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Billings survives scare, ends UAA women's streak at five

Mike Nesper

UAA's second-half rally came up shy and their five-game winning streak ended Saturday when the Seawolves fell to the Montana State-Billings women's basketball team 75-72 in their regular-season finale.

The Seawolves had a chance to force overtime, but Jessica Madison missed a wide-open 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer.

"It just rimmed in and out," coach Ryan McCarthy said. "She got a great look. She bobbled it when she caught it, and she was still open."

Madison paced UAA with a career-high 19 points, including three treys.

If he had a second chance, McCarthy said, he'd go right back to the sophomore guard for the final shot.

"We'd run the same thing to the same person," he said.

Kylie Burns added 14 points for UAA's balanced attack that featured scoring from all 10 players. Kayleen Goggins' game-high 20 points led a Billings team that had three players in double figures.

A defensive breakdown led to a 44-31 Billings lead at the half, McCarthy said. The deficit proved too great for the Seawolves to recover from.

"We just dug ourselves in too big of a hole to pull out a win on the road," he said.

Especially at Alterowitz Gymnasium, where Billings (23-6 overall, 15-3 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) was undefeated this season.

UAA's second-half effort put the Seawolves in the lead three times late in the game. Four consecutive free throws put the Yellowjackets up 75-70 with less than two minutes to go. Jenna Buchanan's lay-up 13 seconds later made it a one-possession game.

McCarthy said the loss shouldn't affect the Seawolves' No. 8 ranking in the NCAA Division II West Region.

With the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament nearing, UAA (19-7 overall, 12-6 GNAC) won't be returning home before its next game. The third-seeded Seawolves will travel to Seattle to get a few practices in before opening the tournament against sixth-seeded Saint Martin's on Wednesday in Lacey, Wash.

UAA hasn't fared well against Saint Martin's this season, losing twice. Saint Martin's (17-10, 11-7) handed the Seawolves just their second home loss of the season in January -- an 85-78 victory -- and earned a 56-46 win about a month ago in Lacey.

UAA has been hot as of late. Winners of five of their last six, the Seawolves are entering the conference tournament in top form, McCarthy said.

"I fully believe we're peaking at the right time," he said.

Reach Mike Nesper at mnesper@adn.com or 257-4335.

UAA (72) -- Buchanan 3-11 1-2 8, Devine 1-4 0-0 2, Robertson 2-6 0-0 4, J. Madison 8-15 0-0 19, Burns 5-8 3-3 14, A. Madison 2-6 4-4 8, Davis 3-11 0-1 6, Hutchins 1-1 0-1 3, Wright 0-2 2-2 2, Craft 3-4 0-0 6. Totals 28-68 10-12 72.

MSU-Billings (75) -- Hanser 2-7 0-0 5, Breen 4-8 6-6 15, Knudsen 3-13 2-2 8, Banis 7-12 4-4 18, Goggins 7-13 4-4 20, Peoples 3-8 0-0 9, Kumm 0-0 0-0 0, Capouch 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 16-16 75.

UAA31 41 -- 72

MSU-Billings44 31 -- 75

3-point goals -- UAA 6-22 (Buchanan 1-7, Robertson 0-2, J. Madison 3-7, Burns 1-2, A. Madison 0-2, Davis 0-1, Hutchins 1-1), MSU-Billings 7-25 (Hanser 1-6, Breen 1-3, Knudsen 0-5, Goggins 2-4, Peoples 3-7). Total fouls -- UAA 18, MSU-Billings 10. Fouled out -- None. Turnovers -- UAA 8 (A. Madison 4), MSU-Billings 14 (Hanser 3, Breen 3). Blocks -- UAA 0, MSU-Billings 3 (Knudsen 2). Steals -- UAA 11 (Davis 4), MSU-Billings 5 (Hanser 2, Breen 2). A -- 477. Officials -- Trimble Zerbe, Schlimgen.


By MIKE NESPER
mnesper@adn.com