The UAA women’s basketball team has held their position as No. 1 in the conference, previously undefeated by any other Great Northwest Athletic Conference team, for 33 games straight, until Jan. 20.
The weekend proved to be polar opposite games for the Seawolves, battling out against No. 10 Saint Martin’s (1-8 GNAC record) and No. 2 Seattle Pacific (7-2 GNAC record). Against these teams last year, the Seawolves completely blew away both of them with a 73-31 win over Saint Martin’s and a 94-50 win over Seattle Pacific.
The team tried to maintain the same attitude that brought them the success that they had last season, according to sophomore guard Yazmeen Goo.
“When you’re confident in yourself it kind of has an affect on your team and they’re able to have confidence in themselves as well. I think that has contributed to our good starts in the last couple of games,” Goo said.
This year didn’t prove to be much different against Saint Martin’s with a 76-57 win, however, the Seawolves suffered a 66-48 loss against Seattle Pacific.
On Jan. 18 against Saint Martin’s, the Seawolves took off with an immediate lead, finishing the first period with a 14-point lead.
“I feel like we have been focusing on having a really good starting group in our games recently. I think that in the beginning, in the first couple games we lacked a good start and that kind of gave us a lack of energy,” Goo said.
However, UAA suffered a minor scare in the second period that put them behind going into the second half. The Seawolves managed 23, 5, 27 and 21 points in each period, respectively. While UAA only managed 5 points in the second period, the Saint’s came through with a game-high of 22 points, leaving them at 31-points over UAA’s 28 points ending the first half.
That resulted in UAA experiencing their second-worst 10-minute period since women’s college basketball went to quarters in 2015-16, a disadvantage that shocked head coach Ryan McCarthy.
“I’m not sure what came over us in that second quarter, but luckily we were able to regain our focus and play well overall in the second half, Hannah and Yazmeen played aggressively and chose good shots, as well as providing the veteran leadership needed to earn a win like this,” McCarthy said.
Junior center Hannah Wandersee proved to be carrying the weight of the team heavily with a final tally of 16 points and 13 rebounds. Goo and senior guard Kaitlyn Hurley both finished with 15 points each.
In addition, Goo managed to tally up 5 assists and 5 steals to help the Seawolves rally over the Saint’s.
“I feel like every since our Simon Fraser game we have given an effort that is worthy of a championship level,” McCarthy said. “If we don’t win we can still feel good about it. Ever since then we learned a really big lesson.”
UAA only spent 5 minutes and 4 seconds of the game behind, spending the remaining 33 minutes and 31 seconds in the lead and only a total of 34 seconds tied.
As for the game against Seattle Pacific, the Seawolves suffered an unfortunate loss. However, players for UAA did excel throughout the game, including senior forward Shelby Cloninger who accumulated 13 points and 9 rebounds for her first game back from injury.
Wandersee also came out with personal success, she managed to accumulate 12 additional points.
The rest of the Seawolves were unable to excel as much as Cloninger and Wandersee did, with only a total 26.4 percent shot average, compared to Seattle Pacific’s 40.0 percent average. This poor average gave the Seawolves the worst setback of any kind, with the 18-point difference, since a 76-49 game against Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 17, 2013.
Although the loss came as a large disappointment to the Seawolves, they still lead the GNAC standings, with a one game win advantage over No. 2 Seattle Pacific.
UAA will have the opportunity to redeem themselves starting Jan. 25 against Western Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center.