Alaska sports digest for Feb. 27

sports@adn.comFebruary 27, 2013 

UAA basketball

Critical games on tap

This week's final games of the regular season could be critical if UAA's men's and women's basketball teams are to make the NCAA Division II tournament -- both check in ninth in the latest West Region rankings, but will need to be ranked eighth or higher to have a good shot at making the national event.

The only way to reach the NCAA tournament from outside the top eight is to win next week's Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.

The UAA women, who are riding a six-game winning streak, were unranked prior to this week. The UAA men were ranked eighth last week, but dropped a spot after a loss to top-ranked Western Washington.

Both UAA teams close their regular season on the road, the men visiting third-ranked Seattle Pacific on Thursday and Montana State-Billings on Saturday. The women will travel to Fairbanks to play UAF on Saturday.

The final regional rankings will be released March 6, before the NCAA selection committee announces the playoff fields March 10.

UAA nets five awards

Five UAA basketball players made the GNAC All-Academic teams announced Wednesday.

Liam Gibcus, Kyle Fossman and Chris Weitzel represented the UAA men, and Alysa Horn and Kylie Burns were honored from the women's team. Gibcus and Horn, both seniors, each earned their third straight awards.

Gibcus, a civil engineering major, was one of four men to post a GPA of 3.8 or better. The 6-foot-10 center leads the Seawolves with 6.8 rebounds per game and averages 11.6 points.

Horn, a 6-foot forward majoring in physical education, posted a 3.67 GPA while averaging 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

Fossman owns a 3.50 GPA, good enough for the junior accounting major to pick up his second straight all-academic honor. Weitzel, a senior, posted a 3.23 GPA in business management. Burns, a junior, achieved a 3.45 GPA in dietetics.

snowboarding

Stassel reaches final

A late entry from the wait list at the Burton U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Vail, Colo., Anchorage's Ryan Stassel made the most of his opportunity. He took 10th in Wednesday's slopestyle semifinals with a score of 77.23, good enough to secure a spot in Friday's finals.

Norway's Torstein Horgmo posted Wednesday's best score at 87.97.

The finals will be broadcast live via webcast at burton.com.

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