Basketball season came to end for the UAA women Wednesday night in Lacey, Wash., where the Seawolves suffered a sloppy 65-60 loss to Northwest Nazarene in the first round of Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament.
UAA (17-10), which was two-time defending champion at the conference tournament and came in as the fourth seed, turned over the ball 24 times at Marcus Pavilion and never led. The loss snapped the Seawolves' seven-game winning streak and was the second loss in three games this season against fifth-seeded Nazarene, where first-year UAA coach Ryan McCarthy was part of the coaching staff for the previous five seasons.
Nazarene (20-7) opened with a 9-2 run and held a relatively comfortable lead throughout until the Seawolves made things interesting at the end. After trailing 40-30 at halftime, UAA pulled within 60-58 with just more than two minutes to play when Sasha King fed a nice pass through traffic to a cutting Jessica Madison, who scored while drawing a foul and hit the subsequent free throw.
A pair of free throws put Nazarene up 62-58 and time ticked down to less than a minute when the teams traded turnovers. UAA took possession, but King lost her dribble on a drive to the rim and gave Nazarene the ball with 48 seconds to play. Nazarene ended its next possession with a free throw to extend the lead to five points.
Alysa Horn hit a layup to pull UAA within 63-60 with five seconds to go, but Nazarene's Heather Adams (10 points) swished two free throws to seal the win with 3.7 seconds to play.
Horn and King combined for 37 points, Horn pumping in a game-high 20 and King nailing five 3-pointers on her way to 17. Usually, big production from the two seniors spells success for the Seawolves, but too many of UAA's possessions ended with passes sailing out of bounds or into the waiting arms of a defender. King also dished seven assists and grabbed five rebounds, but committed 11 turnovers. Jenna Buchanan finished with 10 points and just missed a double-double with a career high-tying nine rebounds.
Throughout the season, 3-point shooting was big part of UAA's offense and Wednesday was no different. King buried several treys from well beyond the arc, her biggest highlight coming on back-to-back bombs near the end of the first half to keep the Seawolves within striking distance.
Chelsie Luke buried three 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points for the Crusaders.
NNU (65) -- Hingston 6-15 2-3 14; Ferrenburg 2-3 0-0 4; Luke 5-17 3-3 16; Adams 3-8 2-2 10; Schierman 3-7 1-2 7; Schumann 0-0 0-0 0; Simmons 0-0 2-4 2; White 0-1 0-0 0; Skokankova 3-9 2-2 8; Swanson 0-0 0-0 0; Warwick 2-5 0-0 4. Totals -- 24-65 12-16 65.
UAA (60) -- Horn 8-14 3-5 20; Buchanan 5-7 0-0 10; King 6-17 0-0 17; Madison 2-7 1-1 6; Burns 1-3 0-0 2; Hutchins 0-0 0-0 0; Martin 2-6 0-0 5. Totals -- 24-54 4-6 60.
NNU 40 25 -- 65
UAA 30 30 -- 60
3-point field goals -- NNU 5-12 (Hingston 0-1; Luke 3-6; Adams 2-3; Schierman 0-2); UAA 8-19 (Horn 1-3; Buchanan 0-1; King 5-8; Madison 1-4; Martin 1-3). Rebounds -- NNU 35 (Hingston 7); UAA 39 (Burns, Buchanan 9). Total Fouls -- NNU 9; UAA 15; Assists -- NNU 13 (Luke 3); UAA 14 (King, 7). Turnovers -- NNU 13 (Luke, Skokankova 3); UAA 24 (King 11). Blocks -- NNU 3 (three with 1); UAA 4 (Horn 3). Steals -- NNU 12 (five with 2); UAA 7 (Horn 3). Officials -- McNew; Schmidt; Duncan. A -- 205.
UAA men's basketball
Men jump to eighth
After splitting a pair of road games last week, the UAA men's basketball team made a critical jump to No. 8 in the Division II West Region rankings, released Wednesday by the NCAA.
Reaching the top eight means the Seawolves will have a good shot at making the NCAA tournament in two weeks. Winners of this week's Great Northwest Athletic Conference, California Collegiate Athletic Association and Pacific West Conference tournaments earn spots in the West Regional Championships, along with the next five highest-ranked teams.
The only way UAA will be eliminated from NCAA tournament consideration is if a team ranked outside the West Region's top eight wins a conference tournament.
UAA, which was ranked ninth at the start of last week, lost at third-ranked Seattle Pacific, but followed with victory at Montana State-Billings to end the GNAC regular season. San Francisco State was ranked eighth at the start of last week, but lost two games to fall to 10th.
Top-ranked Western Washington and Seattle Pacific are the only other GNAC teams in the West Region's top eight.
UAA begins GNAC tournament play Thursday in Lacy, Wash., where the third-seeded Seawolves battle sixth-seeded Central Washington in a first-round game.