Johansson leads UAA to regional finals
LA JOLLA, Calif. – Senior center Hanna Johansson led four Alaska Anchorage players in double figures with a game-high 22 points as the nationally 8th-ranked Seawolves earned a convincing 77-58 win over Grand Canyon in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II West Regional Women's Basketball Championships at RIMAC Arena.
UAA (29-4) now advances to Monday night's West Regional championship game versus host UC San Diego (30-2) which defeated Western Washington, 81-66, in Saturday's late semifinal.
"We were fortunate to defeat a very good basketball team tonight," said UAA head coach Tim Moser. "I was really proud of our kids in the second half – we were the aggressors and we played to win, not to avoid losing. We did a good job of keeping them off the glass and made them earn everything."
The Seawolves broke open a tight affair in the second half, outscoring the Antelopes 20-0 over a seven-minute period to go from trailing 42-37 at 15:05 to a 57-42 lead at 8:52.
Alysa Horn had 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting and six rebounds, Sasha King added 11 points and five steals, and senior forward Kaylie Robison had 11 points for UAA. Grand Canyon, which came into the game ranked No. 13 nationally and allowing a nation-leading 50.3 points per game, finishes with a 24-4 record. The Antelopes got a team-high 18 points from all-conference guard Maylinn Smith.
Johansson, who also corralled six rebounds, became the all-time winningest student-athlete in UAA history by being part of her 111th career victory – surpassing former teammate Nikki Aden's 110, set last year. It was also a school-record 131st appearance for Johansson, breaking Aden’s record in that category as well.
The Seawolves shot a sizzling 55 percent from the field and outrebounded the Antelopes, 34-25, to advance to their third regional final in five seasons. UAA was the West Region champion in 2008 and 2009, making it as far as the national semifinals both years.
UAA won Saturday’s contest despite getting just four points from leading scorer and First Team All-GNAC guard Haley Holmstead, but the Seawolves also got a lift off the bench with six points from sophomore guard Kylie Burns.
The Seawolves’ regional final game will tip at 6 p.m. ADT on Monday and can be heard in Anchorage on FM-89.3. Live stats and links to live video will also available at both GoSeawolves.com and UCSDTritons.com.