UAF women's basketball rallies to win conference opener

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. (KTVF) The Alaska Nanooks women’s basketball program opened their conference slate with a match-up against the Western Oregon Wolves. The Nooks needed a fourth quarter rally to complete their comeback in a 81-76 victory in overtime.

Jocelyn Gandara celebrates after the Alaska Nanooks won 81-76 over Western Oregon.

"We had people step up and hit big shots,” said UAF Head Coach Kerri Nakamoto. “There was a minute where we hit a big shot and they hit a big shot it was just back and forth. It was kind of like who's going to rise above this, but we stuck in there and stayed positive. We came back from being down a decent amount, double-digits."

Some of those big shots came from new players like Jocelyn Ganadara and Sam Tolliver. Tolliver is a freshman who hit three-3s from downtown to help Alaska close the gap including two of them coming in the final three minutes. One of Alaska’s junior transfers, Zosha Krupa hit some clutch shots to help the Nanooks take leads against their GNAC foes.

“I believe in my teammates,” said Krupa after the game. “I trust our teammates, I knew what they were capable of. I just felt like my teammates trusting me when I had the ball and took the shots."

Gandara stole the show however with a deep three-pointer with 14 seconds left in overtime. She led the Nanooks with 27 points and six rebounds while Tolliver chipped in 18 points.

“Another thing is we have a whole different team compared to last year and that's something coach is really good at putting something together and it's something to make us confident." said Gandara.

This is the first time the Nanooks have won their conference opener since 2005 when they also took down Western Oregon.

The Nooks improve to 1-0 in the conference, and they prepare for a game against the Concordia Cavaliers on December 7 at 1 P.M. at the Patty Center.