Second-half surge lifts UAA over Central Washington

dwoody@adn.comJanuary 30, 2014 

After watching Central Washington knock down shots from all over the court in the first half Thursday night — the Wildcats proved particularly lethal from 3-point territory — the UAA women’s basketball team’s halftime discussion, unsurprisingly, focused on defense.

As in, let’s play some.

Message received.

UAA forced Central Washington into 15 second-half turnovers to erase a four-point halftime deficit and deliver a 77-70 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory.

“We challenged them, got into them a little bit at halftime, and they responded,’’ said UAA coach Ryan McCarthy.

UAA’s swarming defense in the final 20 minutes at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex didn’t permit Central Washington the uncontested shots it drained in the first half. And the Seawolves’ diligence sparked a 23-5 run in the opening eight-plus minutes of the second half, when they led by as many as 14 points.

“We came out with more energy,’’ said UAA’s Jessica Madison. “We knew in order to win this game, we had to be locked into the little things, and that starts with defense.’’

Though the Wildcats trimmed the Seawolves’ advantage to as few as four points inside the last 74 seconds, they were undone by their 25 total turnovers.

“They want to turn you over, and they did a good job of that in the second half,’’ said Wildcats coach Shawn Nelson.

What brought a smile to McCarthy’s face while perusing the stat sheet afterward was his team’s 17 steals — steals often translate into easy baskets. UAA’s Christina Davis copped a game-high four steals, three of them in the second half, in just 10 minutes of playing time — she also contributed three assists. Kylie Burns, Jenna Buchanan and KeKe Wright each snatched three steals and eight different Seawolves made at least one steal.

That collective effort helped UAA (13-5, 6-4 GNAC) snap a skid in which it had lost two straight conference games and three of its previous four. The comeback should also bolster confidence heading into Saturday night’s conference home game against Northwest Nazarene.

When the Seawolves weren’t ball-hawking the Wildcats, they were taking care with their own possessions. UAA’s nine turnovers were its fewest in a game since March 2011.

Central Washington (6-12, 1-9 GNAC) proved blistering from the field in the first half when it hit 54.2 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 58.3 percent (7 of 12) of its 3-pointers. Hannah Shine (game-high 19 points), made 3 of her 4 shots from distance in the first half and Jessica VanDyke (11 points) made 2 of her 3 3-pointers.

And that was from a team that entered shooting 23.5 percent on 3-pointers in conference games.

“We’ve got 3-point shooters,’’ Nelson said. “We just haven’t been shooting well all year.’’

Jessica Madison’s excellent first half limited the first-half damage for UAA. She had 13 points at the break, most of them courtesy of sinking 3 for her 5 3-point attempts.

“She was the one player who was focused,’’ McCarthy said. “She bailed us out in the first half.’’

Madison, who finished with a team-high 15 points and did not commit a turnover in 29 minutes,  got some help in the second half, when Jenna Buchanan scored 12 of her 14 points, Alli Madison scored eight of her 13 points, Kylie Burns furnished six of her eight points and KeKe Wright generated six of her 11 points.

Robertson also dished nine assists, with one turnover. Burns hauled down seven rebounds.

Still, defense made the difference.

“It was like we flipped a switch in the second half,’’ Jessica Madison said.

 

Find Doyle Woody’s blog at adn.com/hockeyblog or call him at 257-4335.

 

Central Washington (70) — Johnson 2-8 3-4 9, Parker 2-4 1-2 5, Schmitt 3-4 2-2 8, Van Dyke 4-10 1-4 11, Lockere 0-4 2-2 2, Burke 2-5 0-0 6, Kramer 0-0 0-0 0, Shine 7-11 0-0 19, Moser 5-7 0-0 10, Matheson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 25-53 9-14 70.

UAA (77) — A. Madison 5-12, 3-4 13, Burns 2-8 2-2 8, Craft 1-4 2-6 4, Buchanan 5-8 4-6 14, Robertson 3-9 2-4 8, Davis 0-2 0-0 0, Wright 4-7 3-5 11, Devine 2-3 0-0 4, J. Madison 6-13 0-1 15. Totals: 28-66 16-28 77.

CWU      41        29      —  70

UAA       37        40      —  77

Field-goal percentage — CWU 47.2, UAA 42.4. 3-pointers — CWU 11-26 (Shine 5-9, Burke 2-3, VanDyke 2-5, Johnson 2-6, Locker 0-3), UAA 5-12 (J. Madison 3-6, Burns 2-3, Buchanan 0-2, Robertson 0-1). Total fouls — CWU 21, UAA 14. Fouled out — None. Technicals — CWU Coach Nelson, UAA Coach McCarthy. Rebounds — CWU 40 (Parker 7, Moser 7), UAA 34 (Burns 7). Assists — CWU 19 (Schmitt 6), UAA 19 (Robertson 9). Steals — CWU 4 (VanDyke 2), UAA 17 (Davis 4). Turnovers — CWU 25 (Shine 5), UAA 9 (Devine 3). Blocks — CWU 5 (Shine 2, Moser 2), UAA 1 (Wright).

A — 431. Officials — Hamilton, Floyd, Leitch. 

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