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UAA Athletics

Goo’s buzzer-beater lifts UAA women to dramatic playoff victory

  • Author: Beth Bragg
    | Sports
  • Updated: March 9
  • Published March 9

At the postgame press conference after UAA's thrilling victory in the first round of the NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament, Hannah Wandersee didn't let teammate Yazmeen Goo off the hook.

Goo drove the lane to score the winning basket in UAA's 65-63 victory over Northwest Nazarene with 1.7 seconds left, lifting the Seawolves into the semifinals of the West Region tournament in Azusa, California.

When asked about the shot after the game, Goo spoke about the importance of being focused and confident.

"When the time's ticking you've just gotta be confident," the sophomore guard said. "I just went up strong and I (saw) the ball go through the basket. (It's about) just being focused and not letting crunch-time get to you."

To which Wandersee responded: "And you had to redeem yourself from those free throws."

Yes, before Goo was the hero she was in jeopardy of becoming the goat, the player who went to the free-throw line with 10.7 seconds left and the score tied 63-63. She missed both shots.

But Sala Langi, playing with four fouls, grabbed the rebound and the Seawolves got the ball back to Goo, who banked in an off-balance layup.

"I missed those free throws and had to get that bucket," Goo said after the good-natured ribbing from Wandersee.

Wandersee watched the final seconds from the bench after fouling out with 17.8 seconds remaining. Her fifth foul came on a basket by NNU's Avery Albrecht, who sank the free throw to complete the 3-point play and tie the game 63-63, setting the scene for Goo's redemption.

With the win, UAA (25-4) advances to a 6:30 p.m. Saturday semifinal game against Humboldt State (19-12), which ousted top-seeded and tournament host Azusa Pacific, 66-60.

The other semifinal will pit Montana State-Billings (23-11) against UC San Diego (28-4). Billings, the surprise winner of last week's Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament in Anchorage, upset second-seeded Hawaii Pacific 76-65, and UC San Diego defeated Seattle Pacific 64-51.

Wandersee, a junior center from Kodiak, racked up 21 points and nine rebounds to lead the Seawolves. Goo finished with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists, Kian McNair added 11 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals and Lang supplied seven points, six rebounds and three assists.

Ten of the Seawolves contributed rebounds, including five who had five or more. That gave the Seawolves an enormous 47-34 advantage on the boards, and that's what helped them avenge a 104-78 bruising administered by Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 22.

"We were hungry to play them again after our performance down there (in Idaho) last month," Wandersee said. "We played with a lot more intensity and confidence today, and I think that was the difference."

As were the rebounds, of which there were many.

Northwest Nazarene missed 42 shots and UAA missed 36, and the Seawolves had much more success rebounding their misses than the Nighthawks did, getting 16 offensive rebounds to NNU's 10. When it came to second-chance points, UAA outscored Northwest Nazarene 15-9.

"We shot enough bricks to build a castle," UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said of his team's 37.9 shooting percentage. "… Neither team shot it very well tonight, so the team that gathered the most bricks sorta won."

The Nighthawks (22-4) connected on 30 percent of their shots — and only 6.3 percent of their third-quarter shots. Down by two points at the half, UAA held the Nighthawks to 1-of-16 shooting in the third quarter to build a 52-45 lead.

Among those who struggled against the UAA defense was Lexi Tubbs, a GNAC first-team senior guard, who was limited to six points on 1 of 11 shooting. Albrecht was NNU's bright spot with 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting.

Wandersee and Goo were the only UAA players to shoot better than 50 percent — Wandersee was 7 of 10 and Goo was 5 of 8.

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