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

8th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships
Mar. 1-3 — Alaska Airlines Center — Anchorage, Alaska
(All times listed as Alaska Standard Time)
Thursday, Mar. 1 – Quarterfinals
5:15 pm: #5 seed Central Washington (15-13, 11-9) vs #4 seed Montana State Billings (19-11, 12-8)
7:30 pm: #6 seed Simon Fraser (14-14, 9-11) vs #3 seed Seattle Pacific (21-6, 15-5)
Friday, Mar. 2 – Semifinals
5:15 pm: CWU/MSUB winner vs #2 seed Alaska Anchorage (25-3, 18-2)
7:30 pm: SFU/SPU winner vs #1 seed Northwest Nazarene (22-3, 18-2)
Saturday, Mar. 3 – Championship Game
7:30 pm: Semifinal winners

LIVE VIDEOSTREAM: Quarterfinals and semifinals on GNAC.tv ... title game on ESPN3

LIVE STATS: All games at GNAC.tv

SOCIAL MEDIA: Check the @gnacsports Twitter feed for in-game updates from all GNAC tourney games, plus @UAAWBB for updates from UAA games.

UAA PROBABLE STARTERS (2017-18 stats)
G—Yazmeen Goo, 5-10, So. (8.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 4.3 apg, 3.1 spg, .478 FG, .698 FT)
G—Tara Thompson, 5-7, Jr. (6.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.9 apg, .403 FG, .383 3FG)
G—Kian McNair, 5-5, Jr. (6.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.9 spg, .701 FT)
F—Shelby Cloninger, 6-0, Sr. (13.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.1 apg, 1.2 spg, .471 FG, .404 3FG, .873 FT)
F—Hannah Wandersee, 6-1, Jr. (14.6 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 apg, 1.5 bpg, .522 FG, .758 FT)

GNAC TITLE, NCAA PLAYOFF RACE: With a No. 1 regional ranking as of last week, the Seawolves are virtually guaranteed a spot in the Mar. 9-12 NCAA Div. II West Regional Championships, regardless of whether they earn the GNAC’s automatic berth this week ... the winners of the GNAC, Pac West and CCAA tournaments, along with the next five teams in the West Region rankings, will make the NCAA’s ‘Big Dance.’

KNOW THE FOES: Third-seeded Seattle Pacific has won five of its last six heading into the GNAC Tournament, likely cementing its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2015 ... one of two teams to hand UAA a GNAC loss this season, the Falcons are led by Sr. G Jordan McPhee (14.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.2 apg, 2.0 spg, .769 FT) and Sr. F Courtney Hollander (12.1 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.2 apg, .354 3FG, .797 FT) ... Simon Fraser rallied to win its last three games -- beating CWU in overtime and WWU and MSUB by a combined five points -- to claim the sixth and final seed for the GNAC Tournament ... needing to win GNACs to advance to the NCAAs, the Clan are led by Jr. F Sophie Swant (14.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.7 spg, .894 FT) and Jr. C Tayla Jackson (12.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, .490 FG, .769 FT).

ALL-TIME vs SPU: UAA leads 36-28
In Anchorage: UAA leads 20-13
Last: UAA 73-47 (2/15/18 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 1
Notes: SPU’s 66-48 win in Seattle on Jan. 20 snapped an 11-game losing skid to UAA and was the Falcons’ largest margin of victory since Feb. 23, 2006 ... UAA’s 11-game streak was its longest against SPU and 4th-longest against any opponent ... UAA has won 15 of the last 17 overall, including 76-68 in last year’s GNAC Tournament semifinals in Lacey, Wash. ... teams have met 27 times since Jan. 2008, including three times in the NCAA Division II West Regionals and twice in the GNAC Tournament … SPU leads 19-15 in GNAC regular-season meetings (since 2001-02), taking the first 11 encounters … UAA leads 12-1 under head coach Ryan McCarthy and 2-0 in the GNAC Tournament ... 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 SFU: UAA leads 17-8
In Anchorage: UAA leads 8-3
Last: UAA 82-68 (1/27/18 at UAA)
Streak: UAA 2
Notes: UAA has won nine of the last 11, although both of SFU’s wins have come in stunning, upset form, including last year’s 90-80 NCAA Second Round decision against No. 2-ranked UAA in Anchorage ... the Clan also pulled a 67-66 shocker in Anchorage against No. 1-ranked UAA to close the 2015-16 regular season – the Seawolves’ last GNAC home loss ... Seawolves lead 3-0 in GNAC Tournament meetings, winning in the semis in 2012, 2015 and 2016 ... UAA leads 11-5 in regular-season meetings since SFU joined the GNAC in the 2010-11 season, and 10-5 under head coach Ryan McCarthy ... first meeting was a 65-61 UAA win in Moscow, Idaho, Nov. 28, 1981.

GNAC TOURNEY HISTORY: The Seawolves have captured five of the first seven GNAC Tournament titles ... UAA has an 11-2 record in GNAC Tourney games, including 5-0 marks in both the semifinal and final rounds ... last year, UAA beat Seattle Pacific (76-68) and Western Washington (79-70) in Lacey, Wash., becoming the first women’s team to ‘3-peat’ at the league tourney ... Autummn Williams earned MVP honors with averages of 24.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg and 4.5 spg, including 28 points in the title-game win over the Vikings ... then-So. G Tara Thompson averaged 12.5 ppg on 7-of-9 3FG shooting and 5.0 rpg, tying her career high with 17 against WWU, while then-Jr. F Shelby Cloninger (9.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 3-7 3FG) and then-So. F/C Hannah Wandersee (8.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) delivered in clutch roles off the bench.

GNAC Women’s Basketball Championships Results
Year Champ Rnr-Up Score Site MVP
2017 UAA   WWU    79-70 SMU  A.Williams, UAA
2016 UAA   MSUB   77-57 SMU  K.Robertson, UAA
2015 UAA   WWU    71-58 MSUB K. Robertson, UAA
2014 WWU   SFU    78-74 SMU  Jenni White, WWU
2013 WWU   SFU    60-40 SMU  T.Williams, WWU
2012 UAA   WWU    67-52 SMU  H. Holmstead, UAA
2011 UAA   WWU    68-67 WWU  K. McBride, UAA

WINNING WAYS: The Seawolves have won at least 25 games for the program-record fourth straight season ... UAA is a combined 79-5 – including 36-3 on the road – in GNAC regular-season and tournament games over the last four seasons ... at 122-10 (.924), 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 regular 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-50 national stats ranks, including seven top-25 marks ... UAA is 4th in assists per game (19.2), 5th in steals per game (14.2), 11th in turnover margin (+7.5), 14th in turnovers forced per game (22.6), 18th in assist/turnover ratio (1.23), 22nd scoring offense (77.3) and 25th in scoring margin (+14.5) ... 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 four others.

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 4th in the GNAC in scoring (14.6 ppg), leading the league in blocks (1.5 bpg), and ranking 3rd in FG% (.522), 8th in rebounding (6.4 rpg) and 18th in FT% (.758) ... 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 ... led by a 27-point effort against Northwest Nazarene, she now has six career 20-plus games ... with more than a year to play, Wandersee already owns UAA career top-10 marks in FT% (7th, .796), (FG%, 6th, .520), blocks (6th, 82), blocks per game (7th, 0.82) and victories (9th, 92).

SURE-SHOT SHELBY: Sr. F Shelby Cloninger has proven GNAC coaches correct as a GNAC Preseason All-Conference pick, standing as UAA’s second-leading scorer (13.3 ppg) and rebounder (6.4 rpg) ... with 19 double-figure scoring efforts in her 25 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 and rebounding, 3rd in FT% (.873), 11th in FG% (.471), 4th in 3FG% (.404) and 11th in 3FGs per game (1.7) ... the Kamiah, Idaho, native also has 13 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), 11th in 3FGs per game (1.4) and 3FG% (.363) and 17th in 3FGs made (77).

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 10 of the last 22 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, and she leads the Seawolves with 90 free throws made ... Goo leads the GNAC in 3.1 steals per game (11th nationally) and assist-turnover ratio (2.11, 22nd nationally), and ranks 5th in assists per game (4.3) ... 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 5.5 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 90 victories and currently checking in as UAA’s 6th-leading scorer with 6.6 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 6th in the GNAC in 3FG% (.383) and 10th in 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 .395 career 3FG%, Thompson ranks 7th in UAA history and 11th in GNAC history, while her 158 total 3FGs are also 6th on the all-time Seawolf list and just six 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 26 games as a Seawolf and dished at least four assists in 11 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 (8.9 ppg), Ware currently holds GNAC ranks of 5th in steals (2.0 spg), 11th in assists (2.8 apg), 12th in 3FGs per game (1.7) and 12th in 3FG% (.361) ... 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 22nd nationally with 2.9 steals per game, swiping seven in the win over Maryland Eastern Shore, and she is 19th in the league with 2.3 assists per game ... Stallworth has also provided a big lift off the bench, ranking as UAA’s 7th-leading scorer (5.6 ppg) ... with 2.4 apg (17th 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 4.1 rebounds per game ... Langi has come on especially strong in the last two weeks, tallying successive career highs of 10 points at NNU and 13 points and CWU ... 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 156-29 (.843) at UAA and 170-42 (.802) 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
Shelby Cloninger
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
Yazmeen Goo
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
GCI Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Kian McNair
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team
Tara Thompson
Preseason All-GNAC Team
GNAC All-Academic Team
Hannah Wandersee
GNAC co-Player of the Week, Nov. 6-12
Seawolf Hoops Classic Most Outstanding Player
Rodericka Ware
Seawolf Hoops Classic All-Tournament Team