UAA women's basketball team rolls Billings

jpeters@adn.omDecember 5, 2013 

Those preseason polls can never be trusted.

The UAA women’s basketball team, picked sixth in the preseason Great Northwest Athletic Conference coaches’ poll, kicked off league play with a lopsided upset Thursday.

The Seawolves cruised to a 90-59 win over preseason favorite Montana State-Billings at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex in the conference opener for both teams.

“Everybody feels really good about this win,” said UAA coach Ryan McCarthy. “Billings is a really good team. We flew around on defense and made some big plays.”

The Seawolves used their familiar up-tempo style to put pressure on Billings and McCarthy said it might have fatigued the Yellowjackets as the game progressed.

“I honesty don’t think there’s any team in as good a shape as us,” he said.

The key stretch came in the last five minutes of the first half, when the Seawolves went on an 18-6 run to lead 47-32 at the break. They followed with a 10-1 run to open the second half, holding Billings without a field goal for more than five minutes to lead 57-33.

By the time the Seawolves led 66-37 with 11:03 to play, Billings had made one field goal in the second frame and the game was all but over.

UAA improved to 6-1 on the season, its only loss coming against Division I Georgetown in the championship game of last week’s Carrs-Safeway Great Alaska Shootout.

Since the preseason GNAC poll was released in October, the Seawolves have used it as motivation every day McCarthy said, hoping to get a chance to prove everyone wrong.

“There could have been no outcome better than us getting picked sixth,” he said. “We can’t get too high off this win and think we don’t need to work hard anymore.”

Keke Wright and Emily Craft each posted 16 points for UAA, with Wright adding eight rebounds and Christina Davis distributing 11 assists.

Jessica Madison pumped in 15 points and Alli Madison deposited 13.

Wright and Craft each played as well as McCarthy has seen them play this season, and the performances came at a good time. The UAA front court came in a little thin, with forward Alysha Devine sitting out with a broken nose she suffered in practice.

“We let them know we were really counting on them this game,” McCarthy said.

Davis, who also scored seven points, did her damage off the bench. Starting point guard Kiki Robertson (three points) got in early foul trouble and only played 14 minutes. Davis’ performance is all the more impressive, because point guard isn’t her natural position, McCarthy said.

“Christina has worked really hard to get to the level she is at,” he said. “She gets to go against little Kiki in practice and they do a really good job of pushing each other.”

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Billings (5-3). Bobby Knudsen put up a game-high 17 points, Chelsea Banis scored 12 and Janiel Olsen hauled in seven rebounds.

A big key to the victory was UAA’s ability to contain Knudsen, McCarthy said. The senior was voted the GNAC preseason player of the year and came in averaging a team-high 13.4 points per game. She scored 10 of Thursday’s 17 when UAA was comfortably ahead in the second half.

The Seawolves will continue working their way down the list of preseason powers Saturday, when they take on preseason No. 2 Seattle Pacific. The Falcons, who are ranked sixth nationally, barely improved to 7-0 Thursday with a 71-68 win at UAF in the conference opener for both schools.

“We’re excited,” McCarthy said. “Not many people get the opportunity to play the No. 6 team in the country.” 

 

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

 

Billings (59) — Olson 3-7 0-0 7; Goggins 1-6 2-2 4; Banis 4-5 4-8 12; Knudsen 4-10 8-8 17; DePuydt 3-11 2-2 8; Hanser 1-5 2-2 4; Peoples 1-6 0-0 3; Breen 0-3 1-2 1; Kumm 0-2 0-0 0; Capouch 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 19-58 19-24 59.

UAA (90) — A. Madison 3-7 5-6 13; Wright 4-6 8-9 16; Burns 2-6 0-0 6; Robertson 1-2 1-2 3; J. Madison 5-10 2-2 15; Castle 0-0 0-0 0; Davis 3-5 0-0 7; Hutchins 2-4 2-2 7; Buchanan 3-7 0-0 7; Craft 8-10 0-0 16. Totals  31-57 18-21 90.

Billings 32  27   —  59

UAA 47  43   —  90

3-point goals — Billings 2-18 (Olson 0-1; Goggins 0-2; Knudsen 1-4; DePuydt 0-2; Hanser 0-1; Peoples 1-6; Breen 0-1; Kumm 0-1); UAA 10-21 (A. Madison 2-4; Burns 2-3; J. Madison 3-6; Davis 1-2; Hutchins 1-3; Buchanan 1-3). Rebounds — Billings 29 (Olson 7); UAA 38 (Wright 8). Total fouls — Billings 17; UAA 22. Fouled out — Breen, A. Madison. Assists — Billings 13 (six with 2); UAA 24 (Davis 11). Turnovers — Billings 20 (Knudsen 5); UAA 21 (three with 4). Blocks — Billings 7 (Banis 4); UAA 5 (Craft 3). Steals — Billings 8 (Knudsen 3); UAA 10 (Wright 3). Officals — Mott, Tovoli, McCourt

 

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