With the game and their undefeated conference record on the line, the Seawolves turned to Tara Thompson on Saturday afternoon.
Thompson, a 5-foot-7 junior guard from Anchorage, was the definition of clutch while leading the UAA women's basketball team past Concordia-Portland 76-68 in a back-and-forth battle between top-10 teams at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Dimond High graduate scored all of her 11 points in the final 51/2 minutes, including eight in the final 21/2 minutes, to help the sixth-ranked Seawolves ward off an upset bid by eighth-ranked Concordia in front of a crowd of 922.
Thompson drained three 3-pointers down the stretch. The first gave UAA a one-point lead at the 5:31 mark. The second gave UAA the lead for good, 63-61, with 2:25 to go. The third gave UAA its biggest lead since the third quarter, 68-64, with 1:12 to go.
"Tara showed ice water in her veins again today," Seawolves coach Ryan McCarthy said. "She does not let anything bother her, no matter how tough things get out there.''
Thompson, who last week tied a school record for single-game, 3-point accuracy with a 6-of-6 showing in a road win over Montana State-Billings, on Saturday was 3 of 5 from the field (3 of 4 behind the arc) and 2 of 2 from the foul line.
Both of her free throws came in the final minute, when the Seawolves sank 8 of 10 free throws to keep Concordia at bay. Yazmeen Goo hit 5 of 6 foul shots during that stretch.
The win kept UAA undefeated in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. The Seawolves are 15-1 overall and 8-0 in conference play.
Concordia, which brought a five-game winning streak into the game, slipped to 11-5, 5-3. Bailey Cartwright led the Cavaliers with 18 points, 13 rebounds and four assists.
"That was a really good test for us today against a team that came in very hot and plays extremely well together," McCarthy said.
UAA played without leading scorer Shelby Cloninger, who missed her second straight game with an injury but got contributions from numerous players.
Hannah Wandersee, a 6-2 junior center, poured in a team-high 17 points and was a force on the offensive boards, getting six of her eight rebounds on the offensive end. Goo provided 13 points, nine assists, five rebounds and two steals; Sala Langi chipped in 10 points, four rebounds and two steals; and Kian McNair and Kaitlyn Hurley both scored eight points, with McNair adding five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Rodericka Ware suffered through a 1-of-10 shooting effort but came up with four of UAA's 15 steals.
Concordia took 11 more shots than UAA — 18 offensive rebounds gave the Cavs a lot of second chances — but UAA had the better shooting percentage, 46.3 to 39.4. Wandersee was 7 of 14, Langi was 4 of 5 and Hurley was 3 of 4.
The Seawolves take to the road this week for games at Saint Martin's on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.