FAIRBANKS, Ak-It was bitter sweet for the three Nanooks seniors on senior day at the Patty Center. It was the last home game of their careers and what a better way to go out in front of the home crowd than to beat your rivals. Despite a great effort that wouldn't happen for the seniors but the future is bright for the women's basketball program up on the hill.
The Seawolves came in with a 10-7 conference record and riding a six game winning streak. The Nanooks reeled off three wins of their own in recent weeks and wanted to end the season with momentum for next year. The Seawolves controlled the first half never giving up the lead and scored 14 points off of 13 UAF turnovers. UAA shot 12 threes and made half of them as well. Jenna Buchanan hit two of threes and had 12 points in the first half off of the bench for the Seawolves. Buchanan finished with 15. Even with the offensive prowess the Nanooks were hanging around just down 30-37 going into the break.
The second the Nanooks took charge and gained their first lead of the game with senior Taylor Altenburg's jumpshot made it 58-57 UAF. Altenburg had 13 points and five boards. The Seawolves would answer with a 19-6 run over 5 minutes to be put the game away thanks to Alysa Horn's timely buckets. Horn finished with 17 points and eight rebounds. Kylie Burns led all scorers with 21 for UAA (17-9, 11-7 GNAC) leading 4 players in double figures as they win 76-61 and have won seven straight games.
Beniss Bulaya had 13 for the Nanooks as well as Briana Kirk. Senior Marissa Atoruk added six. Jacqueline Lovato, another senior for UAF didn't score but nabbed four rebounds and had two assists.
The future is bright because Kirk's 13 points was accompanied by 10 rebounds. Her first career double double coming against a rival and aiding in the smallest margin of victory for UAA in a long time.
The Nanooks (5-21, 3-15 GNAC) are progressing and their three wins out of their last four indicate that. With Samantha Thornton filling in the stretch four position of Altenburg, Bulaya coming back at point, add sophomore Kelly Logue's defense and versatility along with the newcomers and you have a program ready for a turnaround.