Heading into their game against Seattle Pacific University in the opening round of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament, the University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team had bested their conference foes in each of their last nine meetings dating back to the 2017-18 season.
Thursday night’s game also marked the two teams’ third matchup of the season. Unfortunately for the fourth-seeded Seawolves (18-10), the third time proved to be the charm for the Falcons (15-12), the fifth seed in the tournament.
Seattle Pacific used a season-high 60.5 shooting percentage from the field to hand UAA a decisive 69-65 defeat, preventing the Seawolves from advancing to the semifinal round.
“We could not find an answer for their interior passing, and we weren’t able to turn their turnovers into easy points when we could have expanded our lead in the first half,” UAA head coach Ryan McCarthy said in a statement.
“This is obviously a frustrating way to end the season, but hopefully our returning players can take this as another growing experience and come back stronger next season,” he said. “We will miss our five seniors — all of whom stuck with the program through the pandemic — but I know they will all have success on their next steps in life.”
The Seawolves came into the postseason as one of the hottest and most dangerous teams in the conference. They’d won their last four games, which included a road win over the Falcons on Feb. 23 that clinched a playoff berth and the fourth seed in the GNAC tournament.
They had a prolific shooting night of their own Thursday and particularly from long range, where they went 11-of-20 in 3-point shooting to finish with a season-high shooting percentage of 55 from behind the arc.
Senior Rachel Ingram was especially lethal from that range, as all 12 of her points resulted from her going 4-of-5 on 3-pointers.
The Seawolves emerged from the first half with a narrow 35-34 lead and held the lead for stretches in the second half, but the Falcons refused to go away.
While they played ferocious defense for most of the night that included forcing 18 turnovers, UAA allowed Seattle Pacific to go on a 7-0 run to open the fourth quarter to tie the game at 55-55, and a 9-0 run to take a three-point lead 66-63 with 1:46 left to play.
The Seawolves mustered one successful field goal attempt in the final two minutes after their leading scorer on the season and recently named GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Vishe’ Rabb, left the game with an injury.
Despite not finishing the game, the junior guard still finished as the team’s leader in points with 16 and rebounds with six.