Back in action after their first conference loss of the season, the Seawolves needed late heroics to get back on the winning track Thursday night.
Tara Thompson beat the shot clock with a huge 3-pointer with 50 seconds left and Yazmeen Goo sank four free throws in the final 10 seconds to give the UAA women's basketball team a 66-59 victory over Western Washington at the Alaska Airlines Center.
"That was a scary game because Western Washington is a much better team than its record indicates," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said in a post-game press conference. "We struggled again with our shots tonight, so our defensive effort was vital. We'll breathe a sigh of relief and get on to the business of scouting our next opponent."
Only two UAA players shot better than 50 percent — Goo was 2 of 3 and Kian McNair was 4 of 6. As a team, the Seawolves were 18 of 61 (29.5 percent).
UAA (17-2 overall, 10-1 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) avoided a second straight loss — something the program last experienced in March 2014 — by stealing the ball 18 times and going 27 of 35 from the free throw line. Goo has seven steals and was 9 of 10 from the foul line en route to a team-high 13 points.
In their first game since a 66-59 road loss to Seattle Pacific last week, the ninth-ranked Seawolves led 34-26 at the half and hit two free throws nine seconds into the fourth quarter to go up by 12 points, 55-43.
But ice-cold shooting resulted in just two field goals the entire 10-minute quarter — Thompson's late trey and a layup by freshman Tennae Voliva midway through the quarter. That helped Western Washington (7-12, 3-9) get back in the game.
The Vikings came within two points, 58-56 with 80 seconds left, but 30 seconds later Thompson drained her big 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired.
Western Washington outrebounded UAA 41-36, shot 41.8 percent from the field and rode a strong performance from Hannah Stipanovich (22 points, 9 rebounds). But the Vikings couldn't overcome 21 turnovers or a 27-10 scoring disparity at the foul line.
Although they were outrebounded, the Seawolves got more than half of their rebounds on the offensive end and were able to amass many of their points on second shots.
Shelby Cloninger and McNair combined for seven of the team's 19 offensive boards. Cloninger finished with 11 points and six total rebounds and McNair had 10 points, four offensive rebounds and four steals for the Seawolves.
UAA plays again Saturday in the second game of a doubleheader at the Alaska Airlines Center. The UAA men meet Western Oregon at 5:15 p.m., with the women tipping off against Simon Fraser at 7:30 p.m.