Wildcats Break Records, Seawolves Return To Title Game
Alaska Anchorage senior guard Safiyyah Yasin led all scorers with 31 points to set a new career-high and send the Seawolves back to the final.
Alaska Anchorage senior guard Safiyyah Yasin led all scorers with 31 points to set a new career-high and send the Seawolves back to the final.

Friday, March 6, 2020

SEATTLE – For the first time in GNAC Basketball Championships history, the men’s and women’s title games will feature the same teams.

Top-seeded Alaska Anchorage defeated No. 5 Central Washington 79-77 in Friday’s second GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships semifinal at Royal Brougham Pavilion.

The Seawolves wasted no time in getting ahead, closing the opening quarter on an eight-point run and outscoring the Wildcats 28-17. The Seawolves shot 52.6 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range in the first half and contained the Wildcats to 39.3 percent from the field.

Seawolves senior guard Safiyyah Yasin scored a career-high 31 points in the game to lead all scorers, connecting on 11 of 16 from the field, 3 of 4 from three-point range and 6 of 8 from the free-throw line. The First Team All-GNAC selection also grabbed three rebounds and had two assists and two steals in the win. Her 31 points fell just short of the tournament scoring record of 34.

Fellow senior guard and first-teamer Yazmeen Goo also scored in double digits with 12 points on 5 of 9 from the field to go with five rebounds, three assists and three steals while sophomore forward Kimani Fernandez contributed 10 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals.

The Wildcats almost pulled off a remarkable fourth-quarter comeback and made history in the process with 18 three-pointers made, tying the GNAC single-game record set by Simon Fraser in 2017. The previous tournament record was 12 three-pointers made. The Wildcats’ 34 three-point attempts also surpassed the previous tournament record of 33.

Wildcats senior guard Alexis Pana led the CWU charge as she collected a near triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to go with a steal and a block. The First Team All-GNAC selection shot 6 of 11 from the field, 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and 2 of 3 from the free-throw line.

Sophomore guard Brianna Phiakhamngon dropped 14 points off the bench and pulled down two rebounds in the loss while senior guard Taylor Shaw scored 12 points with four triples.

Down 79-77 with nine seconds left in the game, the Wildcats had a chance to take the lead as Yasin fouled Phiakhamngon, who was attempting a three-pointer at the three-second mark and was rewarded with three free throw attempts. She missed the first two attempts and then intentionally missed the third to give the Wildcats a chance to grab a rebound.

With the win, Alaska Anchorage improved to 30-2 overall, marking the fourth time in five years that the Seawolves won 30 or more games.

The Seawolves advance to the GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships final for the second straight season and the fifth time in six years. The Seawolves will face No. 3 Western Washington at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. The last time the two programs met in the championship game was in 2017 when the Seawolves won 79-70 at Saint Martin’s University’s Marcus Pavilion in Lacey, Washington.