Saint Martin's knocks UAA women out of GNAC lead

Jeremy Peters

It was an uphill battle from the start, and the UAA women’s basketball team couldn’t complete the climb. 

The Seawolves lost their third game of the season Saturday, falling 85-78 to Saint Martin’s in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference game at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. 

UAA  never let the lead get out of reach, but always seemed to be a possession or two behind the pace in a somewhat stagnant game that suited Saint Martin’s guard Angela Gelhar perfectly. She drilled six 3-pointers on her way to a game-high 36 points on 9-of-15 shooting and did a nice job of running the Saints offense. 

“She pretty much beat us by herself,” said UAA coach Ryan McCarthy. “They deserve to win that game. We’ve got a lot of learning to do.”

UAA (11-3, 4-2 GNAC) came into the game in the league’s top spot, but now that spot belongs to Saint Martin’s (10-4, 4-1 GNAC). 

“We have a lot of girls who haven’t played in the GNAC before and I think we took this game for granted,” McCarthy said. “Holding home court is very important in our league and that’s a big blow to us.”

UAA, led by 17 points from Kylie Burns, was down 75-72 after Jenna Buchanan hit a 3-pointer with just more than four minutes to play. The shot woke up the home crowd, but didn’t faze Saint Martin’s, which bounced back to take a five-point lead on a bucket from Chelsea Haskey. 

UAA got it back to within 77-74 on a pair of free throws from Burns, but Gelhar buried two big 3-pointers down the stretch, including one that gave the Saints an 83-76 lead with 1:29 to play. 

“The thing that disappoints me is that we went over a specific plan to stop her from getting 3-point looks,” McCarthy said. “That just shows a lack of focus. We played like a young team tonight.”

Kiki Robertson added 14 points and Jessica Madison hit for 10 for the Seawolves. UAA struggled to get its running game going and shot 34 percent from the field, compared to Saint Martin’s 47 percent. 

Backing up Gelhar’s stellar performance were Ciara Pedroni, Jordyn Richardson and Haskey, who scored 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively. In a game that included 74 free throws, Saint Martin’s did damage from the foul line by nailing 29 of 34 foul shots. 

“Anytime that there is that many free throws shot in a game, it just kills the pace,” McCarthy said. “The problem was our defensive effort caused us to foul a lot. I thought it was a well-officiated game.”

Saint Martin’s scored the game’s first six points and although it felt like the Saints held that lead until the end, UAA managed to make a couple of runs. 

UAA, which is accustomed to threatening the 100-point mark, had only accumulated 13 by the midway point of the first half. The Seawolves appeared to snap out of the funk when Burns and Buchanan hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to cut the Saints’ lead to 22-19 with 9:29 to play in the half. 

UAA took its first lead with 4:12 to play in the first half, when Christina Davis swished a 3-pointer to make the score 33-32. A slick pass from Davis to Burns on UAA’s next possession stretched the lead to three points at 35-32. 

The Saints regrouped and took a 43-41 lead at the half thanks to Pedroni’s jumper at the buzzer. UAA scored the first bucket of the second half to tie the game at 43-43, but trailed the rest of the way. 

“This was a team that we thought we could beat, but they proved us wrong tonight,” McCarthy said. 

The Seawolves will go on the road for their next three games, starting with a visit to Fairbanks to take on UAF on Saturday. 


SMU (85) — Mills 0-5 0-0 0; Haskey 3-9 3-4 10; Skorpik 0-2 0-2 0; Richardson 3-5 2-2 11; Gelhar 9-15 12-14 36; Stabler 0-1 0-0 0; Taylor 0-1 0-0 0; Pedroni 4-4 4-4 12; Paulson 1-2 5-5 7; Wiedeman 3-5 3-3 9. Totals — 23-49 29-34 85. 

UAA (78) — A. Madison 1-8 3-4 5; Wright 1-3 4-6 6; Burns 5-8 5-8 17; Robertson 3-11 7-8 14; J. Madison 3-9 2-2 10; Davis 2-6 2-2 8; Hutchins 0-2 3-4 3; Buchanan 2-4 0-0 6; Devine 0-1 0-0 0; Craft 2-4 5-6 9. Totals — 19-56 31-40 78. 

SMU 43  42   —  85

UAA 41  37   —  78

3-point goals — SMU 10-18 (Haskey 1-1; Skorpik 0-1; Richardson 3-5; Gelhar 6-9; Wiedeman 0-2); UAA 9-22 (A. Madison 0-3; Burns 2-3; Robertson 1-6; J. Madison 2-5; Davis 2-2; Buchanan 2-3). Rebounds — SMU 36 (Haskey 9); UAA 32 (Wright 5). Total Fouls — SMU 25; UAA 28. Fouled out — A. Madison, UAA; Assists — SMU 18 (Skorpik 7); UAA 15 (J. Madison 5). Turnovers — SMU 17 (Skorpik 5); UAA 10 (Robertson 3). Blocks — SMU 7 (Mills, Pedroni 2); UAA — none. Steals — SMU 6 (three with 2); UAA 10 (three with 2). Officials — Thompson, Tivoli, McCourt. A — 516.