Since its inception in 1980, the University of Alaska Anchorage's Northern Lights Invitational was in search of a home – a permanent one.

Despite prospering into the premier in-season women's college basketball tournament in the nation – featuring such talents as Cheryl Miller of USC, Chamique Holdsclaw of Tennessee and Annette Smith of Texas – the NLI struggled with an identity crisis. It was played at different venues, under various formats and on different dates.

But Sept. 3, 1998, marked the beginning of a new era for UAA flagship event when it was announced that the nationally acclaimed Great Alaska Shootout would encompass a four-team women's tourney as well. With the merger, the women's Shootout coincides with the men's eight-team format held at the 8,700-capacity Sullivan Arena in Midtown Anchorage, providing more visibility for the women's program.

In November 1999, the women's Shootout made its debut at Sullivan, with underdog UAA taking Louisville and Northern Arizona to the wire before falling, and Kansas capturing the championship. Since then, the Seawolf women have made more history as the tourney’s lone Division II team has claimed titles in 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Begun as a four-team event in 1980, the NLI grew to eight teams from 1981 through 1992. The 1993 and 1994 tourneys followed a four-team, round-robin format, but the NLI reverted back to an eight-team field for the 1994-95 campaign and continued that way for the next four years, until budget constraints forced the suspension of the 1998 tournament.

The NLI was once traditionally played in late February or early March. But with the rise of popularity of women's basketball, scheduling became more difficult and in the mid-90s the event was moved to the week before Christmas.

The 1,250-seat on-campus Wells Fargo Sports Complex served as the home of the NLI for all but three installments, when the tourney was held at Sullivan from 1983-85.

Continually striving to showcase NCAA Division I women's basketball at its best, the NLI reached greater heights as the ESPN cable network televised the 1996 and 1997 championship games live to a nationwide audience.


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Women's All-Time Champions / Runners-Up / MOPs

Year  Champion              Runner-up        Score     Most Outstanding Player
1980  Iowa                  Alaska Anchorage 73-52     Cindy Haugejordge (Iowa)
1981  San Diego State       Houston          50-41     Diena Pels (SDSU)
1982  Minnesota             Indiana          70-66     Laura Coenen (Minnesota)
1983  Old Dominion          Wichita State    76-53     Lorri Bauman (Drake)
1984  Texas                 UNLV             82-60     Annette Smith (Texas)
1985  Louisiana Tech        Penn State       88-69     Dawn Royster (N. Carolina)
1986  Northeast Louisiana   Southern Cal     70-68     Lisa Ingram (NE La.)
1987  New Orleans           Memphis State    84-61     Kunshinge Sorrell (Miss. State)
1988  South Carolina        UNLV             98-97 OT  Martha Parker (USC)
1989  Stephen F. Austin     Old Dominion     96-81     Connie Cole (SFA)
1990  Alaska Anchorage      South Alabama    88-87     Diane Dobrich (UAA)
1991  Northern Illinois     Louisville       63-60     Lisa Foss (NIU)
1992  Penn State            Mo.-Kansas City  83-62     Susan Robinson (PSU)
1993  Hawaii                SMU              RR**      Valerie Agee (Hawaii)
1994* Rhode Island          NE Louisiana     RR**      Dayna Smith (URI)
1994* Clemson               UCLA             79-62     Tara Saunooke (Clemson)
1995  South Carolina        Arizona State    83-71     Shannon Johnson (USC)
1996  Georgia               Oregon           72-55     Tracy Henderson (UGa)
1997  Tennessee             Wisconsin        87-66     Chamique Holdsclaw (UT)
1998  No Tournament
1999  Kansas                Louisville       78-68     Lynn Pride (Kansas)
2000  Ohio State            Rhode Island     95-60     Jamie Lewis (OSU)
2001  Iowa                  Gonzaga          90-73     Lindsey Meder (Iowa)
2002  Nevada                Indiana          68-56     Laura Ingham (Nevada)
2003  Alaska Anchorage      Clemson          61-58     Kamie Jo Massey (UAA)
2004  Stanford              La.-Lafayette    67-47     Candice Wiggins (Stanford)
2005  Cent. Connecticut St. Arizona          69-65 OT  Gabriella Guegbelet, (CCSU)
2006  Alaska Anchorage      UC Riverside     72-67     Rebecca Kielpinski (UAA)
2007  Alaska Anchorage      Santa Clara      52-50     Rebecca Kielpinski (UAA)
2008  Alaska Anchorage      Syracuse         58-57     Rebecca Kielpinski (UAA)
2009  Alaska Anchorage      Cincinnati       49-48     Nicci Miller (UAA)
2010  Kent State            Alaska Anchorage 53-47     Jamilah Humes (Kent State)
2011  Miami, Fla.           South Florida    92-72     Shenise Johnson (Miami)
2012  Utah State            Alaska Anchorage 67-57     Devyn Christiansen (Utah State)
2013  Georgetown            Alaska Anchorage 92-78     Andrea White (Georgetown)
* = 1994 tourneys played in Jan. & Dec., respectively
RR** = 4-team round robin format


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Women's All-Time Participants

School                  Record  Year(s)
Air Force                  1-1  2006
Akron                      1-2  1997
Alabama Birmingham         1-2  1987
Alaska Anchorage         34-52  ALL
Alaska Fairbanks           1-2  1981
Appalachian State          2-1  1991
Arizona                    1-1  2005
Arizona State              4-2  1982, 95
Arkansas                   2-1  1982
Arkansas State             1-2  1988
Army                       0-3  1994

Baylor                     2-4  1988, 92
Boise State                1-2  1990
Boston College             1-2  1996
Bradley                    0-2  2007
Brigham Young              2-3  1996, 03
Butler                     0-2  2006

Cal State Northridge       0-2  2008
Central Connecticut State  2-0  2005
Central Michigan           1-1  2011
Cincinnati                 1-1  2009
Clemson                    4-1  1994, 03
Cleveland State            1-1  2007
Coastal Carolina           1-1  2009

Drake                      2-1  1983

Eastern Kentucky           0-2  2002
Eastern Washington         1-1  2004

Florida State              1-2  1984
Fordham                    0-3  1988
Furman                     1-1  2005

Georgetown                 2-0  2013
Georgia                    3-0  1996
Georgia State              2-4  1984, 91
Georgia Tech               5-4  1983, 90, 94
Gonzaga                    2-3  1987, 01

Hawaii                     7-2  1981, 85, 93
Holy Cross                 1-2  1995
Houston                    2-1  1981

Idaho                      2-1  1984
Indiana                    3-2  1982, 02
Iona                       2-1  1986
Iowa                       4-0  1980, 01

Jackson State              1-1  2008

Kansas                     2-0  1999
Kent State                 2-0  2010

Louisiana Lafayette        1-1  2004
Louisiana Tech             3-0  1985
Louisville                 4-4  1985, 91, 99
Loyola Marymount           1-5  1985, 95

Manhattan                  2-1  1997
Marist                     0-3  1995
Marquette                  2-3  1992, 01
Memphis State              2-1  1987
Mercer                     1-2  1996
Miami, Fla.                5-3  1984, 87, 2011
Minnesota                  3-0  1982
Mississippi                2-1  1997
Mississippi State          2-1  1987
Missouri-Kansas City       2-1  1992
Monmouth                   0-3  1989
Montana State              1-2  1994
Mount St. Mary’s           0-2  2003

Nevada                     2-2  1980, 02
Nevada-Las Vegas           4-2  1984, 88
New Mexico                 1-2  1981
New Mexico State           1-2  1991
New Orleans                5-1  1987, 92
Nicholls                   0-2  2013
North Carolina             2-1  1985
North Carolina-Greensboro  1-2  1994
North Dakota State         1-1  2012
Northeast Louisiana        5-1  1986, 94
Northeastern Illinois      0-3  1993
Northern Arizona           1-4  1991, 99
Northern Illinois          3-0  1991
Notre Dame                 1-2  1981

Ohio State                 2-0  2000
Old Dominion               5-1  1983, 89
Oregon                     2-1  1996

Penn State                 5-1  1985, 92
Pennsylvania               1-2  1983
Pepperdine                 1-5  1984, 97
Portland State             1-2  1989
Prairie View A&M           0-2  2012
Providence                 3-3  1989, 94
Purdue                     2-1  1981

Radford                    0-3  1987
Rhode Island               4-1  1994, 00

Sacramento State           2-1  1992
San Diego                  1-2  1986
San Diego State            5-1  1981, 89
San Francisco              0-3  1982

San Jose State             0-2  2010
Santa Clara                1-1  2007
South Alabama              2-1  1990
South Carolina             6-0  1988, 95
South Florida              1-4  1983, 2011
Southeastern Louisiana     0-3  1992
Southern California        2-1  1986
Southern Methodist         4-5  1986, 90, 93
Southern Utah              0-3  1990
Stanford                   3-2  1983, 04
Stephen F. Austin          3-0  1989
Syracuse                   1-1  2008

Temple                     2-1  1990
Tennessee                  3-0  1997
Texas                      3-0  1984
Texas A&M                  1-2  1997
Texas-El Paso              2-1  1989
Texas-San Antonio          1-2  1991
Toledo                     2-1  1996
Tulane                     2-1  1995

UC Riverside               2-2  2006, 13
UCLA                       2-1  1994
U.S. International         1-2  1988
Utah State                 3-5  1982, 86, 2012

Valparaiso                 1-1  2000

Wake Forest                1-2  1990
Washington                 2-3  1982, 2010
Weber State                2-1  1986
Western Carolina           0-2  2009
Western Kentucky           4-2  1986, 88
Wichita State              2-1  1983
William & Mary             2-1  1994
Wisconsin                  2-1  1997
Wyoming                    1-1  1980

Xavier                     2-1  1995

Yale                       0-3  1985

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Women's Shootout Teams Qualifying for that Year's NCAA Tournament

1980 & 1981: No NCAA Women's Tournament

1982 (1): Arizona State

1983 (1): Old Dominion**

1984 (2): Nevada-Las Vegas, Texas*

1985 (3): Louisiana Tech*, North Carolina, Penn State

1986 (3): Alaska Anchorage, Southern Cal***, Western Kentucky**

1987 (2): Memphis State, New Orleans

1988 (3): Alaska Anchorage, South Carolina, Western Kentucky

1989 (4): Alaska Anchorage, Old Dominion, Providence, Stephen F. Austin

1990 (0)

1991 (2): Appalachian State, Northern Illinois

1992 (2): Alaska Anchorage, Penn State

1993 (0)

1994 (1): Alaska Anchorage

1994-95 (0)

1995-96 (2): Holy Cross, Tulane

1996-97 (3): Georgia*, Oregon, Toledo

1997-98 (2): Tennessee****, Wisconsin

1999-00 (2): Alaska Anchorage, Kansas

2000-01 (0)

2001-02 (1): Iowa

2002-03 (0)

2003-04 (0)

2004-05 (1): Stanford*

2005-06 (0)

2006-07 (2): Alaska Anchorage, UC Riverside

2007-08 (2): Alaska Anchorage**, Cleveland State
2008-09 (1):
Alaska Anchorage**
2009-10 (1): Alaska Anchorage
2010-11 (1): Alaska Anchorage
2011-12 (2): Alaska Anchorage*, Miami (Fla.)
2012-13 (0)
2013-14 (1): Alaska Anchorage

*Elite 8 Qualifier
**Final 4 Qualifier
***NCAA Runner-Up
****NCAA Champion