The University of Alaska Anchorage defeated SF State 86-54 in women’s basketball on Sunday, Nov. 11 to close out the 2018 SF State Gator Invitational.
The Seawolves came into The Swamp ranked No. 6 in the country. Alaska Anchorage beat Holy Names 92-52 and the Gators lost to Alaska Fairbanks 68-65 on the first day of the Gator Invitational.
SF State put up a fight in the first quarter and kept the game close. Alaska Anchorage head coach Ryan McCarthy threw his clipboard down in frustration and yelled at his team during a timeout. By the end of the quarter, the Seawolves led the Gators 15-12..
After two quick fouls on SF State to start the second quarter, Alaska Anchorage started to pull away and showcase their talent. The Gators trailed the Seawolves 40-28 heading into halftime.
Alaska Anchorage started the second half on a 16-0 run and outscored the Gators 28-10 in the third quarter. The Gators struggled in the second half, shooting 27 percent from the field and 18 percent from the three-point line. The Seawolves shot 47 percent from both the field and on threes in the second half.
The Seawolves’ lead peaked at 40 points during the fourth quarter but the Gators kept fighting and finished the game on a 7-2 run.
“We want to be known for giving maximum effort for 40 minutes,” said SF State head coach Natasha Smith. “We put up a fight against a very experienced championship team. That’s all they do is win.”
Smith explained she emptied her bench late in the game in order to give her young team some experience and she was happy with what she saw.
“Seven freshmen got the chance to play against a nationally ranked team. It’s going to be nerve-wracking,” Smith said. “But you have to get that out of your system in order to accelerate their learning curve.”
The Gators held their own on the boards, as the Seawolves outrebounded SF State 35-34. Senior forward Jhania Stephens had a game high eight rebounds and feels the team is heading in the right direction.
“As a team, I think we’re getting better,” Stephens said. “We just have to fix the little mistakes, like when we’re tired we just have to push through.”
Isabella Lamonea was the Gators’ leading scorer with 10 points on 75 percent shooting. Despite the tough loss, Lamonea thought her team did some things well.
“We did a really good job at pushing the ball,” Lamonea said. “I think we could have talked better on defense, but I think we all pushed each other as individuals to get better.”
Lamonea feels the blowout loss can be a positive for the team going forward.
“We can take a lot of learning experience from this game,” Lamonea said. “We also need to play to each other’s strengths.”
The Gators fall to 0-2 on the season and will travel to play their next game on Thursday, Nov. 15, against Fresno Pacific. The Gators return to The Swamp on Nov. 23 to take on Cal State Monterey Bay for SF State’s first conference game of the season.