BILLINGS, Mont. – Senior Shelby Cloninger scored 19 points and junior Tara Thompson equaled the Alaska Anchorage program record for three-point accuracy Saturday as 6th-ranked UAA ran away late for an 81-60 women’s basketball victory over Montana State Billings at Alterowitz Gymnasium.
Along with 18 points from Thompson, the Seawolves (13-1, 6-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and six assists from senior guard Rodericka Ware, plus 11 points, eight rebounds and three blocks from junior center Hannah Wandersee as they outscored the hosts 40-18 over the last 15 minutes.
The Yellowjackets (11-5, 4-2) were led by 27 points from GNAC Preseason Player of the Year Alisha Breen, but MSUB was outshot .551 to .333 overall and .524 to .333 from long range.
UAA’s 11-of-21 three-point shooting was its best this year as Thompson equaled Dasha Basova’s school- record 6-of-6 performance in a Jan. 17, 2009 win over Alaska Fairbanks. Cloninger was 3 of 5 from deep and 6 of 10 from the floor, and Ware made 2 of 4 treys.
Tied 43-43, Thompson swished a three-pointer on a feed from Cloninger to begin its winning surge at the 3:42 mark. Freshman Tennae Voliva added all four of her points during the run, and Cloninger capped the quarter with a three-pointer that rolled around the rim and through at the buzzer for a 56-45 lead.
“Alisha Breen is a special player, but I think we did a very nice defensive job on their secondary options tonight and limited what they wanted to do offensively,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose team extended its winning streaks to 26 straight GNAC regular-season wins and eight straight wins over MSUB. “Offensively, in addition to their scoring, our veterans – Shelby, Tara, Rodericka and Hannah – made sure we didn’t panic and let the game plan run its course. I’m thrilled for Tara that a hometown kid could get herself into the record book like that, too.”
The Seawolves also got six assists from sophomore point guard Yazmeen Goo in the final contest of a six-game road swing. UAA returns to the Alaska Airlines Center next week for the first time since Dec. 2 when they host Western Oregon (Thur., Jan. 11, 7 p.m.) and Concordia-Portland (Sat., Jan. 13, noon). Visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.