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UAA Athletics

Lights-out shooting by Thompson fuels UAA women’s win over Billings

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: January 6
  • Published January 6

Tara Thompson forged her name into the school record book Saturday by hitting all six of her shots from 3-point range in the UAA women's basketball team's 81-60 road win over Montana State-Billings.

Thompson, a 5-foot-7 junior guard from Dimond High, equaled the record for 3-point accuracy in a single game. Her 6-of-6 shooting night matched Dasha Basova's 6-of-6 effort in January 2009.

One of her treys triggered a game-changing run by the seventh-ranked Seawolves. With the score tied 43-43 with nearly four minutes left in the third quarter at Alterowitz Gym in Billings, Thompson sank a triple to put UAA in the lead for good.

The bucket was the start of a 13-2 run that gave UAA a 56-45 lead at the end of the quarter. The Seawolves cemented the win by outscoring Billings 25-15 in the fourth quarter.

"I'm thrilled for Tara that a hometown kid could get herself into the record book like that," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said in a game report from UAA.

UAA shot 55.1 percent from the field and limited Billings to 33.3 percent shooting — and two field goals the entire fourth quarter — to run its record to 13-1 overall and 6-0 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The Yellowjackets (11-5, 4-2) got 27 points from Alisha Breen, the GNAC preseason player of the year, but no one else on the team scored more than seven points.

UAA, meanwhile, got double-figure scoring from four players. Shelby Cloninger, a senior forward who has been on a tear since the end of the holiday break, poured in a team-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3 of 5 from long range. Thompson added 18 points, Rodericka Ware had 13 and Hannah Wandersee chipped in 11 to go with eight rebounds and three blocks.

Sala Langi's six rebounds helped UAA to a slim 31-30 rebounding advantage, and Ware and Yazmeen Goo each handed out six assists.

The Yellowjackets led 35-33 at the half and stayed close until UAA caught fire near the end of the third quarter.

"Our veterans — Shelby, Tara, Rodericka and Hannah — made sure we didn't panic and let the game plan run its course," McCarthy said.

"… Alisha Breen is a special player, but I think we did a very nice defensive job on their secondary options tonight and limited what they wanted to do offensively."

The game marked the last of six straight road games for the Seawolves, who return home this week for a Thursday night game against Western Oregon and a Saturday afternoon game against Concordia-Portland.

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