Aggies drop Seawolves in title game

jpeters@adn.comNovember 21, 2012 

Tuesday's sizzle didn't carry over to Wednesday for the UAA women's basketball team.

After putting on a 3-point shooting clinic to beat North Dakota State in the first round of the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, the Seawolves missed their first nine field goals in the title game against Utah State in a 67-57 loss.

"I think we played a little bit timid," said UAA's Kylie Burns, who led the team with 14 points.

Utah State's Devyn Christensen put on a show, draining six 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 32 points and repeatedly breaking down the UAA defense with her ball handling. The nifty point guard fired 19 of Utah State's 49 shot attempts and added five rebounds, four steals and four assists to the win, capping a fun trip for the Aggies.

"I'm gonna go home bragging about our trophy and bragging about Anchorage and hope to come back in a couple years," first-year Utah State coach Jerry Finkbeiner said.

Utah State (2-3) was prepared for the Seawolves (3-2) to come out firing the way they did Tuesday, but Finkbeiner knew the Seawolves' starters logged a lot of minutes in the first-round win, so he implemented an up-tempo strategy to try and wear them down.

"We had 'em right where we wanted to, I thought, with about six or seven minutes to go with a 20 point lead and, bam, they come right back in," Finkbeiner said. "Credit to coach (Ryan) McCarthy and the girls. They're a very competitive group and they're gonna have a good season."

The Seawolves drilled three 3-pointers in the final three minutes of the game, with Sasha King nailing a trey to cut the lead to 63-57 with 35 seconds left. It was a too little, too late, however, as Utah State cemented the win from the free-throw line.

"We made a game out of it," McCarthy said. "It was one of those nights that the ball wouldn't go in the hole."

Whether a layup or a long bomb, the ball made a habit of bouncing all around the rim before falling on the wrong side. The bad bounces contributed to 31.3 percent shooting compared to Utah State's 44.9 percent.

UAA did still manage to break the Shootout record for 3-pointers made and attempted in a four-team tournament. The Seawolves were 24 of 68 in two games, beating the old record of 17 made treys shared by UAA, Iowa and Gonzaga and the 49 attempted by UAA in 2008.

Jessica Madison finished with 12 points for the Seawolves, and Alysa Horn pulled in a game-high 10 rebounds. Burns gathered eight rebounds to help the Seawolves win the battle of the boards 37-36. UAA also disrupted Utah State's offense enough to cause 22 turnovers.

The Seawolves fell behind by as much as 18 points in the first half, before back-to-back treys from Madison pulled them to within 28-16. A jump shot from Horn and a 3-pointer from Jordan Martin cut the deficit to 28-21, but Utah State scored five of its next eight points from the free-throw line to forge a 35-25 halftime lead. Utah State's Cristal Turner was fouled attempting a 3-pointer 2.1 seconds before the break and she made all three foul shots that followed.

Wasilla's Jenna Johnson finished with six points, four steals and two assists for the Aggies and was continually in the middle of the action.

"I'm not saying this cause she's the local girl with a triumphant return, but she is the heart of our team," Finkbeiner said. "On the court, off the court she takes care of her teammates and represents us. She's the real deal."

 

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

UTAH STATE (67) -- Christensen 9-19 8-9 32; Johnson 2-9 2-2 6; Williams 2-3 0-0 4; Bairstow 2-4 0-0 4; Vaaulu 3-5 0-0 6; Nelson 1-1 0-0 2; Schlott 2-5 3-4 7; Thompson 0-0 0-0 0; Furtado 0-1 0-0 0; Turner 1-2 3-3 6; Totals 22-49 16-18 67.

UAA (57) -- Harris 2-5 1-1 5; Buchanan 3-9 0-0 8; King 3-12 0-0 8; Horn 2-18 1-2 5; Burns 5-12 3-4 14; Brewster 0-0 0-0 0; Hutchins 0-0 0-0 0; Martin 2-5 0-0 5; Madison 4-6 0-0 12; Totals 21-67 5-7 57.

UTAH STATE 35 32 -- 67

UAA 25 32 -- 57

3-point goals -- Utah State 7-25 (Christensen 6-14, Johnson 0-5, Bairstow 0-1, Vaaulu 0-1; Schlott 0-1; Furtado 0-1; Turner 1-2.) UAA 10-36 (Buchanan 2-6; King 2-11; Horn 0-5; Burns 1-7; Martin 1-1; Madison 4-6). Rebounds -- Utah State 36 (Turner 6); UAA 37 (Horn 10, Buchanan 9). Total fouls -- Utah State 11, UAA 15. Fouled out -- Harris. Assists -- Utah State 14 (Christensen 4); UAA 20 (Buchanan, King, 5). Turnovers -- Utah State 22 (Christensen, Williams 4); UAA 19 (Harris, King, Burns 4). Steals -- Utah State 14 (Christensen, Johnson 4); UAA 9 (four player with 2). Blocked shots -- Utah State 5 (Turner 2, Vaaulu 2); UAA 2 (King 2). Referees -- Jump, Lujan, Mcnew A -- 4,221 (announced).

 

 

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