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UAA women's basketball team advance to GNAC final

At 17-11, the Simon Fraser women's basketball team is unlikely to earn a berth next week in the NCAA tournament, and that has got to make the UAA women's basketball team happy.

One of only two Division II teams to beat the Seawolves this season, Simon Fraser again proved troublesome for the Seawolves, who needed late free throws to claim a 74-70 win in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference semifinal game Friday night in Lacey, Wash.

The wins puts the Seawolves (26-4) in Saturday's title game against Western Washington. UAA is the tournament's defending champion and is riding a seven-game winning streak.

"I thought our energy at the start was terrific, but I'm disappointed that we couldn't put them away, obviously," said UAA head coach Tim Moser, whose team led 29-9 early.

"Simon Fraser is an extremely savvy and well-coached team, and they deserve a lot of the credit for making us fight so hard tonight."

The Seawolves led by 12 points with six minutes left when Kristina Collins got hot from long-range for the Clan.

Collins, who missed eight of her first 11 shots, hit consecutive 3-pointers. Erin Chambers added a free throw for Simon Fraser and suddenly, with 4 1/2 minutes left, UAA's lead was down to five points, 63-58.

Haley Holmstead and Kaylie Robison buried jumpers and Tijera Mathews sank a free throw to expand UAA's lead to 68-60 with less than a minute to go, but the breathing room was short-lived.

With 40 seconds left, Collins scored again from 3-point range, making the waning moments of the game tense. UAA never surrendered the lead, but Simon Fraser three times narrowed the gap to four points.

The first time was at the 32-second mark, when Mathews fouled Collins while she was shooting a trey. Collins made all three fouls shots to make it 70-66.

Gritt Ryder and Mathews, who later redeemed herself by blocking a 3-point attempt by Collins, each buried a pair of free throws in the final 22 seconds for the Seawolves.

Back in January, Simon Fraser beat the Seawolves 77-69 in British Columbia. Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, a 6-foot-2 junior, has been particularly effective against UAA and on Friday, she racked up 21 points and 13 rebounds.

Collins also finished with 21 points, scoring most of them in the final five minutes.

Holmstead led UAA with 22 points. Ryder finished with 12, Robison chipped in eight points and eight rebounds, Alysa Horn contributed nine points and seven rebounds, Sasha King had eight points and four assists and Hanna Johansson added 10 points.

Robison scored six of her points and got several of her rebounds in the final minutes.

"Luckily, Kaylie made some big plays down the stretch with her rebounding and defense, and we got just enough points from Haley to win it," Moser said.

Next up for UAA is Western Washington, a team the Seawolves have beaten handily in two games this season, winning 75-55 at Western and 72-50 at home.

SIMON FRASER (70) -- Chambers 1-5 3-4 6, Raincock-Ekunwe 8-12 5-7 21, Collins 6-16 5-6 21, Reist 4-11 0-0 8, Wyman 4-6 2-2 13, Lowen 0-1 0-0 0, Van Laare 0-1 0-0 0, Petit 0-0 0-0 0, Langmead 0-0 0-0 0, Binns 0-2 1-2 1, Carolsfeld 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 23-55 16-21 70.

UAA (74) -- Holmstead 6-12 10-10 22, Ryder 4-9 3-4 12, King 3-5 0-0 8, Robison 4-6 0-2 8, Johansson 5-14 0-0 10, Deichmann 0-1 0-0 0, Mathews 1-6 3-4 5, Horn 4-8 0-0 9, Burns 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-60 16-20 74.

Simon Fraser 31 39 -- 70

UAA 40 34 -- 74

3-point goals -- Simon Fraser 8-22 (Chambers 1-4, Collins 4-12, Wyman 3-5, Binns 0-1), UAA 4-17 (Holmstead 0-1, Ryder 1-5, King 2-4, Mathews 0-3, Horn 1-4). Rebounds -- Simon Fraser 39 (Raincock-Ekunwe 13), UAA 32 (Robison 8). Total fouls -- Simon Fraser 17, UAA 17. Fouled out -- Wyman. Assists -- Simon Fraser 13 (Collins 4, Wyman 4), UAA 11 (King 4). Turnovers -- Simon Fraser 25 (Chambers 7), UAA 15 (Holmstead 6). Blocked shots -- Simon Fraser 5 (Raincock-Ekunwe 3), UAA 2. Steals -- Simon Fraser 4, UAA 10 (Burns 3). Officials -- Graves, Miller, Mitchell. A -- 212.

Anchorage Daily News