FAIRBANKS — Nanook senior forward Marian Wamsley put up a game-high 20 points as the University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s basketball team fell 98-58 to the Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks in their final Great Northwest Athletic Conference game of the season Saturday at the UAF Patty Center.
Wamsley was also the top rebounder in the game pulling down six for the Nanooks.
The Nanooks ended their season with a 4-22 overall record, and went 1-19 in GNAC conference standings to finish in last place. The win raised the Nighthawks to 18-2, second in conference standings, and clinched a GNAC Championship berth for the team.
The Nighthawks were ranked second in the NCAA Division-II West Region poll at the end of February.
Before the game, the Nanooks honored their four seniors: guard Emily Evans, guard Angela Murnion, forward Ashlie Blackburn and Wamsley.
All four seniors started the game, and Murnion, who has struggled with an ACL injury, scored the last bucket for the Nanooks from behind the arc with one minute left in the game.
“After everything, it was an awesome opportunity to make that shot,” Murnion said.
The Nanooks were stymied in the first half by the Nighthawks’ defense and a full-court press, which led to 11 first-half steals for the Nighthawks and 25 first-half turnovers for the Nanooks.
The Nighthawks’ deep bench allowed them to keep an intense pace and outscore the Nanooks 27-14 in the second quarter to end the half up 49-24.
After the half, the Nanooks began to adjust to the press, scoring 20 points in the third quarter.
“At halftime we set goals for turnovers and we definitely had less in the second half, but it was a little too late,” Evans said.
Six Nighthawks players scored in double digits, and the team was 19 of 20 from the free-throw line.
Avery Albrecht was the Nighthawks’ leading scorer with 19 points, while Maya Rodgers and Marina Valles added 12 each. Zoe Wessels, Danielle Jardine and McKenna Walker dropped in 10 apiece for the Nighthawks.
Evans and Blackburn each added 13 points for the Nanooks.
Despite the loss, Nanooks head coach Kerri Nakamoto was proud of her team’s performance.
“Our goal was to play hard and have fun in our last time together, and I think we did that. We honored our seniors,” Nakamoto said. “The seniors are a great group of girls, they’re good people and they really set the tone for work ethic.”
Western Washington University will host the GNAC Championship games March 7-9 in Bellingham, Washington.