Another Great Northwest Athletic Conference basketball game, another upset for the UAA women's basketball team.
The Seawolves handed the sixth-ranked NCAA Division II team in the nation its first loss Saturday, taking down Seattle Pacific 77-65 at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex.
The big win came two days after UAA, picked sixth on the GNAC coaches' preseason poll, opened league play with a 31-point blowout of preseason favorite Montana State-Billings.
"It's pretty huge, because we are trying to show what we got and prove we are a better team," said UAA junior center Emily Craft, who scored 10 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. "We fully knew what to expect. We had a great game plan."
UAA (7-1, 2-0 GNAC) led from start to finish in a game that began as a defensive battle and picked up pace gradually.
Alli Madison raced up and down the court and used aggressive drives to accumulate a team-high 21 points, scoring 11 from the free throw line. That helped the Seawolves overcome an impressive game from Seattle Pacific's Katie Benson, who racked up 26 points and 12 rebounds.
Benson is one of four players listed at 6-foot-2 for Seattle Pacific. UAA has two listed at 6-1 and everyone else is shorter than 6 feet, but the Seawolves still managed to outrebound the Falcons 59-42.
The Seawolves worked on boxing out all week, the 6-1 Craft said, and six players tracked down at least six rebounds for UAA, including 5-5 point guard Kiki Robertson, who gathered nine.
"Just go for the ball and want it more than they did," Craft said.
The Falcons (7-1, 1-1) made some runs in the second half, twice trimming UAA's lead to two, but the Seawolves answered quickly each time.
UAA led 60-58 after a Benson jumper with 5:30 to play, but Madison drove hard for a layup to put UAA back up 62-58 and Keke Wright made it 64-58 two possessions later with a nice offensive rebound and put back.
With just more than three minutes to play, Madison swished a pair of free throws to put UAA up 66-58. Robertson scored the next four points from the foul line after causing a commotion on defense that led to turnovers and fouls by the Falcons.
With 2:02 to play and UAA leading 70-58, Robertson forced a turnover by diving to the floor and tying up the ball. The crowd stood to applaud the hustle, clearly sensing a victory.
Adhering to fundamentals like boxing out and taking care of the ball was the key to pulling away at the end, said UAA's Jessica Madison, who hit several big shots on her way to 12 points. UAA didn't shoot particularly well at 32 percent, but it won the turnover battle 17-11 and attempted 32 free throws to the Falcons' 15.
UAA has almost two weeks off before hosting the nonconference AT&T Hoops Classic and won't play another GNAC game until it travels to Northwest Nazarene for a Jan. 2 game. Knocking off two mighty foes to start the GNAC season put a lot smiles on Seawolves' faces, and Jessica Madison said it was a big confidence boost.
"It'll set the tone for the rest of the season," she said.
Reach Jeremy Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 257-4335.
SEATTLE PACIFIC (65) -- Pflaumer 3-6 1-1 7, Benson 10-20 6-6 26, Ohlsen 2-12 4-4 10, Lasconia 5-11 1-2 11, Kingma 5-15 0-0 10, Lukasiewicz 0-3 0-0 0, Grager 0-0 1-2 1, Rodrigues 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 25-70 13-15 65.
UAA (77) -- Wright 3-8 0-1 6, Burns 2-9 4-4 8, A. Madison 5-14 11-12 21, Robertson 0-3 7-11 7, J. Madison 5-14 0-0 12, Davis 0-3 1-2 1, Buchanan 4-8 0-0 10, Devine 0-4 2-2 2, Craft 5-13 0-0 10. Totals 24-76 25-32 77.
3-point goals -- Seattle Pacific 2-24 (Benson 0-6, Ohlsen 2-6, Lasconia 0-2, Kingma 0-9, Rodrigues 0-1), UAA 4-20 (Burns 0-4, A. Madison 0-2, J. Madison 2-8, Buchanan 2-4, Devine 0-2). Rebounds -- SPU 42 (Benson 12), UAA 59 (Craft 13). Total fouls -- SPU 21, UAA 17. Fouled out -- none. Assists -- SPU 17 (Ohlsen 6), UAA 15 (A. Madison 4, Robertson 4). Turnovers -- SPU 17 (Ohlsen 5), UAA 11 (Burns 4). Blocks -- SPU 10 (Pflaumer 4), UAA 4. Steals -- SPU 6 (Benson 3), UAA 13 (Robertson 4). Officials -- Mott, Leitch, Lujan. A -- 590.