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Saints Hold On To Upset Alaska Anchorage 58-48
Play Video Angela Gelhar (13) scored 21 points and Megan Wiedeman (42) had 17 rebounds to lead Saints to their first GNAC playoff victory (Photo by Dan Levine)
Angela Gelhar (13) scored 21 points and Megan Wiedeman (42) had 17 rebounds to lead Saints to their first GNAC playoff victory (Photo by Dan Levine)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

LACEY, Wash. – Angela Gelhar hit two crucial three-pointers in the final two minutes and scored a game-high 21 points to lead sixth-seed Saint Martin’s to a 58-48 upset of No. 3 Alaska Anchorage Wednesday in the opening game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Women’s Basketball Championships.

The win sends the host Saints (18-10), riding a four-game win streak, into Friday’s first semifinal at 5:15 p.m. against No. 2 seed Western Washington (17-9).  

Alaska Anchorage fell to 19-8, but its season may not be over as the Seawolves were ranked fifth in this week's West Regional poll and are a strong candidate to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament when the field is announced Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific time on ncaa.com.

The win also gave the Saints their first-ever GNAC post-season victory.  SMU lost to Montana State Billings 55-53 in the opening round of the 2011 tournament in its only previous tournament appearance.

Saint Martin's led by 13 points late in the first half at Marcus Pavilion and were still up by eight (50-42) with 4:48 remaining following a layup by Gelhar.

Alaska Anchorage, however, then scored the next six points getting a three-point play by Kylie Burns, a basket by Alli Madison and a foul shot by Kiki Robertson with 2:38 remaining to pull to within two points.

Gelhar responded hitting treys at the 1:57 and 1:15 marks.  Two free throws by Megan Wiedeman with 27 seconds left established the final 10-point winning margin.

Saint Martin’s trailed in the early stages of the contest before taking command scoring 15 consecutive points to turn a 16-9 deficit into a 24-16 lead with 5:22 left in the opening period.

UAA’s 8 minute, 2 second drought ended on a jumper by Madison with 3:41 remaining in the half.  The Saints, however, then immediately went on a 9-2 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 33-20.

Gelhar finished the contest connecting on 7-of-16 shots including 3-of-7 three-pointers.  Richardson was also in double figures with 10 points.

Burns was the only player to reach double figures for the Seawolves netting 14 points.  She also hauled in nine rebounds.

That, however, was not enough as the Saints controlled the backboards 50-43 as neither team shot particularly well; UAA made just 18-of-69 shots to finish with a 26.1 percentage.  The Saints were only 18-of-56 (32.1 percent).  

Wiedeman led SMU, which was ahead 33-23 at halftime, on the backboards grabbing 17, including six at the offensive end.  SMU's Chelsea Haskey had 11 rebounds before fouling out with 2:38 remaining.  Both players also had eight points.

Both Wiedeman and SMU's team rebounding totals are GNAC tournament records.  Wiedeman broke the individual record of 14 set by Lauren Hefflin of Western Washington in 2011 and matched by Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe of Simon Fraser last year.

SMU's team total eclipsed the mark of 43 by Alaska Anchorage against Northwest Nazarene during the 2011 tournament.

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