FAIRBANKS—Alaska Nanooks head coach Cody Burgess had watched video of the Anderson University women’s basketball tea before Friday night’s contest in the Mt. McKinley Bank North Star Invitational. She expected the Trojans to play the same way they did on the video.
What Burgess didn’t expect was the way the Nanooks executed against the visitors from South Carolina, falling 81-48 on the second day of the four-team, round robin tournament in the Patty Center.
“What we were ready for was a lot of their set plays, flairs and backdoor screens, and I think that we came out so flat that we stopped playing defense,” Burgess said during the postgame media conference in the Nanook Lounge.
The winless Nanooks trailed 17-4 with 15:28 remaining in the first half and were down 25-7 with 11:42 on the scoreboard clock. Alaska also was behind 48-24 at the halftime break.
“In the film, what they brought was what we saw,” said Burgess, “but it wasn’t anything we couldn’t have stopped.”
Alaska, 0-5, wraps up its annual Thanksgiving week tournament with tonight’s 7:30 game against the Winona State Warriors, who are unbeaten this week in the Patty Center.
The Warriors of Minnesota won 70-40 over the Upper Iowa Peacocks earlier Friday. The Nanooks lost 85-79 Thursday to Upper Iowa.
Anderson head coach Jim Brunelli had to remind his players Friday to not stop their momentum against an Alaska squad that would finish 27.9 percent from the field (17 for 61) and 47.1 percent at the free throw line (8 for 17).
Brunelli was unhappy that his team had scored two points in the first 4:30 of the second half despite leading 50-28.
“It’s not necessarily about being up, it’s about executing,” said Bruneilli, whose squad finished 41.7 percent from the field (25 for 60) and 68.8 percent at the line (22 for 32).
“We have goals coming out (into the second half); we’re up but now let’s execute the first couple of plays. We weren’t executing those,” he said. “I told this team, we’ve got to be ready for our conference (South Atlantic). Our conference is very tough.”
The Trojans, now 3-2 overall, posted a 10-17 mark last season that included an eighth-place record of 7-11 in their 10-team conference.
Anderson, though, was different Friday from the team that opened the tournament Thursday with a 61-45 loss to Winona State.
Team-high scorer and senior guard Amanda Parris attributed adjustments off the court and cohesiveness on the court to the turnaround on Friday.
“I guess yesterday we got our first game under us and we were getting used to this climate. It’s not really an excuse,” Parris, who scored 13 points, said.
“We said that we can’t have another game like last night,” she added. “It shouldn’t take us a game to get our feet under us and say we got to play as a team. But I think that’s what came out tonight. The whole team participated in everything — scoring, assists, fast breaks, defensive pressure.”
All but one of Anderson’s 12 players Friday had points. Sophomore guard Kimberly Major contributed nine points and six players scored eight points each.
Alaska’s loss overshadowed a game-high 15 points from senior Jacqueline Lovato, whose effort included a game-high four 3-point baskets.
“Four for 12 (in 3-pointers) is great but I really didn’t do anything,” Lovato, who also had five rebounds, said. “My teammates got me the ball and they had the faith in me to shoot and hit those shots. We as a team capitalized on those, not me.”
Junior guard April Fultz scored 10 points and grabbed a game-high six rebounds for the Nanooks, who utilized all 15 of their players. Senior guard/post Taylor Altenburg chipped in eight points and five rebounds.
The Warriors shot nearly 50 percent from the field and hit 100 percent of their free throws while putting themselves in contention for the tournament title.
Winona State (4-1) was 49.1 percent from the field (27 for 55) and went 9 for 9 at the line.
Senior center Michelle Tobin had game highs of 18 points and nine rebounds, and her five assists matched teammate Kelsey Andrist for the game best. Senior guard Becca Friestleben contributed 16 points and five rebounds for Winona State against its Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference rival.
Whitney Kieffer scored 12 points to lead Upper Iowa one night after the sophomore guard produced a game-high 22 points against the Nanooks.
The Peacocks (3-2) also got seven points from junior guard Sam Thrapp.
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.