Looking at the scoreboard doesn't tell the complete story of No. 1 UAA's 78-52 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over Saint Martin's on Saturday night at the Alaska Airlines Center.
A close game in the second quarter turned into the dominance fans are accustomed to in the second half. But at halftime, the UAA women only led by six points.
"We came out flat," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said. "To be honest with you, we didn't really have a great practice (Friday). We always talk about putting hay in the barn, and we didn't have that much hay in the barn to start out with."
McCarthy said he only talked to his team for two and a half minutes in the locker room at halftime, where he said he told them "they needed to decide what kind of team they're gonna be and what kind legacy they're gonna leave here."
The Seawolves (22-1, 9-1 GNAC) got the message and they came out in the second half on fire. UAA started the third quarter with a 3-pointer by Jenna Buchanan, which sparked a 15-2 run to extend the lead to 50-34.
The Seawolves were back in their comfort zone and having fun at the same time.
"I think at the halftime talk we just reassured each other that we have to have fun, we gotta bring energy," said point guard Kiki Robertson, who finished with six points, six assists, seven rebounds and three steals. "That's what we do best, that's how we play, and the first half we didn't really do that."
Alysha Devine tied her career-high in points with 19 and nabbed nine rebounds, falling just shy of a double-double. Jessica Madison finished with 13 points and three treys to move into ninth place in the UAA all-time scoring list.
In the first half, Saint Martin's (5-12, 3-7) caused UAA fits by getting to the free-throw line. The Saints got to the line 16 times compared to only five for UAA.
Megan Wiedeman finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds for Saint Martin's and Krista Stabler had 17 points. Both sank 5 of 7 free throws.
"Year in and year out that is a strength for them," McCarthy said of Saint Martin's ability to get to the foul line. "It caused the pace to slow down, our substitution patterns I didn't feel real great (about) and, to their credit, they defended us well. It wasn't a very smooth first half for us."
UAA cut down its fouls from 11 in the first half to six in the second half. The Seawolves also cut their turnovers from 10 to six while keeping pressure on Saint Martin's, which finished with 24 turnovers.
Megan Mullings tallied 10 points to round out UAA's double-digit scorers. Aside from Buchanan's big 3, the senior did most of her damage on defense — she finished with four steals and four points.
The win was UAA's 10th straight and marked its second game as the No. 1 Division II team in the nation. On Tuesday, the Seawolves play UAF (9-11, 4-6) in Fairbanks.
McCarthy said the focus moving forward will be for the players to keep the same mindset that got them the No. 1 ranking in the first place.
"Last year we were more excited than we are now to be No. 1," McCarthy said. "We're No. 1 and it's great, but we're keeping our eye on what our mission is. Our mission is to win the GNAC, get back to the national tournament and peak at the right time.
"We're working as hard as we possible can to be able to do that practice in and practice out, and game in and game out."