout title in 1997. Bringing a whole new meaning to hangtime, Carter and Jamison left fans in awe with dunk after dunk. In three games, the Tar Heels defeated their opponents by a combined margin of 75 points.

 

2: Thompson rewrites record books

Washington State Cougar Klay Thompson scored 43 points in the 2010 Championship game to help lead Wazzu to 93-56 shelling of San Diego in the most –lopsided victory in a GAS title game. Thompson eclipsed Purdue’s Glenn Robinson for most points scored in a Shootout game and tied the record for most three-pointers hit (8) held by Saint Mary’s Eric Schraeder. Hands down the best individual game I’ve ever seen in a college game.

 

1: “Best game of the 1998 college basketball season”

That was the only way to describe the championship game between top-ranked Duke and 15th ranked Cincinnati. The Bearcats spoiled the return of Anchorage native Trajan Langdon by defeating the Dukies 77-75. The court was littered with premier college players. Duke boasted Langdon, Elton Brand, William Avery,  Shane Battier and Corey Maggette while Cincy had the likes of Kenyon Martin, Melvin Levett, and Pete Mickeal.

November 15, 2011 Taylor Hall

Since the arrival of UAA Women’s Basketball Head Coach Tim Moser six seasons ago, you can count on three things every year from the 12th ranked Seawolves.
Teams under his direction were going to be gritty, play tough defense, and make the NCAA postseason every season. And with a 84 winning percentage (135-27 record at UAA), the highest for an active coach in Division II women’s basketball, why change a winning formula?

November 15, 2011 Taylor Hall

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The magical run of four straight Shootout titles for the Seawolves came to an end after Kent State took down UAA 53-47 in the 2010 Great Alaska Shootout Women’s Championship game.

Powered by a game-high 23 points from Jamiah Humes, the Golden Flashes were able to knock off the then 11th ranked ‘Wolves and snap their nine-game winning streak against Division I opponents in the process.

UAA’s Hanna Johansson finished the championship game with 15 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the loss en route to her selection to the All-Shootout Team. Also pitching in for the Seawolves was Tanee’ Denson-Griffin (11 points, eight rebounds, three assists) and Alysa Horn (five points, five rebounds), both of who also made their way onto the All-Tournament Team.

In the 3rd/4th place game, it would be the Washington Huskies cruising to a 49-27 win over the San Jose State Spartans.

The Huskies would see both Kristi Kingma and Mercedes Wetmore score in the double-digits, with 14 and 10 points respectively. Kingma would also pitch in with four boards while Wetmore had four assists on the night.

The Spartans would find a tough time heating up from the field during the game as they finish with a dismal 27.3 team shooting percent in the loss. Brittany Johnson would be one of the lone bright spots as she finished with team-highs of seven points and seven rebounds.

In the first day of the Women’s Shootout, Kent State squeaked out a 59-58 decision over UW to reach the finals. Taisja Jones would pace KSU with 16 points and seven rebounds. Also doing their parts in the victory would be Taylor Stanton (15 points, 13 boards) and Humes (13 points, four assists).

Kingman would lead all scorers in the game with a tournament-high 30 points in the defeat.

In the nightcap, UAA won with what most would consider an off game for their standards.

Horn and Johansson both scored 10 points apiece to help lead the Seawolves to a 48-35 win over the Spartans. The win came despite the ‘Wolves shooting just 27.9 percent from the field.

Leading the Spartans was AJ Newton who wound up with a game-high 12 points for SJS.

October 25, 2011 Taylor Hall

This past week has seen both sides of the NBA lockout go into overdrive trying to get a deal done before the league loses even more games. So far, the lockout has led to the first two weeks of the season being canceled; a total of 100 games that will not be played.

October 18, 2011 Taylor Hall

The UAA Volleyball teamcrushed UAF in an energeticmatch Oct. 15 supported by oneof the best fan turnouts UAA hasseen so far this year of nearly 800people.

The girls swept the first set25-16 followed by a close secondset, 25-22.

“Fairbanks did really well thesecond set they picked up theirgame a lot,” sophomore middleblocker Robyn Burton said. “Theyhad a lot of ups and had some goodserves. We had a few misreads onour side of the net, but we lookedpast it and did what we had to doon our side to win it.”

October 11, 2011 Taylor Hall

The UAA Seawolves treated fans to the school’s first Kendall Hockey Classic title since 2006 on Oct. 8 as well as the emotional rollercoaster they took to actually lift the championship gold pan when all was said and done.

October 5, 2011 Taylor Hall

The college football world is like a high school prom: no one wants to be that person who is going solo and watching all the other happy couples dance away while they sit next to the other outcasts and drink punch.

Only difference is that in the college world, no university wants to be the team who doesn’t find their way into a major conference and not getting a share of the big bucks that would come along with their new dates (i.e super-conferences).

Two things that have become clear: football programs are the driving force behind all of the realignment and schools are picking money and opportunity over tradition and rivalries (see Texas A&M, Nebraska, TCU, etc.).

Now I’m not here to argue whether its good for the collegiate sports landscape to see its teams keep playing musical chairs and leave their conferences to bigger and better opportunities.

I’m also not here to say where teams should go and who should get left out when the dominoes are done falling.

I’m here to offer a new way to look at the situation if we do see a rise of four super-conferences: scrap the busted and frustrating Bowl Championship Series (BCS) and let’s finally see a playoff format in college football.

The BCS always finds a way to give fans and certain teams a headache each year when one if not more teams get left behind because a computer tells them they aren’t as qualified as the traditional powerhouses. The cry for a playoff system has never been louder and the opportunity has never presented it self at a better junction.

If the shakeup continues and the smoke clears, general consensus is that we would see four major conferences left (Pac-12, Big-10, SEC, and ACC) and we’d see the demise of the Big-12 and Big East conferences as those leagues see more and more of their teams picked at by the other four schoolyard bullies. We would also see perennial contenders from weaker conferences try and move up and find a spot at the table, much like Utah and TCU leaving the Mountain West and head for the Pac-12 and Big East, respectively. Teams like Boise State, BYU, and even football independent Notre Dame would be faced with the scenario of joining the party and realign or getting left behind by their lonesome.

Based on these assumptions of four super-conferences of 16 teams apiece, here are two playoff formats that could be viable and offer college football fans what they have been salivating for over the past decade.

16-team playoff format

This would be based off the Sweet 16 in college basketball. However, instead of regions we would see conferences get their top four teams battle it out. The top seed would play the fourth and second would play the third with the top seeds getting home field advantage. The winner of this bracket would catapult into the national semifinals and be crowned the conference champion in the process.

The semifinals would feature two games featuring all four-conference winners and could be played at neutral sites where the major bowl games are played currently (New Orleans, Atlanta, Miami, Pasadena). From there, last team standing would be crowned national champion and would have truly earned it having to win four games against other top teams in the country.

12-team playoff format

Much like the NFL Playoff format in which the top teams get a bye into the second round. Only difference here is that the top regular season team in each conference would get the automatic bye through to the second round. The remaining teams would be placed based on their rankings in the national polls rather than their conference rank and be seeded accordingly.

The main difference in this format would be the rankings. Rather than each conference sending their top four teams, only the top regular season team from each conference gets a bye into second round. This way, more than four teams from a conference can play their way into playoffs if they are ranked within the top 12 of the nation.

Again, the top seed would have the home-field advantage until the semifinals begin. This scenario, like the 16-team format, could feature neutral sites still come into play and would also truly crown the best team after the victor made their way through a number of other strong programs en route to the title.

Of course this is all based on the assumption that we could see the four super-conferences come when all the smoke clears on the new realignment trend sweeping the nation.

If the super-conferences do become a reality, look at it as a positive and embrace it as a new beginning to college football instead of the apocalypse so many are fearing.

The birth to a playoff system and the long awaited death to the BCS.