UAA coaches 2, Alma maters 0.
The second-ranked UAA women's basketball team romped past Northwest Nazarene 95-71 Saturday in Nampa, Idaho, to complete a successful two-game road trip in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
The Seawolves (20-1 overall, 7-1 GNAC) have won eight games in a row, a streak they extended at the expense of two of their coaches' alma maters. Head coach Ryan McCarthy played and coached at Northwest Nazarene and assistant coach Shaina Afoa played at Central Washington, UAA's victim on Thursday.
"When I come back here it's always nice to get a win," McCarthy said. "I still have family in the area and it's nice to see us win in front of people who are important to me."
Beating Northwest Nazarene was nice for another reason -- the Crusaders (5-9, 3-5) have had more success in recent years against the Seawolves than any other team in the conference. Coming into Saturday's game, NNU was 4-3 in its last seven games against UAA.
"NNU's had our number," McCarthy said.
The Crusaders put a bit of a scare into the Seawolves on Saturday.
UAA led 37-30 at the half but the Crusaders rallied to take a 45-41 lead four minutes into the third quarter. They kept the lead for more than two minutes and were up 46-45 at the 4:25 mark.
A jumper by Jenna Buchanan gave UAA a 47-46 lead at 3:54, and three seconds later Jessica Madison's steal set up a Keiahnna Engel layup that made it 49-46. Those buckets were the start of a 16-6 run that carried UAA to a 61-52 lead at the end of the quarter.
Buoyed by turnovers created by their press, Seawolves opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run and were in command the rest of the way.
"It was a little stressful there in the third quarter," McCarthy said. "I thought we did a good job controlling the pace of the game, and we wore them down midway through the third quarter.
"With the press and being able to rotate fresh bodies in, that ended up causing a couple back-to-back turnovers and we were fortunate enough to turn those into points."
Buchanan and Engel had hot hands for the Seawolves. Both of the Alaska-grown seniors – Buchanan is from Galena, Engel is from Anchorage -- were 10 of 16 from the field.
Buchanan went 5 of 10 from 3-point range for a game-high 25 points and added a game-high 11 rebounds.
"That's the best I've seen her rebound since the final game in the state tournament," McCarthy said, referring to Buchanan's high school days. "She chased down some loose balls and showed a lot of leadership."
Engel finished with 22 points and had four of UAA's 18 steals.
Adriana Dent hit 4 of 5 shots to finish with 10 points, Alysha Devine hit 5 of 8 for 16 points and Megan Mullings was 5 of 11 for 11 points. Mullings made numerous contributions – eight rebounds, three steals, three blocks – and Devine added seven rebounds.
NNU was led by Ellie Logan's 20 points and five rebouinds and Taylor Simmons' 12 points and seven assists.
UAA returns home this week for a Thursday game against Seattle Pacific and a Saturday game against Saint Martin's.