Burns sparks Seawolves in 76-65 upset of Seattle Pacific

Doyle Woody

The notion of senior leadership can be one of those coaching bromides difficult to dissect.

Kylie Burns made it tangible -- and terrific -- for the UAA women's basketball team Thursday night.

Burns, the Seawolves' lone senior, drained five 3-pointers and racked up 17 of her team-high 19 points in the second half to spark streaking UAA to a crucial 76-65 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory at Seattle Pacific.

"Ever since we kind of had that postseason talk a few weeks ago, I think it really hit home with Kylie,'' UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said by cellphone. "She's the only player on our team with postseason experience. Tonight, she led by example, but she's been doing all kinds of things to lead us in practices.''

UAA's fifth straight victory, and seventh in the last eight games, gave it a season sweep of the Falcons and moved it into a three-way tie for second place in the conference with one regular-season game remaining.

The victory can only strengthen UAA's standing in the West Region of Division II. The Seawolves earlier this week were ranked No. 8 in the poll -- the top eight generally move on the NCAA regional field -- and Seattle Pacific was No. 4.

The Seawolves (19-6, 12-5 GNAC) close the regular season Saturday night with a game at league-leading Montana State-Billings, which is ranked No. 2 in the region.

Though the Seawolves led for nearly the entire game, Seattle Pacific's Katie Benson (19 points, eight rebounds) gave them trouble in a stretch of the second half, scoring eight straight points to help the Falcons forge a 46-46 tie with 12:48 to go.

But Burns, who buried two 3-pointers during Benson's binge, kept making shots -- she hit 5 of her 6 3-point attempts in the second half, when her only miss was a long bid as the shot clock expired. Coming out of a timeout, Burns swished one of her 3-pointers from the top of the key.

"She said, 'Get me the ball,' " McCarthy recalled. "I said, 'OK.' "

Benson got into foul trouble with more than 11 minutes to go, picking up her fourth foul when she hacked Burns -- Burns made the two free throws -- and was forced to the bench. Benson fouled out with 4:52 to go when UAA point guard Kiki Robertson took a charge from the post player.

Robertson was a game-time decision because of a thumb injury, McCarthy said. She split game time roughly evenly with her usual back-up, Christina Davis, who played superbly.

Davis made all four of her shots in the first half, including both 3-pointers, and in 19 minutes delivered 13 points, three assists, two steals and two rebounds.

"She kind of had the thought that, 'My number is going to get called tonight and I'm going to be ready,' " McCarthy said.

The Seawolves shot better from 3-point range (11 of 22) than they did from two-point range (13-33).

Jessica Madison furnished UAA with 12 points, KeKe Wright generated 10 points and seven rebounds, and Alysha Devine added 10 points, two blocks and two steals.

Hannah Robertson helped the Falcons (17-8, 10-7 GNAC) with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Sarah Ohlsen added 15 points.

Seawolves notes

Burns was one of four Seawolves to make the GNAC's All-Academic Team. She owns a 3.29 grade-point average in dietetics and is a three-time honoree.

Also making the team were Madison, a sophomore (justice, 3.22); sophomore Jenna Buchanan (English, 3.45) and sophomore Alyssa Hutchins (undeclared, 3.47).

To make the team, a player must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.2 and must be in at least their second season at their school.

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

UAA (76) -- Devine 3-4 4-6 10, Burns 5-10 4-4 19, Buchanan 3-11 1-2 9, Robertson 1-5 1-2 3, J. Madison 4-11 2-2 12, A. Madison 0-2 0-0 0, Davis 4-4 3-6 13, Hutchins 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 4-7 2-2 10, Craft 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-55 11-22 76.

SEATTLE PACIFIC (65) -- Rodrigues 4-7 6-8 17, Benson 6-11 7-7 19, Pflaumer 3-8 1-2 7, Ohlsen 6-13 2-2 15, Kingma 0-7 0-0 0, Lukasiewicz 0-0 0-0 0, Shim 0-2 0-0 0, Grager 1-2 0-0 2, Barnes 2-8 0-0 5, Butler 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-59 16-19 65.

UAA35 41 -- 76

Seattle Pacific30 35 -- 65

3-point goals -- UAA 11-22 (Burns 5-6, Buchanan 2-5, Robertson 0-1, J. Madison 2-8, Davis 2-2), SPU 5-23 (Rodrigues 3-4, Benson 0-1, Ohlsen 1-5, Kingma 0-6, Shim 0-2, Barnes 1-5). Rebounds -- UAA 31 (Wright 7), SPU 43 (Pflaumer 9). Total fouls -- UAA 19, SPU 19. Fouled out -- none. Assists -- UAA 14 (Buchanan 4, Robertson 4), SPU 11 (Benson 3). Turnovers -- UAA 11 (Robertson 3), SPU 18 (Ohlsen 4). Blocks -- UAA 2 (Devine 2), SPU 2 (Pflaumer 2). Steals -- UAA 7 (Devine 2, Davis 2), SPU 7 (Kingma 2). A -- 214. Officials -- Vanni, Duncan, Jonson.