ANCHORAGE – Senior center Hannah Wandersee had 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocks Friday to lead a late comeback for the 6th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team in a 66-56 victory over Florida Tech in the D-II Coast to Coast Classic at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (5-0) also got 13 points and four assists from senior point guard Sydni Stallworth as they outscored the visitors 24-10 over the final 10 minutes.
The Panthers (2-3) was led by 15 points from reserve guard Gracie Doane, plus 14 points and seven rebounds from starting forward Tereza Sedlakova in the first-ever meeting between the two programs.
“This was another excellent test for us tonight as we learn to adjust to being a more grind-it-out team,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose squad was playing its second game without injured preseason all-league point guard Yazmeen Goo. “Getting a win like that proves to our ladies that we can handle adversity and be the team that makes big plays in crunch time.”
UAA surged ahead 23-15 early in the second quarter before the visitors from Melbourne, Fla., and the Sunshine State Conference went on a 16-2 run to grab their largest lead. The Seawolves fought back for a 32-31 halftime edge, but the lead would change six times in the third quarter, with the Panthers taking a 46-42 advantage.
Freshman guard Jahnna Hajdukovich converted a jumper on a feed from Stallworth to tie it 46-46 with 8:50 left, and the game stayed a one-possession contest for the next five minutes.
After Florida Tech went ahead 53-52 on a three-pointer from Amanda Allen at the 6:16 mark, UAA took the lead for good on a running floater by senior guard Tara Thompson. Stallworth found sophomore center Tennae Voliva for a layup with 3:43 left, and Wandersee made it a 58-53 game with two free throws 28 seconds later.
The Seawolves sealed the win from the free-throw line, making 10 of 14 charities in the last 3 minutes, 15 seconds.
Thompson finished with 10 points (4-6 FG, 2-3 3FG), four rebounds and four assists, while sophomore forward Sala Langi had a career-high six assists in just 18 minutes before fouling out.
Wandersee – the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year – shot 7 of 14 from the floor and equaled her career high in blocks. Senior guard Kian McNair added six points and four assists, while spearheading another solid defensive effort with four steals.
The Seawolves close the D-II Coast to Coast Classic with an important West Region contest against Hawaii Pacific (1-3) at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Alaska Airlines Center. For tickets, call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com.
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