After a record-breaking and crowd-stunning season, the Seawolves’ women’s basketball team ended its regular season with a crushing 94-49 win over in-state rival University of Alaska Fairbanks.
The game also marked seniors Hanna Johansson, Tijera Mathews, Kaylie Robison, and Torle Nenbee’s last home game and last game of the regular season and the emotions ran high.
“Sometimes it’s a little hard to go into when you have so much going on inside,” Johansson, Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year contender, said. “I was like ‘Oh I hope I don’t mess up now,’ because you’re not completely focused only on the game. But I think it turned out good.”
Johansson’s parents traveled from Sweden to Alaska to watch the game and will also follow the team down to the GNAC tournament. Robison’s father was also able to attend the game.
Other teammates were nervous thinking about their last game and the support they would lose after the rest of the season is over.
“It was a little bit emotional knowing it was my last game on that court. At warm-ups I was a little sad, but my teammates were like calm down, calm down,” senior center Mathews said. “It’s like a community here so it felt really good but I also felt sad. So it was like mixed emotions.”
The mixed emotions did not stop the Seawolves from coming out with a fiery defense in the first half, sitting with 47-23 at the half. The UAF Nanooks came out in the second half with a little more intensity but were unable to match or stop the Seawolves’ offense.
“It’s a good rivalry, it’s a good atmosphere, it’s tough to play in, and I just felt like Anchorage is real aggressive and we handle it about 50 percent of the time and unfortunately they were able to get the edge rebounding and transition as well,” said Nanooks’ head coach Cody Burgess. “We’re not quitters and that’s what we like to pride ourselves on.”
The win over Nanooks did not count for anything as far as GNAC standings; the Seawolves are still No. 1, but did mean a few more records. The Seawolves achieved the most assists out of 11 years of GNAC play with 31 assists. The game marked Johansson’s 127th game played, just three games away from Nikki Aden’s No. 1 spot in all-time games played, with 130.
The Seawolves will travel to Lacey, Wash. March 1-3 for the GNAC tournament, playing game by game to try to win the West Regional Championship. Head coach Tim Moser talked about keeping the season going and the team playing with the seniors as long as possible.
“That’s all we want to do. It’s do or die from now on and that’s when we gotta start playing for them and they gotta play like their on life support. We just gotta play really hard and see what we can do to extend it,” Moser said. “I know that Hannah, Kaylie, Tijera and Torle will do it because they know what they are about ready to lose. The more kids they can get on our team to understand that, that is a positive for us.”