LACEY, Wash. – Powered by 28 points from tournament MVP Autummn Williams and a lights-out shooting display from sophomore Tara Thompson, nationally 2nd-ranked Alaska Anchorage earned its third consecutive Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships title with a 79-70 victory over 17th-ranked Western Washington on Saturday at Marcus Pavilion.

The top-seeded Seawolves (29-1) also got 12 points and eight rebounds from junior forward Shelby Cloninger to overcome a halftime deficit and remain unbeaten against NCAA Div. II competition, while extending their school-record winning streak to 25 games.

The 2nd-seeded Vikings (25-5) were led by 22 points from senior guard Taylor Peacocke as they suffered their third loss to UAA this season, although the West Region’s 3rd-ranked club will almost certainly earn an NCAA Tournament bid alongside the Seawolves when the bracket is unveiled Sunday.

In a battle of the only two teams to win the 7th annual league tournament, the Seawolves jumped to a 13-3 lead, but saw the Vikings battle back to earn their first advantage at 23-21 with 6 minutes left in the second quarter. WWU led 33-31 at halftime – just UAA’s third such deficit against a D-II opponent this year – and extended to a 37-33 edge on Jessica Valley’s layin.

Tied 41-41, Cloninger nailed one of two second-half three-pointers to put the Seawolves ahead midway through the third quarter, and the North Idaho College transfer converted a traditional three-point play for a 49-44 edge.

Thompson and Peacocke exchanged three-pointers around the 6:30 mark of the fourth quarter as WWU’s star kept her team within striking distance at 63-54, but Thompson delivered another dagger on the ensuing possession, stepping back for an NBA-range three-pointer to beat the shot clock and make her 5 of 5 from long range. The local Dimond High product added a pair of free throws to help seal the victory, tying her career high with 17 points, along with five rebounds and no turnovers in 32 minutes.

After scoring 21 points in UAA’s 76-68 semifinal win over Seattle Pacific on Friday, Williams followed by hitting four of her first six three-pointers against the Vikings. The unanimous first-team all-league forward also grabbed four rebounds and a game-high four steals on a night when she surpassed former All-American Megan Mullings (635 pts, 2015-16) for UAA’s single-season scoring record, now with 641 points.

Sophomore forward Hannah Wandersee provided a second-half scoring boost with eight points and seven rebounds, and senior point guard Kiki Robertson – the MVP of the past two GNAC Tournaments – finished with six points, six assists and two steals.

Ranked No. 1 in the West Region the past three weeks, the Seawolves will likely be the top seed and earn the right to host the NCAA West Regional Championships, Mar. 10-13, at the Alaska Airlines Center. The announcement of the 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be made Sunday at 6 p.m. AST at ncaa.com.

NOTES: The Seawolves have won five of the seven GNAC Tournament titles (2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017), beating in the Vikings in three of its five finals appearances … UAA extended additional winning streaks vs. DII competition (29) and vs. GNAC competition (24) … Robertson increased her career assists total to 688, currently No. 22 on the D-II all-time list and just four shy of the top 20 … Robertson tied UAA and GNAC records with her 126th career start (Rebecca Kielpinski, 2005-09) … Robertson extended her UAA and GNAC records with her 115th career victory … Thompson matched her career-high 17 points from UAA’s 87-44 win on New Year’s Eve at MSU Billings … now with a UAA single-season record 104 steals, Robertson is just one shy of tying the GNAC mark as well … Williams is up to 244 field goals, just two short of Mullings’s UAA and GNAC single-season record.