ANCHORAGE – Senior center Hannah Wandersee scored 19 points and dished a career-high five assists Tuesday to help 14th-ranked Alaska Anchorage to an 81-70 victory over Alaska Fairbanks in women’s basketball action at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (12-1, 4-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 13 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals from senior guard Tara Thompson as they shot 49 percent overall and a season-best 53 percent (9 of 17) from three-point range.
The Nanooks (3-8, 0-5) got 18 points from Angela Murnion and 12 points apiece from fellow guards Kylie Wallace and Emily Evans, but the visitors could not capitalize on 51 percent shooting, suffering their eighth straight loss and their 27th consecutive GNAC setback.
“Fairbanks came out and outcompeted us tonight,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy. “We never matched their intensity and did not stick to our game plan. The final stats are not representative of how poorly we played, and it could have been a lot worse if we hadn’t shot as well as we did.”
Despite coming in with 22 straight losses to the Seawolves, the Nanooks came out blazing, hitting seven of their first eight shots to lead 17-9 after seven minutes. UAA turned up heat with its full-court press, however, and flipped the score to 23-17 when Kian McNair hit a three-pointer at the 32-second mark.
The Seawolves led by 47-38 at halftime and 68-57 after three quarters as their lead remained steady for much of the night, reaching a 15-point spread on three occasions.
Wandersee shot 7 of 13 from the field, including a career-best 3 of 3 from long range, while Thompson nailed 3 of 6 treys. A 5-7 guard from Anchorage’s Dimond High School, Thompson moved up to No. 3 on UAA’s career three-pointers list with 193, surpassing Seawolf Hall-of-Famer Allegra Stoetzel (191 3FGs, 1992-96).
The Seawolves got at least seven points from six different players, including 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting from junior guard Safiyyah Yasin, who tallied double digits for the third game in a row. Sophomore forward Cameron Fernandez had nine points and a career-high six assists, and senior guard Kian McNair finished with nine points, five assists and three steals, giving the GNAC steals leader five straight contests with at least three swipes.
Sophomore forward Tennae Voliva provided the Seawolves a big lift off the bench with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and a career-high-tying seven rebounds.
UAA picked up a season-high 32 assists on its 34 field goals and committed just only 11 turnovers – just one more than its season low.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. to face defending GNAC Tournament and West Region champion Montana State Billings (6-4, 2-2). Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.
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