THIS WEEK IN ALASKA ANCHORAGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL...
NCAA Div. II West Regional Women’s Basketball Championships
Mar. 9-12 — Felix Event Center — Azusa, Calif.
Friday, Mar. 9 – Quarterfinals
#3 UC San Diego 64, #6 Seattle Pacific 51
#7 Montana State Billings 76, #2 Hawaii Pacific 65
#5 Alaska Anchorage 65, #4 Northwest Nazarene 63
#8 Humboldt State 66, #1 Azusa Pacific 60
Saturday, Mar. 10 – Semifinals
#7 Montana State Billings 75, #3 UC San Diego 73
#5 Alaska Anchorage 81, #8 Humboldt State 73
Monday, Mar. 12 – Championship Game
6 pm ADT: #7 Montana State Billings (24-11) vs #5 Alaska Anchorage (27-4)
LIVE VIDEOSTREAM & STATS: portal.stretchinternet.com/apu/
SOCIAL MEDIA: Check the @UAAWBB Twitter feed for in-game updates.
UAA PROBABLE STARTERS (2017-18 stats)
G—Yazmeen Goo, 5-10, So. (8.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 4.2 apg, 2.9 spg, .483 FG, .707 FT)
G—Tara Thompson, 5-7, Jr. (6.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, .365 3FG, 24.1 mpg)
G—Kian McNair, 5-5, Jr. (6.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.7 spg, .671 FT)
F—Hannah Wandersee, 6-1, Jr. (14.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.5 bpg, .529 FG, .782 FT)
F—Sala Langi, 5-9, Fr. (5.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.1 spg, .403 FG, .683 FT)
NCAA ELITE EIGHT ON THE LINE: The winner of Monday’s NCAA West Regional Championships title game will advance, along with the winners from the other seven NCAA Div. II regions, to battle for the national title in the Elite Eight in Sioux Falls, S.D., Mar. 19-23 ... UAA is seeking its fifth Elite Eight trip (all since 2008), while Montana State Billings is seeking its second trip, having first been there in 1999.
KNOW THE FOE: GNAC Tournament champion Montana State Billings is making its second NCAA West Region title-game appearance in the last five seasons, having dropped the 2014 final to host Cal Poly Pomona in its deepest ever NCAA Tournament run ... the Yellowjackets feature the dynamic senior duo of GNAC player-of-the-year and tourney MVP Alisha Breen (21.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.4 apg, .424 FG, .358 3FG, .869 FT) and point guard Rylee Kane (14.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.9 apg, 1.8 spg, .472 FG, .556 FT).
ALL-TIME vs MSUB: UAA leads 34-26
Neutral Courts: UAA leads 1-0
Last: UAA 73-63 (2/1/18 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 9
Notes: UAA has won 11 of the last 12 and 21 of 23 since MSUB joined the GNAC in 2007-08 ... teams’ only neutral-court or postseason meeting was a 77-57 UAA victory in the 2016 GNAC Tournament title game in Lacey, Wash. ... UAA has won the last nine by double figures ... MSUB’s last win came 75-72 in Billings, Mar. 1, 2014 ... MSUB is UAA’s 3rd-most common opponent (behind Alaska Fairbanks and Seattle Pacific), despite the teams splitting into different leagues from 2002-07 … teams played twice yearly from 1984-85 to 2000-01 as members of the Pacific West and Continental Divide conferences.
SEAWOLF NCAA HISTORY: The Seawolves are making their 17th overall NCAA Tournament trip (’86, ’88, ’89, ’92, ’94, ’00, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’10, ’11, ‘12, ’14, ’15, ‘16, ‘17, ’18) and now stand 24-16 all-time in NCAA games after their wins over Northwest Nazarene and Humboldt State … UAA is 18-6 in West Region play since 2007, suffering four of those losses to No. 1 seeds (and eventual regional champions) on their home courts (Cal Poly Pomona, ’11 & ’14; Seattle Pacific, ’10; UCSD, ’07) … the Seawolves have won four regional titles (2008, 2009, 2012, 2016) ... UAA made its first appearance in the NCAA Div. II national title game in 2016 after bowing out in the national semifinals in 2008 and 2009 ... UAA improved to 11-6 in NCAA openers and earned its third straight first-round win Friday ... the Seawolves improved 6-8 all-time in the Round of 32 with the win over Humboldt State ... UAA is 4-1 in the Sweet 16 (regional finals).
HOW WE GOT HERE: The Seawolves went down to the final 30 seconds in its first two NCAA West Regional Championships games to ‘survive and advance,’ earning a 65-63 win over 4th-seeded Northwest Nazarene and an 81-73 win over 8th-seeded Humboldt State at the Felix Event Center ... on Friday, Jr. C Hannah Wandersee had 21 points (7-10 FG, 7-7 FT) and 9 rebounds, and So. PG Yazmeen Goo scored 13 points (4-7 FG), including the game-winning layup with 1.7 seconds left ... the nationally 13th-ranked Seawolves also got 12 points and 5 assists from Jr. G Kian McNair, who also aided a defensive effort that held NNU first-team all-league guard Lexi Tubbs to 6 points on 1-of-11 shooting ... on Saturday, Wandersee led four Seawolves in double figures with 15 points and UAA shot season bests of .583 FG (28-48) and .857 FT (18-21) to outlast the CCAA Tournament-champion Lumberjacks ... Goo had 13 points (3-3 FG, 7-7 FT), while Jr. G Sydni Stallworth and Fr. F Sala Langi tallied 10 points apiece on combined 7-8 FG shooting ... the game featured eight ties, 12 lead changes and no double-digit leads ... Sr. G Kaitlyn Hurley delivered 8 points (3-5 FG) and four different Seawolves grabbed exactly four rebounds to aid a 33-23 advantage on the boards.
THIS YEAR VS. MSUB: The Seawolves pulled away in the second half of both meetings to earn their fourth straight regular-season sweep of the Yellowjackets, earning an 81-60 win Jan. 6 in Billings and a 73-63 victory Feb. 1 in Anchorage ... in the first game, UAA used its depth to outscore host MSUB 40-18 over the last 14 minutes, powered by 19 points (6-10 FG, 3-5 3FG, 4-4 FT) from Sr. F Shelby Cloninger and 18 points on school-record-tying 6-of-6 3FG shooting from Jr. G Tara Thompson ... Sr. G Rodericka Ware delivered 13 points (5-7 FG, 2-4 3FG) and 6 assists off the bench as UAA shot .551 percent from the field and a season-best .524 (11-21) from long range ... in Anchorage, Cloninger had 21 points – including the clinching jumper with 1:06 remaining – and 10 rebounds, while Jr. C Hannah Wandersee had 14 points and 8 rebounds ... Fr. G Sala Langi tallied 9 points (4-6 FG) and 4 rebounds, and Jr. G Kian McNair delivered 6 points, a career-high 7 rebounds, 5 assists, no turnovers and 4 steals as UAA outrebounded the visitors 46-31.
WINNING WAYS: UAA joined Seattle Pacific this year as the only programs to win at least a share of four straight GNAC regular-season titles ... the Seawolves have won five of the eight GNAC Tournament titles since the event started in 2011 ... the Seawolves have won at least 25 games for the program-record fourth straight season and at least 20 games for the 14th time overall ... UAA is a combined 79-6 – including 36-3 on the road – in GNAC regular-season and tournament games over the last four seasons ... at 124-11 (.919), the Seawolves have the second-most victories and second-best winning percentage in NCAA Div. II since 2014-15, trailing only defending champion Ashland (126-11, .920) ... the Seawolves have clinched the program’s 12th consecutive winning season and earned their 11th NCAA Tournament berth in 12 years ... the loss at SPU on Jan. 20 snapped GNAC regular-season win streaks of 33 overall (including GNAC Tourney), 29 overall (not including GNAC Tourney) and 23 straight on the road ... UAA has won 20 consecutive GNAC regular-season home contests, posting perfect 10-0 marks the last two seasons ... UAA has gone a combined 168-15 (.918) in the last 11 seasons on its home courts ... the loss to Sonoma State snapped a 41-game winning streak against Div. II non-conference opponents in the regular season, marking the first such setback since Ryan McCarthy’s Seawolf coaching debut, Nov. 9, 2012, against Colorado Mines.
MORE NIFTY NUMBERS: Heading into the NCAA Tournament, the Seawolves held nine top-50 national stats ranks, including six top-25 marks – 5th in assists per game (19.2), 5th in steals per game (14.2), 10th in turnover margin (+6.9), 11th in turnovers forced per game (22.7), 18th in assist/turnover ratio (1.21) and 23rd in scoring offense (76.9) ... this year will end a streak of four years that UAA led NCAA Div. II in steals per game ... in the GNAC stats, UAA leads in five categories and ranks No. 2 in five others.
WANDERSEE WONDERFUL: A reserve in 66 of 71 career games before this year, Jr. C Hannah Wandersee entered the starting 5 and delivered in a big way, earning unanimous First Team All-GNAC honors ... Wandersee leads the GNAC and ranks 44th nationally with 1.5 blocks per game, plus other league ranks of 4th in scoring (14.7 ppg), 2nd in FG% (.529), 8th in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and 12th in FT% (.782) ... she collected GNAC co-Player of the Week for her efforts against Hawaii Pacific and Cal State LA, earned the Seawolf Hoops Classic Most Outstanding Player award the following week, and made the GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team – in November alone ... the Kodiak product had her first career double-double against a Div. II opponent with 24 points and 11 rebounds against Hawaii Pacific, grabbed her second (16 pts/career-high 13 rebs) in the win at Saint Martin’s, and just missed a third with 9 rebounds and a career-high 32 points in the 86-78 win at Western Oregon ... including a 21-point effort in Friday’s win over Northwest Nazarene, she now has seven career 20-plus games ... with more than a year to play, Wandersee already owns UAA career top-10 marks in FT% (5th, .806), (FG%, 6th, .524), blocks (6th, 86), blocks per game (7th, 0.85) and victories (9th, 94).
SURE-SHOT SHELBY: Sr. F Shelby Cloninger captured Second Team All-GNAC honors last week as UAA’s second-leading scorer (12.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg) ... with 19 double-figure scoring efforts in her 28 appearances – including successive career highs of 19 points against Div. I Maryland Eastern Shore, 22 at UAF and 26 at Simon Fraser – she holds GNAC ranks of 14th in scoring, 11th in rebounding, 3rd in FT% (.873), 13th in FG% (.467), 4th in 3FG% (.391) and 15th in 3FGs per game (1.5) ... the Kamiah, Idaho, native also has 13 games with at least 7 rebounds this year, including 10 against MSU Billings and Western State, nine at Simon Fraser and at Seattle Pacific, and a career-high 12 at Western Washington ... in late November, Cloninger claimed GCI Great Alaska Shootout Most Outstanding Player and GNAC Player of the Week honors after leading the Seawolves to the final tournament title, and she picked up the GNAC weekly award for Jan. 29-Feb. 4 for her effort in home wins over UAF and MSUB ... a transfer from North Idaho College after playing at Div. I Utah State, Cloninger holds UAA career ranks of 3rd in FT% (.821), 11th in 3FGs per game (1.3), 12th in 3FG% (.358) and 17th in 3FGs made (78).
FEELIN’ GOO: In her first year as a starter after playing understudy to GNAC all-time steals and assists leader Kiki Robertson, So. PG Yazmeen Goo has made a name for herself as well, earning an Honorable Mention All-GNAC nod ... along with national top-75 stats in steals, assists and A/T ratio, Goo has blossomed into a scoring threat, tallying double figures in 12 of the last 25 games – including successive career-highs of 11 points against Western State, 13 points against Northwest Nazarene, 14 at Western Washington and 15 at Saint Martin’s ... the Bay Area native earned all-tournament honors at both the Seawolf Hoops Classic and the GCI Great Alaska Shootout, and she leads the Seawolves and ranks 5th in the GNAC with 106 free throws made ... Goo leads the GNAC in steals per game (2.9 spg, 13th nationally) and assist-turnover ratio (2.0, 35th nationally), and ranks 5th in assists per game (4.2) ... Goo and UAA have also gotten a boost with the return of Sr. SG Kaitlyn Hurley, who missed the second half of last season ... a dangerous scorer from anywhere on the court, Hurley has started nine contests, posting 5.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 1.5 apg, along with 10 blocked shots ... the Utah native and Snow College transfer scored a season-high 16 points in the win over Div. I Maryland Eastern Shore, and she had a clutch performance in the win at Western Washington with 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-3 3FG), no turnovers and no fouls in 19 minutes.
TNT IS DANGEROUS: Whether it’s her deadeye three-point stroke or her solid all-around game, Jr. G Tara (N.) Thompson has been one of the most effective contributors to UAA’s run of success, ranking 10th in program history with 92 victories and currently checking in as UAA’s 6th-leading scorer with 6.3 ppg ... the 2nd-leading scorer (8.9 ppg) on last year’s 30-win team and a bench contributor on UAA’s 2016 NCAA Runner-Up squad, Thompson ranks 12th in the GNAC in 3FG% (.365) and 11th in 3FGs per game (1.6), boosted by an 8-of-12 effort in the win at Notre Dame de Namur and a school-record-tying 6-of-6 display at MSU Billings ... the former Dimond High star led the GNAC in 3FG% last season ... with a .389 career 3FG%, Thompson ranks 8th in UAA history and top 20 in GNAC history, while her 160 total 3FGs are 6th on the all-time Seawolf list and just four shy of the No. 5 spot.
TRANSFER TRAIN’S A-CHUGGIN’: UAA’s three active transfers – Sr. G Rodericka Ware (Academy of Art), Jr. G Kian McNair (Portland State) and Jr. G Sydni Stallworth (2-time 1st Team NJCAA All-American at Pima CC) – have all made significant impacts ... Ware began her career at Central Arizona College before earning First Team All-Pacific West Conference honors last year with Art U, posting 17.4 ppg, 4.0 apg and a league-leading 2.8 3FGs made per game ... the Lakewood, Wash., native has scored double figures in 11 of 27 games as a Seawolf and dished at least four assists in 12 contests, including 19 points, 5 assists and 5 steals against Holy Names, and 13 points and 6 assists at MSU Billings ... UAA’s 4th-leading scorer (8.4 ppg), Ware currently holds GNAC ranks of 5th in steals (1.9 spg), 12th in assists (2.7 apg), 13th in 3FGs per game (1.6) and 17th in 3FG% (.346) ... McNair led Portland State with 11.3 ppg as a freshman and recorded 18 double-digit scoring efforts in 57 career games with the Vikings ... the Vallejo, Calif., product found her scoring touch with season highs of 14 points (6-12 FG) at UAF in early December, 15 points (3-3 3FG, 6-6 FT) against Western Oregon in January, and 16 points (6-10 FG) in the win over SPU ... McNair has shown the ability to stuff the stat sheet, with other season highs of 7 rebounds vs. MSUB and 6 assists against both NNU and Eastern Shore ... McNair is 2nd in the GNAC and ranks 23rd nationally with 2.7 steals per game, swiping seven in the win over Maryland Eastern Shore, and she is 17th in the league with 2.4 assists per game ... Stallworth has also provided a big lift off the bench, ranking among nine Seawolves averaging at least 5.0 ppg ... with 2.2 apg (19th in GNAC), the Tucson, Ariz., native is also one of five Seawolves averaging more than 2.0 apg.
FEELIN’ FRESH: The future looks bright as UAA’s three true freshmen are already making early contributions, including forward Sala Langi, who ranks third on the team and is second among GNAC freshmen with 4.2 rebounds per game ... Langi has come on especially strong in the last two weeks, tallying successive career highs of 10 points at Northwest Nazarene, 13 points at Central Washington and 14 points against Seattle Pacific in the GNAC Tournament ... with 10 points (4-4 FG) against Humboldt State on Saturday, the Pacifica, Calif., product has tallied double figures four times in the last five games, after reaching that plateau just once in the first 26 contests ... former Chugiak High all-state guard Nicole Pinckney tallied 12 points in the Seawolf Hoops Classic and was a key player in UAA’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout title run ... Pinckney also played a big role in GNAC wins over Western Oregon and UAF (9 pts in each game) and Simon Fraser (combined for 9 assists in the two wins) ... meanwhile, former East High star Tennae Voliva has posted season highs of 7 points and 7 rebounds thus far, along with a clutch efforts in both wins over MSU Billings ... Voliva delivered her most important effort of the season in Saturday’s win over Humboldt State, with 6 points (2-3 FG, 2-2 FT) and 4 rebounds, along with a key block and steal in the second half as Hannah Wandersee sat with foul trouble.
McCARTHY IN CHARGE: Now in his sixth season at UAA and seventh overall as a head coach, Ryan McCarthy has led the Seawolf program to unprecedented heights, capturing three straight GNAC regular-season and tournament titles and ascending as high as No. 1 or No. 2 in the national rankings in every season since 2014-15 ... McCarthy earned his second GNAC Coach of the Year honor in the last three seasons in 2016-17 and ‘three-peated’ as the WBCA’s NCAA Div. II West Region Coach of the Year ... in 2016-17, the Anchorage native took UAA to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year (including three straight top-2 regional seeds), posting its second straight 30-win season (30-2) and recording the first 20-0 league record in GNAC history ... the previous season, McCarthy’s crew set an NCAA Div. II record with 38 victories, advancing all the way to the 2016 National Title Game in Indianapolis ... his 2014-15 club claimed what was then the best winning percentage in program history with a 29-2 (.935) mark, sweeping both GNAC titles as well ... McCarthy led UAA to an improvement in overall wins (17, 19, 29, 38) his first four seasons and increased the Seawolves’ GNAC victory total in each of his first five campaigns (11, 12, 17, 18, 20) … playing its up-tempo ‘Mayhem’ style, McCarthy’s 2016-17 crew has also led the nation in steals per game for four straight seasons ... McCarthy sports a head-coaching record of 160-30 (.842) at UAA and 174-43 (.802) overall, having served in an interim capacity at Northwest Nazarene in 2011-12 … McCarthy is assisted by 6th-year associate head coach Shaina Afoa, 1st-year assistant and former Seawolf standout Alysha Devine, and 4th-year volunteer assistant Patrick Flanigin.
2017-18 SEAWOLF INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GCI Great Alaska Shootout Player of the Game vs Md. Eastern Shore
GCI Great Alaska Shootout Most Outstanding Player
GNAC Player of the Week, Nov. 20-26
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 4
Second Team All-GNAC
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Honorable Mention All-GNAC
GNAC Coach of the Year
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
GNAC co-Player of the Week, Nov. 6-12
Seawolf Hoops Classic Most Outstanding Player
First Team All-GNAC (unanimous)
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team