Strong second half propels Seawolves over Jackets for GNAC title - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Strong second half propels Seawolves over Jackets for GNAC title

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A big second half from Alaska Anchorage proved to be too much for Montana State University Billings as the Yellowjackets fell 77-57 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball championship game Saturday at Marcus Pavilion.

MSUB (21-10) was within five at half-time, 35-30, but two big scoring sprees from the No. 6 Seawolves pushed UAA out ahead at the end of the third quarter 61-47, and propelled the defending champions back to the title.

For the Yellowjackets, Alisha Breen had 17 points and Marissa Van Atta finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds along with a game-high tying four steals.

In the first half, MSUB was a solid 36.7 percent from the field and Breen was 5-5 from the free-throw line, but a deep bench from the Seawolves kicked in the second half as UAA outscored MSUB 42-27 in the last 20 minutes of the game.

The Yellowjackets had six less turnovers in the opening half and were even on steals at six, but fresh legs and one less game from the Seawolves helped Alaska Anchorage (33-2) storm the back half of championship night.

Monica Grimsrud scored five points and had three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and four blocks in the game. Vanessa Stavish was 2-2 in the game, both 3-point shots, for six points. Janiel Olson had four points and four rebounds. Rylee Kane also had four points with three assists, two steals, and a block. Tiana Hanson and Kasie Christensen added two points each to round out the scoring for MSUB.

Alaska Anchorage finished with five players in double-digits. GNAC Newcomer of the Year, Kieahnna Engel had 13 points. Jenna Buchanan and Jessica Madison both had 12 points and GNAC Player of the Year Megan Mullings and Alysha Devine connected for 10 points each. Kiki Robertsen tied the GNAC tournament record of nine assists and was named the GNAC Tournament’s Most Valuable Player.

The UAA bench supplied 28 points in the game. The Seawolves were stronger in the paint, 40-26, and had double from the 3-point arc 8-4.

For the game, MSU Billings shot 34.4 percent (21-61) with Alaska Anchorage shooting 49.2 percent (30-61). MSUB was stronger at the free-throw line 11-14 to 9-14.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT: The NCAA announcement show is on Sunday, Mar. 6 at 8:00 p.m. Mountain time on ncaa.com. During the show, the 64-team national playoff field will be unveiled. The tournament runs Mar. 11, 12 & 14, at a site to be determined. Last week, MSU Billings was ranked eighth in the west region poll. The top-8 teams in all eight national regions advance to the tournament. In the west region, all three conference tournaments have an automatic berth for their tournament champion. The additional five spots are awarded as at-large bids. During the selection show, each region's matchups will be announced along with the host site.

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