ANCHORAGE – Alaska Anchorage sophomore point guard Yazmeen Goo had 13 points and seven steals to spearhead an impressive defensive effort Thursday in a 66-59 women’s basketball victory over Western Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The 9th-ranked Seawolves (17-2, 10-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 11 points and six rebounds from senior forward Shelby Cloninger, plus 10 points and four steals from junior guard Kian McNair to sweep the regular-season series and avoid the program’s first back-to-back losses since March 2014.
The Vikings (7-12, 3-8) were led by game highs of 22 points and nine rebounds from senior center Hannah Stipanovich, but the visitors from Bellingham were hurt by 23 turnovers and outscored 27-10 at the free-throw line.
“That was a scary game because Western Washington is a much better team than its record indicates,” said Ryan McCarthy, who earned his 150th victory in six seasons as UAA’s head coach. “We struggled again with our shots tonight, so our defensive effort was vital. We’ll breathe a sigh of relief and get on to the business of scouting our next opponent.”
UAA led for most of the night, forging a 34-26 lead at halftime and pushing its largest advantage to 55-43 early in the fourth quarter. The Seawolves would go cold from the floor, however, posting just one field goal – a layup by freshman Tennae Voliva – over the next nine minutes.
The Vikings sliced their deficit to 58-56 when Stipanovich split a pair of free throws with 1:20 remaining, but UAA’s Tara Thompson answered with the biggest shot of the game, beating the shot clock with a corner three-pointer at the 50-second mark.
Gracie Castenada made it a one-possession game, 62-59, with a three-pointer with 10 seconds on the clock, before Goo went 4 for 4 from the charity stripe to account for the game’s final points.
Goo’s seven steals matched her career high – set in UAA’s 64-54 win at Western Washington on Dec. 31 – and marked her third straight game with at least five swipes. She also dished four assists and went 9 of 10 from the foul stripe, establishing a UAA season high for free throws made.
McNair shot 4 of 6 and Goo was 2 of 3 from the field as they were the only Seawolves to shoot above 50 percent. UAA won despite disadvantages of .418 to .295 in field-goal percentage at 41-36 in rebounding, while shooting 3 of 18 (.167) from long range.
Senior guard Kaitlyn Hurley had eight points (5-5 FT) and Thompson had seven points.
With six straight wins over Western Washington, the Seawolves have matched their longest streak in the head-to-head series and tied the all-time series 23-23.
UAA returns to the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to face Simon Fraser. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com for tickets.