Eagles stop Seawolves in their tracks at Elite Eight

UAA junior Sasha King dribbles up court against Ashland's Kaci Finfrock at the NCAA Women's Division II Elite Eight in San Antonio. Photo courtesy UAA Sports Information

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.

The trip to the Elite Eight, which was the third in the past five years for the Seawolves, proved to be the end of the line on yet another stellar year for the program. The 8th ranked UAA squad ended their season at 30-5 and finished as both the GNAC and West Region champions.

Senior forward Hanna Johansson led the Seawolves with a team-high 17 points in her final game in the green and gold. Before the game was played, Johansson became just the second ever UAA recipient of All-American honors from the Women’s basketball Coaches Association.

The Gothenburg, Sweden native joined Rebecca Kielpinski in the elite category. Johansson was one of 10 players nationwide to receive the All-American first team recognition.

Ashland boasted their own representative from that All-American team in the form of junior forward Kari Daugherty. Living up to her reputation, Daugherty finished with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds to help pace the Eagles, who won their 32nd straight game against UAA.

Senior guard Jena Stutzman finished with a game-high 18 points while her junior backcourt partner, Lindsay Tenyak, was close behind with 17 points of her own for Ashland.

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For UAA, senior forward Kaylie Robison grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds to go along with seven points in her final game for the ‘Wolves. Junior guard Sasha King chipped in with 14 points and a game-high four steals in the season finale.

UAA won the overall battle of the boards, grabbing 39 rebounds (17 of which were offensive) to the Eagles’ 32. That severe edge in offensive rebounds led to UAA scoring 19 second-chance points in the game while Ashland finished with zero.

However, it was cold shooting that doomed the Seawolves. UAA shot just 20 of 63 from the field, good for 31.7 percent. Beyond the arc, the Seawolves were just 3 of 16 (18.8 percent). On the other end of the court, Ashland shot 48 percent (24-50) from the field, including an impressive 56.3 percent (9-16) from three-point range.