ANCHORAGE – Senior forward Autummn Williams scored 21 points and sparked a big second-half run Saturday to help 9th-ranked Alaska Anchorage to an 80-69 win over Western Washington in a battle of Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball contenders at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (6-1, 2-0 GNAC) also got a career-high-tying 12 points from sophomore guard Tara Thompson, plus 10 points, eight assists and six steals from senior point guard Kiki Robertson to beat WWU for the sixth time in the last seven meetings.
The Vikings (6-2, 1-1) – the GNAC preseason coaches’ poll favorites – were led by a game-high 27 points from guard Taylor Peacocke, who did most of her damage late in a comeback effort. Reserve forward Nikki Corbett added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, helping her team to a solid 52 percent (28 of 54) effort from the floor.
UAA started the game on a 9-2 run but the Vikings quickly recovered and kept their deficit to 36-30 at halftime. The visitors from Bellingham came out strong in the third quarter, taking their first lead at 45-44 on Corbett’s layup at the 4:47 mark.
WWU led 50-48 with 2:09 on the clock, but Seawolf freshman guard Yazmeen Goo drove for a layup just six seconds later, and Williams poked the ball free from Tia Briggs and converted an uncontested layup on the inbounds play, giving the lead and the momentum back to UAA.
The Seawolves continued to use their defensive pressure in the fourth quarter and built a double-digit edge with 6 minutes left. Peacocke made three free throws to slice it to a 69-63 game with 2:51 remaining before Williams sank a layup on a backdoor cut from Thompson, and Robertson followed with two free throws to push it to a double-digit lead for good.
Ten different Seawolves scored at least four points, with Goo accounting for seven points (3-4 FG), three assists and two steals. Williams played a UAA season-high 35 minutes, shooting 10 of 18 from the field, along with six rebounds, four assists and two steals. The Div. I transfer from Arkansas Little Rock has been the Seawolves’ first- or second-leading scorer in all seven games, earning a career-high total Saturday.
UAA returns to the road for its next seven games, starting with a Saturday, Dec. 10 showdown against intrastate rival Alaska Fairbanks.
GNAC Tournament: Mar. 1-3
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