HILO, Hawaii – Seniors Kian McNair and Tara Thompson combined for 23 points to lead a balanced Alaska Anchorage attack Tuesday in a 75-58 women’s basketball victory over Holy Names at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
The nationally 14th-ranked Seawolves (8-1) also got 10 points, six rebounds and four assists from Great Northwest Athletic Conference Preseason Player of the Year Hannah Wandersee as she surpassed the 1,000-point mark for her career in the victory.
Holy Names (1-11) was led by a game-high 21 points from guard Ariana Hernandez, who sank five three-pointers to keep the Hawks within striking distance until the fourth quarter.
“Our shooting touch was not there tonight, but I was pleased with our intensity and our hustle tonight,” said Ryan McCarthy, who improved to 168-32 in his 200th game as UAA’s head coach. “We did a nice job controlling the boards and we were able to regain momentum each time they made a run at us.”
UAA led virtually throughout, taking a 22-11 lead after one quarter. Wandersee converted a short jumper in the paint to forge a 33-17 advantage late in the first half and become the 17th player in program history -- dating to the 1977-78 season – to eclipse 1,000 career points.
After a slow start to the second half, the Seawolves finally took control midway through the fourth quarter when McNair drove the lane for a layup and drew a foul with 6:52 left, making it 54-46. A missed free throw led to an extra possession and another layup from sophomore forward Tennae Voliva to push the lead to double digits, where it would remain for the last five minutes.
Playing her first game as a Seawolf after suffering a preseason ankle injury, Washington State transfer Cameron Fernandez gave UAA its largest lead, 74-55, with a putback bucket in the waning minutes. The sophomore wound up with nine points in her Seawolf debut, while junior guard Safiyyah Yasin chipped in 11 points and two assists off the bench.
The Seawolves conclude their brief stay on the Big Island on Wednesday when they face host Hawaii-Hilo at Afook-Chinen Auditorium at 6:30 p.m. AST.