UAA women’s basketball repeats as GNAC champions
They came, they saw and they conquered. The seawolves flattened Simon Fraser 82-47 before handling Montana State Billings 77-57 on their way to defending their Great Northwest Athletic Conference crown.
The Seawolves had lost their home finale against Simon Fraser on Feb. 27 and sought revenge in the semi-finals of the GNAC tournament.
“I think the next time we play them they will see a different team,” head coach Ryan McCarthy said at Tuesday’s press conference.
A different team they were. Although the previous two meetings this season versus the Clan were tight contests, this time, UAA never even let it become a game. Jumping out to an 8-0 lead, the Seawolves made a statement early and never let Simon Fraser within reach. With a halftime score of 42-18, the game was all but over.
Leading the beat down for the Green and Gold were Mullings and Alysha Devine, who contributed 17 points a piece. The smothering Seawolf defense forced 27 turnovers and held Simon Fraser to making just a third of their shots.
“We came into this game really focusing on making sure we were attached to their shooters and limited their good looks from the three-point line,” McCarthy said.
UAA looked like themselves again, and big reason why was the return of Keiahnna Engel, who had missed the last five games due to a knee injury.
“Its nice having someone that has the skills of a guard that can play defense like a post player,” Megan Mullings said.
Regardless of the convincing win, the Seawolves still had Montana State standing in their way of the GNAC title.
The Seawolves began the championship game rather sloppy, coughing up the ball eight times in the first quarter but still found themselves leading 35-30 at halftime.
UAA settled down after the break, and outscored the Yellowjackets 26-17 in the third quarter. The Seawolves gradually extended their lead and came out on top with a 20-point win.
In just 15 minutes, Keiahnna Engel totaled an efficient 13 points (5-6 FG) and dished off 4 assists in the title game. Kiki Robertson had a tournament-high 9 assists, while Jessica Madison chipped in 12 points and 4 steals. Forward Dominique Brooks finished with a team-high 6 boards and helped elevate UAA off the bench, but gives credit to her fellow Seawolves.
“It all goes to my teammates, they just kept me into the game and kept giving me confidence and motivation that no matter what happens we got it together,” Brooks said.
As for Montana State, guard Marissa Van Atta tallied 17 points to go with her 10 rebounds and 4 steals. Alisha Breen had 17 points of her own, while no other Yellowjacket had more than 6 points.
By adding a GNAC championship to their resume, the Lady Seawolves look to host the first round of the NCAA Division II tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center.