Third-Quarter Defensive Effort Sends UAA To Final
Play Video Alaska Anchorage wins its 24th consecutive game, while Seattle Pacific waits until Sunday to discover its playoff destiny.
Alaska Anchorage wins its 24th consecutive game, while Seattle Pacific waits until Sunday to discover its playoff destiny.

Friday, March 3, 2017

LACEY, Wash. – No. 1 Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball held No. 5 Seattle Pacific to just four third-quarter points in a 76-68 victory on Friday at Marcus Pavilion to reach the GNAC championship game for the third year in a row and fifth time in conference history.

The semifinal win was the Seawolves’ (28-1) 24th consecutive win this season, improving on what is already a program record. Alaska Anchorage has also won its last 28 games against NCAA Division II teams and has not lost in the month of march since 2015.

The Seawolves will next play against No. 2 Western Washington on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. All six previous GNAC Championships have been won by either of those teams. The last time they met was just nine days ago when Alaska Anchorage clinched the GNAC regular season title in a double-overtime thriller.

Seattle Pacific (19-11) used a 13-0 run to close its quarterfinal victory over No. 4 Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, but in the semifinals, the Falcons were on the other side of a 13-0 run. Alaska Anchorage scored all of the first 13 points of the game in just over three minutes.

The Falcons spent the next 16 minutes of the game chipping away at that 13-point deficit and successfully did so to tie the game at 40-40 going into halftime. Erica Pagano, Jaylee Albert and Courtney Hollander each had eight points as the Falcons became just the second team this season to score at least 40 points against the Seawolves in the first half, joining Northwest Nazarene.

Alaska Anchorage brought an abrupt end to Seattle Pacific’s offensive success in the third quarter, holding the Falcons to just four points in 10 minutes of play. The Seawolves, who rank second in the nation in turnovers forced, forced the Falcons into nine turnovers in the third period alone. GNAC Newcomer of the Year Autummn Williams scored six of her game-high 21 points in the third quarter to help the Seawolves build a 56-44 advantage.

The Seawolves made 12 of 16 free throws in the fourth quarter to put away their eighth consecutive victory in the month of March and advance to the conference championship. Kiki Robertson tallied 13 points and a GNAC Championships record-tying six steals. Tara Thompson and Alysha Devine each added eight points for the Seawolves and Hannah Wandersee came off the bench for nine points.

Jordan McPhee recorded 11 points, nine rebounds and four steals for the Falcons in the loss. Hollander also finished with 10 points and two assists in 21 minutes of play, the most playing time the Falcons’ leading scorer and rebounder has tallied since returning from injury.

Seattle Pacific will discover its playoff destiny on Sunday. The Falcons started the season with 11 consecutive wins, including convincing wins over CCAA regular season champion UC San Diego and PacWest defending champion Azusa Pacific. Seven of the Falcons’ losses came against nationally-ranked teams. Seattle Pacific still managed to finish in a tie for fourth place in the GNAC, a conference which dominated its region with a combined 38-14 record against all PacWest and CCAA schools. No other team ranked in the top 10 of the NCAA Regional Rankings has played as many games against other teams in the top 10 than Seattle Pacific with eight.