ANCHORAGE – Hannah Wandersee had 17 points and eight rebounds and Tara Thompson scored all 11 of her points in the last six minutes Saturday to lead the 6th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team to a 76-68 comeback victory over Concordia-Portland at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (15-1, 8-0 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got a huge effort from sophomore point guard Yazmeen Goo, who scored 13 points and dished a UAA season-high nine assists.
The Cavaliers (11-5, 5-3) – ranked No. 8 in the latest D2SIDA NCAA Div. II West Region poll – nearly pulled the upset behind 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists from GNAC rebounding leader Bailey Cartwright, plus 15 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals from guard Keesha Sarman, who played all 40 minutes.
“That was a really good test for us today against a team that came in very hot (five straight wins) and plays extremely well together,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose squad was missing leading scorer Shelby Cloninger for the second game in a row.
The Seawolves stretched a 37-30 halftime lead to 46-34 when freshman forward Sala Langi turned an offensive rebound into a short jump shot at the 7-minute mark of the third quarter. Concordia answered with a 9-0 run moments later, and shaved its deficit to 53-50 with 10 minutes left.
UAA went scoreless for the first three minutes of the fourth quarter as Concordia claimed a 57-53 lead, but Goo made two free throws and Thompson – who was scoreless to that point – knocked down a long three-pointer to make it 58-57.
After Concordia claimed its final lead at 61-60 on a Cartwright free throw with 2:51 left, Thompson struck again 25 seconds later, draining trey on a feed from Kian McNair. Cavs guard Danielle Hartzog (15 points) hit a layup to slice the deficit to 65-64 with 1:42 remaining, only to see Thompson answer with a corner three-pointer at the 1:12 mark.
Langi – who tallied a career-high 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting – stepped in front of a Concordia pass on the other end, and UAA would seal the win from the foul stripe.
“Tara showed ice water in her veins again today,” McCarthy added. “She does not let anything bother her, no matter how tough things get out there. We also couldn’t have won without some unsung contributions from people like Sala, Kian and Kaitlyn (Hurley).”
McNair finished with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals, while Hurley had eight points on 3-of-4 shooting.
Meanwhile, Goo came one point shy of her career high and delivered the most assists for a Seawolf since Kiki Robertson posted nine at Western Oregon on Jan. 5, 2017.
UAA shot 8 of 18 from three-point range and grabbed 15 steals to help offset 19 offensive rebounds by the visitors.
The victory extends UAA’s respective winning streak to five overall, 28 straight in GNAC regular-season play and 14 in straight in GNAC home contests. The Seawolves also remained unbeaten in five all-time meetings against the Cavs, who joined NCAA Div. II and the GNAC in the 2015-16 season.
UAA returns to the road next week to face Saint Martin’s on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday in Washington. Both games start at 6 p.m. AST and can be seen live on gnac.tv.