ANCHORAGE – Junior guard Safiyyah Yasin came off the bench with a career-high 20 points and senior guard Kian McNair recorded personal bests in assists and steals Thursday to propel the 14th-ranked Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team to a 70-55 win over Simon Fraser at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Playing their first game since Dec. 19, the Seawolves (10-1, 2-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) also got 14 points from senior guard Tara Thompson to help the hosts rally from a third-quarter deficit.
The Clan (5-5, 1-2) were led by 10 points and 10 rebounds from sophomore forward Ozioma Nwabako, but the rest of her teammates shot just 16 of 50 from the field and committed 34 turnovers – the most by a UAA opponent this season.
“I was pleased to see the way we responded to adversity tonight, especially against such a talented opponent,” said UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy, whose team extended its GNAC home winning streak to 21 games. “Simon Fraser had all the momentum there early in the third quarter, but Tara hit a couple huge threes and Safiyyah really stepped up her scoring and defense when we needed it most.”
The first half was a tale of two quarters, with UAA jumping to a 20-6 lead after 10 minutes. After both teams went without a field goal for five minutes, SFU turned up the heat with a 22-6 run over the final 4:50 of the half to forge a 28-28 tie.
The Clan continued their momentum early in the third, going up 33-28 on a three-pointer from Jessica Jones at the 7:45 mark. Thompson answered with back-to-back treys, however, and McNair drove for a traditional three-point play to make it 37-36.
Tied 45-45 with a minute left in the quarter, Hannah Wandersee gave the Seawolves the lead for good with two free throws, and Thompson drained another trey for a 50-45 edge.
The Seawolves dominated in the fourth quarter – getting six points from Yasin in the first two minutes – and led by double digits for the final 8:12.
McNair finished with eight assists and tied the UAA program record for most steals against an NCAA Div. II and GNAC opponent with nine swipes. The Seawolf record of 10 steals in a game was set by Stacie Cepin against NAIA opponent The Master’s College, Feb. 15, 1998.
Yasin shot 8 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 3 from long range, as she topped her previous best of 16 points from the season-opening win over Holy Names in San Francisco.
Meanwhile, Wandersee finished with 10 points and five rebounds, becoming the 10th player in 42 years of program history to accumulate at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds with her first board of the game.
The Seawolves return to the Alaska Airlines Center on Saturday to face Western Washington (8-3, 3-0) at 7:30 p.m. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.