ANCHORAGE – Senior center Hannah Wandersee delivered 17 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots Saturday as the 14th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team pulled away late for a 68-50 victory over Western Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (11-1, 3-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 16 points and a career-high five steals from junior guard Safiyyah Yasin as they moved into a three-way tie for second place in the league standings and extended their series-best win streak to seven against WWU.
The Vikings (8-4, 3-1) were led by 15 points and seven rebounds from forward Kelsey Rogers, but the visitors from Bellingham were hurt by 24 turnovers and an 18-2 disadvantage in second-chance points.
“We missed a lot of shots we usually make, but I was proud of our defensive effort, and I thought that our ladies did a really good job answering our challenge to rebound,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose team had 16 steals against only 12 turnovers. “I thought we did a good job against their pressure. This year turnovers have plagued us at times, but I was proud our halfcourt execution tonight.”
After a back-and-forth opening five minutes, UAA took the lead for good on a runner in the lane by senior Tara Thompson that made it 11-9. The Seawolves led 17-11 after one quarter and pushed the advantage as high as 37-22 late in the second quarter.
Coming in with seven wins in their last eight games, the Vikings refused to fold, playing UAA to tie a 14-14 draw in the third quarter and beginning the fourth with another surge. Mollie Olson nailed a three-pointer to get WWU within 53-48 with eight minutes remaining, but that would be her team’s final field goal.
Yasin – who scored a career-high 20 points in Thursday’s 70-55 win over Simon Fraser – helped ice the Saturday’s victory with five points during a 10-0 fourth-quarter run, as UAA led by double figures for the final 5:28. The former Diablo Valley (Calif.) College star shot 3 of 4 from long range and committed no turnovers.
A first-team All-GNAC performer last year and the league’s 2018-19 preseason player of the year, Wandersee shot 6 of 11 from the field and 5 of 5 from the free-throw line, accounting for her second-highest scoring and blocks totals this year.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center on Tuesday against intrastate rival Alaska Fairbanks (3-7, 0-4), with tip set for 7 p.m. Call 907-786-1562 for visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.