THIS WEEK IN ALASKA ANCHORAGE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL...
Thur., Feb. 22 — 5 pm AST — Johnson Sports Center — Nampa, Idaho
#4 Alaska Anchorage (24-2, 17-1 GNAC) at Northwest Nazarene (20-3, 16-2 GNAC)
Sat., Feb. 24 — 6 pm AST — Nicholson Pavilion — Ellensburg, Wash.
#4 Alaska Anchorage at Central Washington (14-12, 10-8 GNAC [Thu. vs UAF])
LIVE VIDEOSTREAM & STATS: Both games free at GNAC.tv
SOCIAL MEDIA: Check the @UAAWBB Twitter feed for in-game updates.
UAA PROBABLE STARTERS (2017-18 stats)
G—Yazmeen Goo, 5-10, So. (7.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 4.4 apg, 3.2 spg, .462 FG, .708 FT)
G—Tara Thompson, 5-7, Jr. (6.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.0 apg, .404 FG, .387 3FG)
G—Kian McNair, 5-5, Jr. (6.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.4 apg, 2.8 spg, .692 FT)
F—Shelby Cloninger, 6-0, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg, .477 FG, .391 3FG, .865 FT)
F—Hannah Wandersee, 6-1, Jr. (14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.5 bpg, .520 FG, .744 FT)
KNOW THE FOES/WHAT’S AT STAKE: Northwest Nazarene has been the hottest team in the league, reeling off 11 straight victories – including two overtime wins – since a Jan. 9 home loss to Central Washington ... seeking its first-ever league title, the Crusaders need a win over UAA to earn at least a share of the GNAC crown and the top seed in the upcoming GNAC Tournament (NNU owns the tiebreaker over UAA in most scenarios due to its season sweep of 3rd-place SPU) ... an NNU sweep of the Alaska schools and two UAA losses would give NNU the outright title ... the Crusaders are led by Lexi Tubbs (15.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.6 apg, .440 3FG, .774 FT) and Danielle Jardine (11.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, GNAC-best .613 FG, .791 FT) ... despite taking a 4-game losing skid into Thursday’s home game against UAF, Central Washington has already clinched its spot in the GNAC Tournament, most likely as the No. 4 or 5 seed ... the Wildcats are led by Jasmin Edwards (12.0 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.4 spg, .323 3FG, .709 FT) and Sadie Mensing (12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, .755 FT).
ALL-TIME vs NNU: UAA leads 23-14
In Nampa: NNU leads 9-8
Last: UAA 78-68 (12/2/17 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 6
Notes: UAA has won three straight and seven of the last eight games in Nampa, including a 78-70 victory last February ... UAA leads 21-12 in GNAC regular-season meetings (since 2001-02) and 8-4 under head coach Ryan McCarthy … 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.
ALL-TIME vs CWU: UAA leads 28-15 overall
In Ellensburg: UAA leads 11-8
Last: UAA 70-58 (11/30/17 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 10
Notes: UAA has won 21 of the last 22 meetings, including 10 straight victories in Ellensburg ... CWU’s lone win this decade came 74-64, Jan. 19, 2013 in Anchorage ... UAA leads 23-10 in GNAC meetings and 10-1 under head coach Ryan McCarthy … teams have played at least once per season since 1998-99 … teams played three times from 1979-81 and did not meet again until 1997.
LAST TIME VS. NNU, CWU: UAA extended its GNAC regular-season winning streak to 22 games and survived the opening week of GNAC play with hard-fought home wins over Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene at the Alaska Airlines Center back on Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 ... in the league opener, Jr. C Hannah Wandersee had 17 points and 5 rebounds to lead a balanced effort in a 70-58 victory over the Wildcats ... Jr. G Tara Thompson scored 12 points (4-5 FG, 3-4 3FG) and dished 3 assists without a turnover, while So. PG Yazmeen Goo and Sr. G Rodericka Ware each tallied 8 points and 4 assists ... in Saturday’s showdown against NNU, the Seawolves got a career-high 27 points (12-17 FG) from Wandersee, and Goo powered a key 2nd-quarter run with 6 assists and a career-high 13 points (3-5 FG, 7-7 FT) in the 78-68 victory ... Sr. F Shelby Cloninger notched 18 points and 8 rebounds, Jr. G Kian McNair had career highs of 6 rebounds and 6 assists, and Thompson contributed 5 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists – again without a turnover.
WASHINGTONIANS WALLOPED: UAA completed its second straight unbeaten GNAC home campaign and avenged its lone GNAC loss this season with blowouts of Seattle Pacific and Saint Martin’s last week at the Alaska Airlines Center ... against the regionally 6th-ranked Falcons, Jr. G Kian McNair tallied a career-high 16 points (6-10 FG, 2-5 3FG) in just 15 minutes and Jr. C Hannah Wandersee had 12 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in the 73-47 decision ... So. PG Yazmeen Goo finished with 8 points (4-6 FG) and game highs of 6 rebounds, 7 assists and 5 steals as UAA posted edges of 43-28 on the boards and .477 to .315 FG% ... in the ‘senior night’ game Saturday, Wandersee delivered 21 points (9-12 FG), 9 rebounds and 4 blocks, and Sr. G Rodericka Ware had 15 points (5-8 3FG) to help UAA to equal its season-high scoring output in a 95-60 win over the Saints ... Sr. F Shelby Cloninger snapped out of her recent shooting slump with 13 points (6-10 FG), McNair added 11 points and 5 steals, and Goo collected 7 assists and 5 steals with just one turnover as UAA beat SMU for the eighth straight time.
WINNING WAYS: UAA is a combined 78-4 – including 35-2 on the road – in GNAC regular-season and tournament games over the last four seasons ... at 121-9 (.931), the Seawolves have the most victories and the best winning percentage in NCAA Div. II since 2014-15 ... the Seawolves have clinched the program’s 12th consecutive winning season and will undoubtedly earn their 11th NCAA Tournament berth in 12 years ... the loss at SPU on Jan. 20 snapped GNAC regular-season win streaks of 33 overall (including GNAC Tourney), 29 overall (not including GNAC Tourney) and 23 straight on the road ... UAA has won 20 consecutive GNAC home contests, posting perfect 10-0 marks the last two seasons ... UAA has gone a combined 168-14 (.923) in the last 11 seasons on its home courts ... the loss to Sonoma State snapped a 41-game winning streak against Div. II non-conference opponents in the regular season, marking the first such setback since Ryan McCarthy’s Seawolf coaching debut, Nov. 9, 2012, against Colorado Mines.
NIFTY NUMBERS: The Seawolves hold nine top-40 national stats ranks, including seven top-25 marks ... UAA is 4th in steals per game (14.5) and assists per game (19.6), 10th in turnover margin (+7.36) and turnovers forced per game (23.1), 16th in assist/turnover ratio (1.26), 22nd scoring margin (+16.1) and 25th in scoring offense (77.0) ... the Seawolves are attempting to lead the nation in steals for the fifth consecutive season, although they currently trail defending national champ Ashland (17.6) by a wide margin ... in the GNAC stats, UAA leads in six categories and ranks No. 2 in three others.
SURE-SHOT SHELBY: Sr. F Shelby Cloninger has proven GNAC coaches correct so far as a GNAC Preseason All-Conference pick, standing as UAA’s second-leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) ... with 18 double-figure scoring efforts in her 22 appearances – including successive career highs of 19 points against Div. I Maryland Eastern Shore, 22 at UAF and 26 at Simon Fraser – she holds GNAC ranks of 10th in scoring, 12th in rebounding, 4th in FT% (.865), 8th in FG% (.477), 6th in 3FG% (.391) and 15th in 3FGs per game (1.5) ... the Kamiah, Idaho, native also has 11 games with at least 7 rebounds this year, including 10 against MSU Billings and Western State, nine at Simon Fraser and at Seattle Pacific, and a career-high 12 at Western Washington ... in late November, Cloninger claimed GCI Great Alaska Shootout Most Outstanding Player and GNAC Player of the Week honors after leading the Seawolves to the final tournament title, and she picked up the GNAC weekly award for Jan. 29-Feb. 4 for her effort in home wins over UAF and MSUB ... a transfer from North Idaho College after playing at Div. I Utah State, Cloninger holds UAA career ranks of 3rd in FT% (.821) and 11th in 3FGs per game (1.3), 12th in 3FG% (.355) and 19th in 3FGs made (71).
WANDERSEE WONDERFUL: A reserve in 66 of 71 career games before this year, Jr. C Hannah Wandersee has entered the starting 5 and delivered in a big way, ranking 5th in the GNAC in scoring (14.5 ppg), leading the league in blocks (1.5 bpg), and ranking 2nd in FG% (.520), 7th in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and 20th in FT% (.744) ... she collected GNAC co-Player of the Week for her efforts against Hawaii Pacific and Cal State LA, earned the Seawolf Hoops Classic Most Outstanding Player award the following week, and made the GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team – in November alone ... the Kodiak product had her first career double-double against a Div. II opponent with 24 points and 11 rebounds against Hawaii Pacific, grabbed her second (16 pts/career-high 13 rebs) in the win at Saint Martin’s, and just missed a third with 9 rebounds and a career-high 32 points in the 86-78 win at WOU ... along with a 27-point effort against Northwest Nazarene, she now has five career 20-plus games ... with more than a year to play, Wandersee already owns UAA career top-10 marks in FT% (9th, .790), (FG%, 6th, .520), blocks (6th, 79), blocks per game (8th, 0.81) and victories (9th, 91).
FEELIN’ GOO: Following one of the most productive rookie campaigns for a point guard in program history, So. PG Yazmeen Goo has blossomed into a scoring threat as well, tallying double figures in eight of the last 20 games – including successive career-highs of 11 points against Western State, 13 points against Northwest Nazarene, 14 at Western Washington and 15 at Saint Martin’s ... the Bay Area native earned all-tournament honors at both the Seawolf Hoops Classic and the GCI Great Alaska Shootout, while her 90 free throws made are 8th-most in the GNAC ... Goo leads the league with 3.2 steals per game (11th nationally) and assist-turnover ratio (2.3, 19th nationally), and ranks 4th in assists per game (4.4) ... Goo and UAA have also gotten a boost with the return of Sr. SG Kaitlyn Hurley, who missed the second half of last season ... a dangerous scorer from anywhere on the court, Hurley has started eight contests, posting 5.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 1.6 apg, along with nine blocked shots ... the Utah native and Snow College transfer scored a season-high 16 points in the win over Div. I Maryland Eastern Shore, and she had a clutch performance in the win at Western Washington with 10 points (4-7 FG, 2-3 3FG), no turnovers and no fouls in 19 minutes.
TNT IS DANGEROUS: Whether it’s her deadeye three-point stroke or her solid all-around game, Jr. G Tara (N.) Thompson has been one of the most effective contributors to UAA’s run of success, ranking 10th in program history with 89 victories and currently checking in as UAA’s 5th-leading scorer with 6.9 ppg ... the 2nd-leading scorer (8.9 ppg) on last year’s 30-win team and a bench contributor on UAA’s 2016 NCAA Runner-Up squad, Thompson ranks 7th in the GNAC in both 3FG% (.387) and 3FGs per game (1.7), boosted by an 8-of-12 effort in the win at Notre Dame de Namur and a school-record-tying 6-of-6 display at MSU Billings ... the former Dimond High star led the GNAC in 3FG% last season ... with a .396 career 3FG%, Thompson ranks 6th in UAA history and 11th in GNAC history, while her 157 total 3FGs are also 6th on the all-time Seawolf list and just seven shy of the No. 5 spot.
TRANSFER TRAIN’S A-CHUGGIN’: UAA’s three active transfers – Sr. G Rodericka Ware (Academy of Art), Jr. G Kian McNair (Portland State) and Jr. G Sydni Stallworth (2-time 1st Team NJCAA All-American at Pima CC) – have all made major impacts ... Ware began her career at Central Arizona College before earning First Team All-Pacific West Conference honors last year with Art U, posting 17.4 ppg, 4.0 apg and a league-leading 2.8 3FGs made per game ... the Lakewood, Wash., native has scored double figures in 11 of 24 games as a Seawolf and dished at least four assists in 10 contests, including 19 points, 5 assists and 5 steals against Holy Names, and 13 points and 6 assists at MSU Billings ... UAA’s 3rd-leading scorer (9.4 ppg), Ware currently holds GNAC ranks of 4th in steals (2.1 spg), 13th in assists (2.8 apg), 7th in 3FGs per game (1.7) and 9th in 3FG% (.371) ... McNair led Portland State with 11.3 ppg as a freshman and recorded 18 double-digit scoring efforts in 57 career games with the Vikings ... the Vallejo, Calif., product found her scoring touch with season highs of 14 points (6-12 FG) at UAF in early December, 15 points (3-3 3FG, 6-6 FT) against Western Oregon in January, and 16 points (6-10 FG) in the win over SPU ... McNair has shown the ability to stuff the stat sheet, with other season highs of 7 rebounds vs. MSUB and 6 assists against both NNU and Eastern Shore ... McNair is 2nd in the GNAC and ranks 27th nationally with 2.8 steals per game, swiping seven in the win over Maryland Eastern Shore, and she is 17th in the league with 2.4 assists per game ... Stallworth has also provided a big lift off the bench, ranking as UAA’s 8th-leading scorer (5.7 ppg) ... with 2.5 apg (16th in GNAC), the Tucson, Ariz., native is one of five Seawolves averaging more than 2.0 apg – dishing a season-high 6 assists against Holy Names – and she keyed UAA’s 4th-quarter run in the GCI Great Alaska Shootout title-game win over Tulsa with 6 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals.
FEELIN’ FRESH: The future looks bright as UAA’s three true freshmen are already making early contributions, including Pacifica, Calif., product Sala Langi, who ranks third on the team and leads all GNAC freshmen with 4.2 rebounds per game ... former Chugiak High all-state guard Nicole Pinckney tallied 12 points in the Seawolf Hoops Classic and was a key player in UAA’s GCI Great Alaska Shootout title run, and lately she has played a big role in GNAC wins over Western Oregon and UAF (9 pts in each game) and Simon Fraser (combined for 9 assists in the two wins) ... meanwhile, former East High star Tennae Voliva has posted season highs of 7 points and 7 rebounds thus far, along with a clutch efforts in both wins over MSU Billings.
McCARTHY IN CHARGE: Now in his sixth season at UAA and seventh overall as a head coach, Ryan McCarthy has led the Seawolf program to new heights, capturing three straight GNAC regular-season and tournament titles and ascending as high as No. 1 or No. 2 in the national rankings in every season since 2014-15 ... McCarthy earned his second GNAC Coach of the Year honor in the last three seasons in 2016-17 and ‘three-peated’ as the WBCA’s NCAA Div. II West Region Coach of the Year ... in 2016-17, the Anchorage native took UAA to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year (including three straight top-2 regional seeds), posting its second straight 30-win season (30-2) and recording the first 20-0 league record in GNAC history ... the previous season, McCarthy’s crew set an NCAA Div. II record with 38 victories, advancing all the way to the 2016 National Title Game in Indianapolis ... his 2014-15 club claimed what was then 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) his first four seasons and has increased the Seawolves’ GNAC victory total every year (11, 12, 17, 18, 20) … playing its up-tempo ‘Mayhem’ style, McCarthy’s 2016-17 crew has also led the nation in steals per game for four straight seasons ... McCarthy sports a head-coaching record of 155-28 (.847) at UAA and 169-41 (.805) overall, having served in an interim capacity at Northwest Nazarene in 2011-12 … McCarthy is assisted by 6th-year associate head coach Shaina Afoa, 1st-year assistant and former Seawolf standout Alysha Devine, and 4th-year volunteer assistant Patrick Flanigin.
2017-18 SEAWOLF INDIVIDUAL HONORS
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GCI Great Alaska Shootout Player of the Game vs Md. Eastern Shore
GCI Great Alaska Shootout Most Outstanding Player
GNAC Player of the Week, Nov. 20-26
GNAC Player of the Week, Jan. 30-Feb. 4
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
GNAC co-Player of the Week, Nov. 6-12
Seawolf Hoops Classic Most Outstanding Player
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team