Shootout notes

Jesse Blandford, a redshirt freshman from Nome, left the UAA basketball program, coach Rusty Osborne said Tuesday.

A 6-0, 190-pound guard, Blandford played limited minutes in two games for the Seawolves this season, scoring one point in UAA's victory over UC-San Diego.

"Although disappointed, our staff will support Jesse in any way possible. We have also left the door open for him to return if he desires," said a statement from Osborne. "Although Jesse has only been here for a little more than a year, his presence on our program has been tremendous. He will be truly missed by his teammates, assistant coaches and myself. His character, work ethic and positive personality put him in the top five percent of players to have come through the UAA basketball program, despite the fact his on-court contributions were minimal."

Women jump to 11th

Hours before taking the court to defend its Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout title, the UAA women's basketball team jumped up to 11th place in the latest national poll.

The USA Today/ESPN Division II Top 25 poll released today showed the 4-1 Seawolves tied with West Texas A&M for 11th place with 344 points. UAA finished 14th in the last poll.

Only one other team from the Great Northwest Athletic Conference secured a higher spot in the national poll -- Seattle Pacific was sixth. Western Washington University was 24th.

Arkansas Tech University (4-0) tops the poll.

UAA begins its pursuit of a fifth-straight Shootout title against Division I San Jose State at 6 p.m. tonight at Sullivan Arena.

New luncheon spot

After years of holding its annual coaches luncheon at the Sheraton, this season's event will be held at the Hotel Captain Cook.

The event begins today at 11:15 a.m.

Anchorage Daily News