Shelby Cloninger turned in a career night to help the sixth-ranked UAA women's basketball team pull out an 84-79 triumph over Simon Fraser in a game Friday night in Burnaby, British Columbia.
Cloninger, a senior forward, poured in a career-high 26 points and corralled nine rebounds in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference game, UAA's first action since suffering its first loss of the season Dec. 19.
The Seawolves (11-1 overall, 4-0 GNAC) used a big rebounding advantage and 56.5 percent shooting to get back in the win column.
It wasn't an easy outing for the Seawolves, whose victory provided a bit of payback after last season's second-round NCAA Tournament loss to the Clan.
Simon Fraser (5-6, 0-3) hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter to take a one-point lead into a fourth quarter that provided scant breathing room for either team.
In the final 10 minutes UAA trailed by as many as four points and never led by more than five. The Seawolves took the lead for good on Rodericka Ware's 3-pointer that broke a 74-74 tie with a little more than three minutes left.
With UAA ahead 81-79 in the final seconds, Simon Fraser got an open look from 3-point range but the ball bounced off the rim and into the hands of UAA center Hannah Wandersee with 18 seconds left. UAA missed three of four free throws in the final 12 seconds, but Cloninger came up with a tough offensive rebound after the final missed foul shot and her putback made it 84-79 with eight seconds left.
"That was a great test for our team tonight," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said in a press release from UAA. "We really need to work on some defensive deficiencies right now, but it was good to see us move the ball well offensively, and our veterans — especially Shelby — really stepped up to get a hard-fought win."
Cloninger hit 12 of 19 shots from the field and keyed UAA's 37-25 rebounding advantage. Wandersee was limited to two rebounds but totaled 13 points and two blocks, and Kian McNair chipped in eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
UAA's bench outscored Simon Fraser 31-21, with Ware scoring nine points and Sydni Stallworth adding eight.
The Clan, who shot 45.6 percent, got 17 points apiece from Sophie Swant and Nicole Vander Helm.
UAA plays its final game of 2017 on Sunday afternoon when it meets Western Washington in Bellingham, Washington.