UAA Athletics

Inconsistent offense sinks UAA women’s basketball team in NCAA tournament opening round

Two years ago the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the matchup between the UAA Seawolves and the Western Washington Vikings in the 2019-2020 NCAA West Regional championship tournament.

On Friday afternoon, the long-awaited playoff game finally took place. The No. 3 seeded Vikings won 76-64, ending the No. 6 seed Seawolves’ season.

In a game that featured a long delay in the first quarter due to a malfunctioning scoreboard, UAA struggled to consistently put up points and trailed for the vast majority of the game. They faced a double-digit deficit of 12 points at halftime and got as close as nine points for a short time in the second half.

“We had trouble at times securing possessions, on the defensive end just getting stops and that is something that we really prided ourselves on this year,” UAA coach Ryan McCarthy said.

The Seawolves’ lack of proficiency in shooting from both the field and the free-throw line prevented them from keeping pace with Western Washington. They finished 23-of-60 from the field and 15-of-26 from the foul-line.

“We lose by 12 and miss 11 free throws and that is going to hurt you in the postseason,” McCarthy said.

The Vikings found their groove on offense early and kept pouring it on as the Seawolves tried to claw their way back. They had four players score in double figures led by Riley Dykstra with 18 points followed by Brooke Walling with 17, Emma Duff with 16 and Maddy Grandbois with 11.

“We’d make a little bit of a run and they’d come down and hit a big 3 or we’d have some sort of defensive breakdown and they’d punish us for it,” McCarthy said.

While UAA (20-7) struggled to make their free throws, Western Washington hit 23 of 27 attempts and made four more 3-pointers (7-to-3) than the Seawolves as well.

Senior Tennae Voliva was the only UAA player to reach double figures in scoring with her game-high 20 points. In her final time in the Seawolves’ green and gold uniform, the Anchorage native came up three boards short of recording a double-double after with her team-leading seven rebounds.

“I know it doesn’t end here with this current team, the coaches and even the alumni,” Voliva said. “I’m just really grateful for those relationships.”

This was the third meeting between the two teams this season. The Vikings won the previous two games and while the first was only by eight points, the last two resulted in double-digit defeats for the Seawolves.