Coming off last week's runner-up finish against Division I opponents in the Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout, the UAA women's basketball team won't find the going gets much easier when Great Northwest Athletic Conference play begins this week.
UAA (5-1) will be tested Thursday, when the Seawolves host GNAC preseason favorite Montana State-Billings (5-2) at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex at 7 p.m. Saturday, the Seawolves host sixth-ranked Seattle Pacific (6-0) at 5:15 p.m.
UAA has found success against Billings in recent years, winning the last six meetings in Anchorage, including a 61-55 victory last season. Since the Yellowjackets joined the GNAC in 2007, UAA is 11-1 against them, but Billings owns a 25-24 edge in the all-time series.
UAA, ranked sixth in the GNAC preseason coaches' poll, began the season on a five-game win streak that included a victory over UC Riverside in the first round of the Shootout last week. It was the seventh time in eight seasons the Seawolves earned at least one victory in the four-team tournament. UAA's first loss of the season came against Georgetown in the Shootout final.
Point guard Kiki Robertson garnered all-tournament team honors at the Shootout, after recording 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and seven steals in the double-overtime win over Riverside. Robertson's 5.3 steals per game is the second best in the nation, and her 7.2 assists per game are ranked sixth.
Alli Madison leads UAA in scoring with 17.7 points per game, Robertson averages 14.2, Jessica Madison averages 12 and Kylie Burns averages 10. Burns, UAA's only four-year player, scored a career high 23 points against Georgetown.
UAA women's basketball coach Ryan McCarthy announced Wednesday that Idaho's Leah Bonner signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the Seawolves next season.
Bonner is a 6-foot forward from Nampa, Idaho who averaged 18.4 points and 10.4 rebounds as a sophomore and helped Skyview High reach the state tournament for the first time in four seasons. Bonner missed all of last season with a knee injury, but is healthy going into her senior season.
"She is a gifted scorer who has the ability to take over a game," McCarthy said in a press release. "I think Seawolf fans can expect big things from Leah Bonner over the next four years."