THIS WEEK IN ALASKA ANCHORAGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL...

2017 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships
Mar. 2-4 - Marcus Pavilion - Lacey, Wash.
(All times listed as Alaska Standard Time)

Thursday, Mar. 2 - Quarterfinals
11 am: #6 seed Central Washington (14-14, 9-11) vs #3 seed Simon Fraser (24-6, 15-5)
1:15 pm: #5 seed Seattle Pacific (18-10, 10-10) vs #4 seed NW Nazarene (12-14, 10-10)
Friday, Mar. 3 - Semifinals
11 am: CWU/SFU winner vs #2 seed Western Washington (24-4, 18-2)
1:15 pm: SPU/NNU winner vs #1 seed Alaska Anchorage (27-1, 20-0)
Saturday, Mar. 4 - Championship Game
4:15 pm: Semifinal winners

LIVE VIDEOSTREAM & STATS: All games free at gnac.tv

TICKETS: Available at the door at Marcus Pavilion ... tickets sold by session or full-tourney pass ... visit gnacsports.com for more information.

UAA PROBABLE STARTERS (2016-17 stats)
G—Kiki Robertson, 5-5, Sr. (8.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.4 apg, 3.4 spg, .445 FG, .375 3FG, .867 FT)
G—Tara Thompson, 5-7, So. (8.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.1 spg, .407 FG, .419 3FG, .929 FT)
F—Autummn Williams, 5-10, Sr. (21.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.1 apg, 2.6 spg, .511 FG, .378 3FG, .754 FT)
F—Alysha Devine, 6-1, Sr. (7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.4 spg, .394 FG, .660 FT)
F—Sierra Afoa, 5-10, Jr. (4.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 spg, .455 FG, .348 3FG, .714 FT)

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS: The Seawolves are guaranteed a GNAC Tournament semifinal matchup against one of the two teams they trailed at halftime this season, facing either No. 4 seed Northwest Nazarene or No. 5 seed Seattle Pacific on Friday afternoon at Marcus Pavilion ... NNU has faced a tough slate, suffering nine of its 14 losses to regionally ranked opponents ... the Crusaders, from Nampa, Idaho, are led by 5-9 Jr. G Ellie Logan (12.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.5 apg, .488 FG, .816 FT) and 5-11 Jr. G Lexi Tubbs (10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, .362 3FG) ... racked recently by the injury bug, Seattle Pacific snapped a 5-game losing skid with a 70-60 win in its regular-season finale to secure the No. 5 seed in the GNAC Tournament and keep its slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive ... the Falcons, who started 11-0 and reached as high as No. 5 nationally in the D2CCA Top 25 poll, are led by 6-0 Jr. G Courtney Hollander (12.2 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.0 apg, .326 3FG, .851 FT) and 5-10 Jr. G Jordan McPhee (11.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.0 apg, .792 FT).

ALL-TIME vs SPU: SPU leads 34-27
Neutral Courts: 0-0
Last Meeting: UAA 94-50 (2/18/17 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 10
Notes: UAA’s current 10-game win streak its longest against SPU and tied for its 5th-longest against any opponent ... UAA has won 13 of the last 14 overall, including its two largest margins ever vs. SPU in the last two games in Anchorage (82-47 last year) ... teams have met 23 times since Jan. 2008, including three times in the NCAA Division II West Regionals and once in the GNAC Tournament – a 68-66 UAA home win in the 2011 semifinals … SPU leads 18-14 in GNAC regular-season meetings, taking the first 11 encounters … SPU is UAA’s 2nd-most common opponent, squaring off at least once per season since 1990-91 … series started in 1979-80.

ALL-TIME vs NNU: UAA leads 23-14
Neutral Courts: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting: UAA 78-70 (2/9/17 at NNU)
Streak: UAA 5
Notes: UAA’s current streak comes after NNU took four of six meetings between 2013-15, including the Seawolves’ first loss at the Alaska Airlines Center (79-64) on Jan. 1, 2015 ... teams have played twice in the GNAC Tournament, splitting quarterfinal results in 2011 (64-50 UAA home win) and 2013 (65-60 NNU win in Lacey) ... UAA leads 20-12 in GNAC regular-season meetings … teams have met three times in postseason (once in NCAA Tourney, twice in GNAC Tourney) … series started in 2000-01 when both teams were in the Pacific West Conference.

TEAM COMPARISONS     UAA   SPU   NNU
Neutral-Court Rec.   0-0   2-0   0-4
Points per Game     82.8  66.8  77.9
Points Allowed/Game 52.8  59.4  77.1
Rebounding Diff.    +6.0  +3.5  +1.6
Assists per Game    19.5  16.8  14.7
Turnovers per Game  14.7  15.2  18.0
Steals per Game     16.1   9.7  10.1
Blocks per Game      2.7   2.2   2.6
FG%                 .451  .414  .441
3-pt FG%            .365  .327  .326
FT%                 .776  .779  .751

WHAT’S AT STAKE: With no losses against fellow NCAA Div. II opponents, the Seawolves have a 2-game advantage in the loss column over regionally 2nd-ranked Cal Baptist, which will aim for the Pac West Tournament title at the same time this week ... with only one loss mathematically possible this week, that leaves the Seawolves theoretically in command of the race for home-court advantage for the Mar. 10-13 NCAA West Regional Championships ... Western Washington and Simon Fraser have likely secured NCAA Tournament bids, while Northwest Nazarene, Seattle Pacific and Central Washington all definitely (NNU & CWU) or probably (SPU) win the GNAC Tourney to gain NCAA entry.
NCAA ANNOUNCEMENT SUNDAY: The Seawolves and the rest of the Div. II college basketball world will learn their NCAA Tournament fates on Sunday, Mar. 5, when the 64-team national playoff field is unveiled at 6 p.m. AST on ncaa.com.

GNAC TOURNEY HISTORY: The Seawolves have captured four of the first six GNAC Tournament titles ... UAA has a 9-2 record in GNAC Tourney games, including 4-0 marks in both the semifinal and final rounds ... last year UAA blasted Simon Fraser 82-47 in the semfinals behind 17 points apiece from Alysha Devine and Megan Mullings, Sierra Afoa grabbed 8 rebounds ... the next night, UAA got a tougher test from 3rd-seeded MSU Billings before pulling away for a 77-57 win behind 13 points and 4 assists from Keiahnna Engel ... Kiki Robertson tied the tourney record with 9 assists – along with 5 points and 5 rebounds – to earn Tournament MVP honors for the second straight year, while Jenna Buchanan and Jessica Madison scored 12 points each.

GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships Results
Year    Champ  Rnr-Up  Score    Site       MVP
2016    UAA    MSUB    77-57    Lacey      Kiki Robertson, UAA
2015    UAA    WWU     71-58    Billings   Kiki Robertson, UAA
2014    WWU    SFU     78-74    Lacey      Jenni White, WWU
2013    WWU    SFU     60-40    Lacey      Trishi Williams, WWU
2012    UAA    WWU     67-52    Lacey      Haley Holmstead, UAA
2011    UAA    WWU     68-67    Bellingham Kaitlin McBride, UAA

WINNING WAYS: UAA’s 23-game win streak has surpassed the 22 straight by the 2008-09 squad for the longest in program history ... the Seawolves are also currently on program-best streaks of 27 straight wins vs. Div. II opponents, 21 consecutive road wins, and 18 straight conference road wins ... UAA is a combined 59-3 – including 28-1 on the road – in GNAC regular-season and tournament games over the last three seasons ... at 94-6 (.940), the Seawolves have the most victories and the best winning percentage in NCAA Div. II since 2014-15 ... over the last decade, the Seawolves’ 257 victories are also the most in women’s D-II hoops, surpassing Emporia State in January ... the 2016-17 Seawolves have claimed the program’s 11th consecutive winning season and will almost certainly earn a 10th NCAA Tournament berth in 11 years ... UAA has gone a combined 155-14 (.917) in the last 11 seasons on its home courts ... after a 7-0 mark this fall, UAA has won 36 straight regular-season, non-conference games against Div. II opponents, with the last loss coming in Ryan McCarthy’s Seawolf coaching debut, Nov. 9, 2012 (Colo. Mines) ... the Seawolves have led the nation in steals per game for three straight seasons, with 14.3 spg in 2013-14, a program-record 15.0 in 2014-15, and 13.6 last year.

STEALING THE SHOW: With 16.1 steals per game, the Seawolves are making a bid to lead NCAA Div. II in that category a fourth straight season, currently boasting a solid edge over Cal-Pa. (15.4 spg) for the top spot ... all told, UAA is in the top 25 nationally in a dozen categories, ranking 2nd in turnovers forced per game (26.3), scoring margin (+30.0), turnover margin (+11.6) and assists per game (19.5), 3rd in scoring defense (52.8), 5th scoring offense (82.8 ppg), 6th in A/T ratio (+1.33), 12th in FT% (.776), 16th in FG% (.451), 23rd in 3FG per game (8.2) and 25th in 3FG% (.365) ... in the GNAC stats, the Seawolves lead in 13 of 21 categories and rank 2nd or 3rd in six others.

HAWAIIAN PUNCH: Sr. PG Kiki Robertson is UAA’s 2nd-leading scorer at 8.6 ppg and continued to add to her All-America credentials last week with clutch performances in the road victories at WWU and SFU last week ... the two-time reigning GNAC Tournament MVP ranks among the league’s top 3 in four different categories – 1st in steals (3.4 spg), 2nd in assists (5.5 apg), and 3rd in A/T ratio (2.5) and FT% (.867) ... in the national stats, she ranks 6th in spg, 21st in apg and 12th in A/T ratio – one of two players in the top 25 in all three categories – as well as 20th in FT% ... the 3-time 2nd Team All-GNAC performer started the season as UAA’s career assists leader and claimed the GNAC record in the first game this year; now with 681, she is tied for 24th place on the all-time NCAA Div. II list ... with five swipes against Northwest Nazarene on Jan. 14, she added both the UAA and GNAC career steals record as well, now with 369 ... now UAA’s all-time victories leader with 113, Robertson is also on pace to break the Seawolf record for assists per game (5.4), while threatening the mark for steals per game (2nd, 2.9); on the other Seawolf career lists, she is 2nd in games started (124), 16th in scoring (987 pts), 7th in FT% (.789), 10th in FTs made (247) and tied for 3rd in games played (127) ... among the NCAA Div. II active career leader, she leads in assists and ranks 2nd steals, plus 3rd in both apg and spg ... the only Hawaiian ever to suit up for the Seawolves, Robertson was the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2014-15.

FALLING FOR AUTUMMN: Sr. F Autummn Williams has emerged as UAA’s latest candidate for All-America honors, ranking 6th nationally in scoring with 21.1 points per game, boosted by three 30-plus performances in the last six games ... the transfer from Div. I Little Rock has hit the 20-point plateau 16 times, including 11 of the last 14 games, and been UAA’s top scorer in 25 of 28 contests ... Williams has shot at least 50 percent 18 times, dished at least 3 assists 20 times, and grabbed multiple steals 11 times ... with back-to-back honors in  December and February, Williams became just the third player in GNAC history and the first since 2008-09 to win four GNAC Player of the Week awards in the same season, and she picked up USBWA National Player of the Week for her efforts at Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington ... Williams holds GNAC ranks of 2nd in steals (2.6 spg, 39th nationally), 2nd in scoring, 5th in FG% (.511, 40th nationally), 11th in assists (3.1 apg), 7th in A/T ratio (1.5), 8th in 3FGs per game (1.7) and 8th in 3FG% (.378) ... Williams’s 28.5 minutes per game are also the most averaged by a Seawolf since Kylie Burns logged 30.2 mpg in 2013-14.

DEVINE TALENT: Sr. F and team co-captain Alysha Devine is averaging 7.4 points and 1.4 steals per game, boosted by seven double-figure scoring efforts and a career-high 7 steals in the season-opener against CSULA ... the Preseason All-GNAC pick ranks 19th in the league in steals and is the Seawolves’ 5th-leading scorer and 4th-leading rebounder (3.6 rpg) ... on UAA’s career lists, Devine currently sits 28th in scoring (765 pts), 19th in rebounds (472), 19th in 3FG% (.330) and 3FGs made (65), 12th in games started (89) and is tied for 4th in victories (103) ... the Wasilla High product was the 2016 NCAA West Regional Tournament MVP and earned honorable mention All-GNAC as a junior on last year’s NCAA Runner-Up squad.

VITAL VETS: Of the three non-starters who returned from last year’s 38-3, NCAA Runner-Up club, all have played increased roles this season ... Jr. F Sierra Afoa is the team’s leading rebounder, averaging 4.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 1.5 spg, while starting 25 of 28 games ... the former Dimond High star has led UAA in rebounding eight times this year, snatching 10 boards at Chaminade and Central Washington and nine vs. MSU Billings ... Afoa grabbed a career-high 6 steals at NW Nazarene and currently ranks 14th in the GNAC in that category, with at least 3 steals in eight games ... after coming off the bench in 39 games a year ago, So. SG Tara Thompson has logged all 28 starts and more than doubled her averages, emerging as UAA’s 3rd-leading scorer (8.6 ppg) and an effective rebounder (3.4 rpg) ... the former Dimond Lynx ranks 2nd in the GNAC in 3FGs per game (2.4) and 3rd in 3FG% (.419), while in the NCAA Div. II national stats she is 19th in 3FG% and 69th in 3FGs/gm ... Thompson has also committed just 20 turnovers all year, while playing the 2nd-most minutes (711 total, 25.4 mpg) on the team ... whether starting or coming off the bench, So. F/C Hannah Wandersee has established herself as one most accurate shooters in the GNAC with percentages of .507 overall, .385 (5 of 13) from long range and .878 at the foul stripe ... UAA’s 7th-leading scorer and 3rd-leading rebounder with 6.9 ppg and 4.0 rpg, she tallied a season-best 17 points against Post and scored 10 in the win at Hawaii-Hilo, and recently she has delivered clutch buckets in the 4th quarter at NNU and in overtime at WWU ... the former Kodiak High star is also the Seawolves’ best shot blocker, ranking 9th in the GNAC with 0.7 bpg ... on UAA’s career lists, Wandersee is 6th in FG% at .520.

NEW AND NOW PROVEN: Along with Sr. F Autummn Williams, UAA has had several newcomers make powerful impacts this year, including 4th-leading scorer and 2nd-leading rebounder Jr. F Shelby Cloninger ...  a transfer from North Idaho College after playing at Div. I Utah State, she has averaged 8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 1.2 spg in 17.5 minutes per contest ... showing off a dynamic inside-outside game, Cloninger holds GNAC ranks of 18th in 3FG% (.330) and 20th in 3FGs per game (1.1), while bolstering UAA’s national lead with 1.2 steals per game ... true Fr. G Kimijah King continued her impressive debut season in UAA’s home finales, totaling 29 points, 11 rebounds and 4 steals, while shooting 77 percent from the field and 89 percent at the foul stripe in the wins over Saint Martin’s and SPU ... with averages of 7.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 1.1 spg in a reserve role,  the Seattle native’s .510 FG% ranks 6th in the GNAC and 5th-best on UAA’s freshman list ... after tallying no more than 9 points in a game through Dec. 17, King has gone for double figures in seven of her last 13 contests, including 19 points (7-7 FG) vs. SPU, 17 points at Western Oregon, 13 points (6-6 FG) vs. NNU, and 15 points (5-8 FG) vs. MSU Billings ... redshirt Fr. PG Yazmeen Goo has made a huge splash despite averaging a team-low 3.2 ppg ... the Bay Area product leads all freshman nationally in assist/turnover ratio at 2.8, while sporting overall GNAC ranks of 2nd in A/T ratio, 6th in assists (4.2 apg) and 7th in steals (2.0 spg) – all in a backup role behind senior All-America candidate Kiki Robertson ... nationally, Goo is 10th overall in A/T ratio and 76th in apg (5th among freshmen)  ... Goo set the Seawolves’ single-game freshman assist record with 13 dimes against Post on Nov. 17 ... since missing the first 14 games due to injury, Jr. G Zhara Laster has given the Seawolves a boost off the bench, averaging 4.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game ... the former NWAC Defensive Player of the Year at Peninsula (Wash.) College has UAA’s lone double-double this season with 14 points and 11 rebounds against Concordia, and she nabbed 6 steals against Western Oregon.

McCARTHY IN CHARGE: Now in his fifth season at UAA and sixth overall as a head coach, Ryan McCarthy has led the Seawolf program to new heights, capturing three straight GNAC regular-season titles and ascending as high as No. 1 or No. 2 in the national rankings in each of those campaigns ... McCarthy repeated as the WBCA’s NCAA Div. II West Region Coach of the Year in 2015-16, adding to his 2014-15 GNAC Coach of the Year honor ... in 2015-16, the Anchorage native took UAA to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight year, advancing all way to the National Title Game and earning an NCAA Div. II-record 38 victories ... his 2014-15 club claimed the best winning percentage in program history with a 29-2 (.935) mark, sweeping both GNAC titles as well ... McCarthy has led UAA to an improvement in overall wins (17, 19, 29, 38) and conference wins (11, 12, 17, 18) in each of his first four seasons, culminating with the first 20-0 league campaign in GNAC history in 2016-17 … playing its up-tempo ‘Mayhem’ style, McCarthy’s 2016-17 crew is also on pace to lead the nation in steals per game for the fourth straight season ... McCarthy sports a head-coaching record of 130-25 (.839) at UAA and 144-38 (.791) overall, having served in an interim capacity at Northwest Nazarene in 2011-12 … McCarthy is assisted again in 2016-17 by 5th-year associate head coach Shaina Afoa, 2nd-year assistant Alysa Horn (who starred at UAA from 2009-13), and 3rd-year volunteer assistant Patrick Flanigin.

2016-17 SEAWOLF INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Sierra Afoa
GNAC All-Academic Team
Alysha Devine
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Kiki Robertson
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 23-29
GNAC All-Academic Team
Tara Thompson
GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Autummn Williams
GNAC Player of the Week, Nov. 28-Dec. 4
GNAC Player of the Week, Dec. 5-11
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 5
GNAC Player of the Week, Feb. 6-Feb. 12
USBWA National Player of the Week, Feb. 6-12