ANCHORAGE – Senior Hannah Wandersee had 17 points and eight rebounds and the 14th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team got career-best scoring efforts from sophomores Sala Langi and Tennae Voliva to roll to its largest victory of the season, 87-42 over Montana State Billings at the Alaska Airlines Center on Thursday.
The Seawolves (13-1, 5-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 13 points on 3-of-4 three-point shooting from senior guard Tara Thompson as they avenged their 71-70 loss to Billings in last season’s NCAA Div. II West Regional title game in California.
The Yellowjackets (6-5, 2-3) were led by 10 points and eight rebounds from center Taryn Shelley, but the visitors made just 11 of 46 shots (.239) from the field to finish with the program’s worst shooting night since 2003.
“We talked about what this particular game meant to us,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose team won its 24th consecutive regular-season GNAC home game. “I know that this was important to a lot of our returners and just our program in general. But what I’m most proud of is the product – we executed our game plan and played with a great deal of energy and effort.”
After a tight opening nine minutes, the Seawolves went on a 6-0 run in the final minute of the first quarter, getting four straight points from Langi, plus a backcourt strip and layup by Kian McNair. Thompson got kind bounces on back-to-back three-pointers early in the second for a 28-14 edge, and the lead reached 20 for good when Langi drove for a layup to make it 36-16 with 5:28 on the first-half clock.
UAA outscored the visitors 21-6 in the second quarter and 25-10 in the third, tying a season low with 10 turnovers and outrebounding MSUB 40-29.
Langi, a forward from Pacifica, Calif., scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting, along with four assists and no turnovers, while Voliva added 12 points on 4-of-5 accuracy, plus a career-high three steals.
“Sala really sparked us with her all-around game early, and we had great energy off the bench tonight,” added McCarthy, whose team also benefitted from the return of All-GNAC point guard Yazmeen Goo from a 10-game injury absence. “This is as well as Tennae’s played in her career and she just keeps getting better and better, and to have Yazzy back was really big for us too.”
McNair finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, four assists, no turnovers and three steals, giving the GNAC steals leader at least three swipes (and 24 total) over the last six games. Senior guard Sydni Stallworth added nine points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, and Goo contributed five points and three rebounds in her first action since Nov. 16.
The Seawolves get a rare Saturday off before returning to the road next week against Western Oregon (Thur., Jan. 17, 4:15 p.m. AST) and Concordia-Portland (Sat., Jan. 19, 4:15 p.m. AST). Both of those contests can be seen live online at gnac.tv.
NOTES: Wandersee moved up two spots to No. 14 on UAA’s career scoring list, now with 1,072 points, and equaled former teammate Alysha Devine (2013-17) for No. 4 on UAA’s career victories list with 106 … Thompson pushed her career three-pointers total to 196, closing in on becoming the third player in program history with at least 200 treys … Thompson stands No. 6 on UAA’s victory list with 104 … the Seawolves’ margin of victory was their largest since a 95-45 win over Johnson & Wales in the 2017-18 season opener, and their largest in 62 all-time meetings against the Yellowjackets.