BELTMONT, Calif. – Junior guard Tara Thompson scored a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 three-point shooting Saturday to propel No. 2 Alaska Anchorage to an 87-76 victory over Notre Dame de Namur in an NCAA Div. II West Region women’s basketball showdown at Gleason Gymnasium.
The Argonauts (5-6) got a game-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting from forward Jerusha Paine and 19 points on 8-of-18 shooting and nine assists from point guard Marissa Caballero to stay close all night. NDNU outshot UAA 54.7 percent to 48.5 percent, but the three-time defending Great Northwest Athletic Conference champions used a 39-26 rebounding edge and outscored the Pacific West Conference club 36-18 from long range.
“We got off to a nice start offensively, but our transition defense and our undisciplined play led to a lot of easy opportunities for our opponent. When you play that sloppily, it puts you in major jeopardy against a good team like the one we played tonight,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy. “Luckily Tara had a historic shooting performance and some other players stepped up late to bail us out and keep us unbeaten, and that’s the most important thing. We still have a lot of room for improvement.”
UAA’s 30-18 start marked its third-most points in a first quarter, and the lead rose to 34-18 on a jumper by Sala Langi with 8:44 left in the second quarter. The Argos would spend the rest of the night chipping away, however, and pulled within 80-74 on a trey by Caballero with 3:13 left in the game.
Thompson missed her next three-point attempt, but senior forward Shelby Cloninger was there for the putback on UAA’s next possession, and Thompson delivered the clincher on the following trip, swishing a stepback trey to make it 85-74 at the 2-minute mark.
The former Dimond High star became the sixth Seawolf to hit at least eight threes in a game and came one shy of tying Sasha King’s school record of nine against Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 16, 2013. She rose from eighth place into a tie for sixth on UAA’s all-time treys list as well, pulling even with Maria Nilsson (132 3FGs, 2006-08).
Cloninger finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, while sophomore point guard Yazmeen Goo – playing just miles from her hometown of Daly City – had 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting, seven assists and five rebounds, despite being among a handful of Seawolves to fight foul trouble all night.
Junior guard Kian McNair tied her career high with six assists and had three swipes.
UAA remains in the Bay Area this weekend before heading an hour north to Sonoma State for a Tuesday 5 p.m. AST contest against the identically named Seawolves. Visit the UAA women’s basketball schedule page or SonomaSeawolves.com for links to live stats and video.