ANCHORAGE – Sophomore Sala Langi and junior Safiyyah Yasin scored 15 points apiece to lead a balanced effort for 10th-ranked Alaska Anchorage on Thursday, earning a historic win for head coach Ryan McCarthy with an 88-58 defeat of Saint Martin’s at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Seawolves (16-1, 8-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) got at least nine points from six different players and forced 30 Saints turnovers as they claimed their ninth straight victory – both overall and against the Saints – and saw McCarthy tie the program’s all-time victories mark with his 176th win at the helm.
The Saints (3-14, 1-8) were led by game highs of 16 points from Claire Dingus and nine rebounds from reserve Rebekah Baugh, but the visitors from Lacey, Wash., were outrebounded 40-29.
“It’s an honor just to be at UAA for the amount of time that I’ve been able to – this has always been a dream job of mine, growing up here,” said McCarthy, who improved to 176-32 in seven and a half seasons in Anchorage. “In terms of the win, it’s been the ladies who have gotten that done. A lot of players have made a lot of sacrifices to get the program to this point, so it’s really their accomplishment.”
The Seawolves took control of the game midway through the second quarter after Saint Martin’s nailed consecutive open three-pointers to slice its deficit to 25-21. A McCarthy timeout seemed to light a fire under his club, which responded with 22 of the next 24 points, holding the Saints without a field goal for over 10 minutes.
UAA forced 15 turnovers in each half and wound up with a season-high 25 steals, including eight from GNAC steals leader Kian McNair.
Yasin shot 5 of 6 from the field and 3 of 3 at the charity stripe to reach double figures for the ninth time this season, while Langi shot 5 of 9 and had seven rebounds and four assists in just 20 minutes.
The Seawolves also got a career-high 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting, plus eight rebounds, two assists and no turnovers from freshman Kimani Fernandez-Roy, and junior point guard Yazmeen Goo collected 11 points and four steals. Senior guard Tara Thompson added six assists and steals as UAA stayed a game behind unbeaten Northwest Nazarene atop the GNAC standings and extended its hold on second place to two games, thanks to Central Washington’s loss at Simon Fraser on Thursday.
McCarthy will have a chance to claim sole possession of his program’s victories mark when UAA hosts Seattle Pacific (6-10, 5-4) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center. Call 907-786-1562 or visit GoSeawolves.com or AlaskaAirlinesCenter.com for tickets.