MONMOUTH, Ore. – Junior center Hannah Wandersee scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds Saturday to help the nationally 6th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team avoid an upset with an 86-78 victory over Western Oregon at the New P.E. Building.
The Seawolves (22-2, 15-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, four assists, four steals and no turnovers from sophomore point guard Yazmeen Goo as they erased an early nine-point deficit.
The Wolves (9-13, 5-11) got a career-high-tying 22 points, plus eight rebounds and three assists from guard Sydney Azorr – a senior playing her final home game – along with 13 points and six assists guard Shelby Snook.
UAA trailed 21-12 with 2:50 left in the first quarter and 38-36 at halftime, staying close when Rodericka Ware buried three-pointers to end each period. Needing a second-half comeback for the second game in a row, Wandersee scored seven points during a 10-1 Seawolf surge that flipped a 54-47 deficit to a 57-55 advantage in a span of 75 seconds.
The Seawolves led 63-59 after the third quarter and stretched to a 70-61 lead when Sala Langi fed Wandersee for a layup with 6:29 to play. The hosts made it a one-possession game on three occasions in the final six minutes, but Wandersee answered with a layup at the 2:27 mark and a pair of free throws with 1:37 left, and Goo hit a driving layup with 46 seconds remaining for an 82-75 lead.
“I thought we lacked focus at the beginning of the game, and that made things tougher on us all night,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose program extended its series winning streak to 29 in a row against WOU. “Western Oregon is more talented than its record indicates, and their ladies played loose and with a lot of energy that we were unable to match. Luckily, Hannah and Yazmeen were on their ‘A’ games tonight, because we needed every bit of their production.”
Wandersee – whose previous career high of 27 points came in a Dec. 2 home win over Northwest Nazarene – shot 11 of 19 from the field and 10 of 13 from the free-throw line, while grabbing six of her rebounds on the offensive end. The Kodiak native recorded her fourth career 20-plus effort, and her 32 points matched the 4th-most scored by a Seawolf in 17 years of GNAC play.
Meanwhile, Goo helped the Seawolves to a season-low seven turnovers, tying the program’s fourth-fewest giveaways against a fellow NCAA Div. II opponent.
Ware had 11 points on 3-of-7 three-point shooting, and junior guard Sydni Stallworth finished with nine points, four rebounds and three assists. Senior guard Kaitlyn Hurley added eight points (2-4 3FG), and junior guard Kian McNair’s defense aided UAA in the second half as she totaled six points, five rebounds and two steals.
The Seawolves return home for their final two regular-season games at the Alaska Airlines Center next week – Thursday at 7 p.m. against Seattle Pacific and Saturday (‘senior night’) at 7 p.m. against Saint Martin’s. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com for tickets.