ANCHORAGE – Getting her first start of the season, senior guard Sydni Stallworth came through with career highs of 23 points and nine assists Saturday to power No. 6 Alaska Anchorage to a 69-53 women’s basketball victory over Cal State Dominguez Hills in the final game of the Seawolf Hoops Classic at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (4-0) also got 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting and four assists from senior guard Kian McNair, who was named the event’s Most Outstanding Player, plus 16 points, seven rebounds and two assists from fellow all-tourney selection Hannah Wandersee.
The Toros (2-2) were led by 18 points, three assists, four steals and two blocks from starting guard Nautica Ledbetter, but the California Collegiate Athletic Association club was held to 32.8 percent shooting and outrebounded 43-29.
“We have some injuries that will make us play a little differently, and we’ll just have to be the team that grinds out wins like we did tonight,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose squad is currently missing starting point guard Yazmeen Goo and potential starting forward Cameron Fernandez, both with injuries. “One area that we’ll have to improve on is taking care of the basketball, but I think this was a good game to build on and learn from.”
Stallworth sparked the Seawolves from the start, outscoring the visitors by herself in the first quarter, 11-8. UAA built a 30-11 lead with 6:38 left in the second quarter on a jumper by McNair, and led 37-21 at halftime.
Nautica Morrow cut the Toros’ deficit to 39-29 on a layup early in the third quarter, but UAA got a three-pointer from senior guard Tara Thompson, followed by three straight assists from Stallworth to push the lead to 48-31.
A former junior college All-American at Pima (Ariz.) Community College, Stallworth shot 7 of 12 from the floor and 8 of 10 at the foul stripe. A reserve in 34 of 35 career games before Saturday, she also had a career-high five steals and a career-high-tying five rebounds.
“I thought our ladies played hard and Syd had a huge game for us to take over for a player (Goo) who’s been starting for us for a couple of years, to come in and pick right up where we left off at that position,” McCarthy added.
Wandersee – the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year – shot 7 of 11 from the field, including 2 of 3 three-pointers, and grabbed all seven of her rebounds on the defensive glass. Freshman forward Kimani Fernandez-Roy pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds for her first career double-digit effort as well.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center next week when they host another four-team event in the D-II Coast to Coast Classic. UAA will face Florida Tech (2-2) on Friday and West Region rival Hawaii Pacific on Saturday, with tip-off set for 5 p.m. both nights. For tickets, call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com.
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
Morgan Greene, Cal State East Bay
Savannah McGill, Cal State East Bay
Sydni Stallworth, Alaska Anchorage
Kylie Wallace, Alaska Fairbanks
Hannah Wandersee, Alaska Anchorage
Most Outstanding Player: Kian McNair, Alaska Anchorage
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