The streak is over but the season isn’t for the UAA women’s basketball team.
The Seawolves’ winning streak ended at 21 games Saturday night with a 70-64 loss to Northwest Nazarene in the championship game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament in Bellingham, Washington.
The Nighthawks scored the final seven points of the game to secure the victory.
The loss deprived UAA of the GNAC tournament title but it won’t keep the Seawolves from advancing to the NCAA Division II West Region tournament next week.
Pairings and seedings for the eight-team tournament will be announced Sunday night, and UAA (28-2) and Northwest Nazarene (28-2) are sure to be among the top seeds. Both are ranked in the top 10 nationally – UAA is fifth, NNU is ninth.
UAA’s only losses are to the Nighthawks of Nampa, Idaho, and one of Northwest Nazarene’s two losses is to the Seawolves. Last week the Seawolves beat NNU 64-55 to clinch the GNAC’s regular-season title.
The Nighthawks took control early Saturday by making their first six shots for a 15-9 lead. They held UAA scoreless for nearly seven minutes to grab an 18-point lead in the second quarter before Tara Thompson ignited a UAA comeback.
“We did not commit ourselves to our defensive game plan in the first half, and you can’t do that and expect to win an elite-level game,” UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said in a press release from the school. “NNU played well and deserves this one. We will regroup and refocus for next week.” Thompson’s game-high 16 points included a late basket to slice NNU’s lead to 44-33 at halftime. Then she drained a 3-pointer to key a 16-4 second-half run that gave UAA a 54-53 early in the fourth quarter.
The Seawolves eked out a three-point lead, 62-59, but they couldn’t hold off the Nighthawks.
Hannah Wandersee scored 13 points, Yazmeen Goo had 12 and Kimani Fernandez-Roy came off the bench to provide strong interior play with nine points and a team-high eight rebounds for UAA.
Northwest Nazarene’s Ellie Logan, the tournament MVP, racked up 15 points and eight rebounds, helping her team to a 36-31 rebounding edge.
The Nighthawks sank 21 of 25 free throws – Logan was 7 of 9 -- and shot 42 percent from the field. UAA was 16 of 23 from the line and shot 38.2 percent from the field.