Western Kentucky tops UAA in women’s Great Alaska Shootout championship

Ivy Brown had already made eight free throws when she toed the charity stripe one last time with two seconds remaining in Wednesday’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout championship. Brown’s Western Kentucky Lady Toppers needed only one more point to ice the game and secure their first-ever Shootout championship. After clanking her first shot off the iron, Brown made her second, and Western Kentucky walked away with a 62-58 victory over the Seawolves. Brown finished the night with 21 points and 12 rebounds while teammate Kendall Noble chipped in 12 points and 5 assists.

“I struggled a lot last year with focusing on scoring, scoring, scoring,” Brown said, “Me and my coach have just talked a lot about doing other things for the team…”

After winning handily against Pepperdine last night, the Seawolves were given a rigid test by the Division I Lady Toppers who play in Conference-USA. Preseason Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year Megan Mullings led the Seawolves with 15 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocks. Mullings did most of her damage in the first half and was nearly scoreless in the final quarter.

After scoring the first bucket of the game, the Seawolves fell behind for most of the next two quarters. Senior Keiahnna Engel’s layup with 2:30 remaining in the half put the Seawolves back on top, 28-27. The two teams traded buckets to close the half, but UAA held on to a 32-31 lead at halftime. However, the Seawolves would fall behind again in the third quarter. Seawolves head coach Ryan McCarthy was not satisfied with his team’s execution.

“We just didn’t follow our game plan — even remotely close,” McCarthy said, “I was very disappointed in our effort. Our effort, I thought, was B+.”

“Our team has to hold ourselves to a higher standard — regardless of division — regardless of reputation. If we are going to reach the goals we have set for ourselves,” McCarthy said.

The visitors slowed the game down by drawing UAA fouls in the paint. The Seawolves were also out-rebounded 24-14 in the second half.

“We needed to scrap out rebounds and box out,” McCarthy said. “We did not do that.”

UAA’s three point specialists Jenna Buchanan and Jessica Madison finished with a combined 20 points on 4-12 shooting from long range. As a team, UAA shot 36 percent from the field in the second half.

“We talked about us being timid and us being scared,” Mullings said. “I think that was something that really affected us.”

The Seawolves begin their conference schedule on the road next week. Ryan McCarthy’s squad plays Simon Fraser next Thursday before crossing the border to play Western Washington over the weekend. The loss does not count toward UAA’s overall record.

Written by Nolin Ainsworth