Two new faces on the University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s basketball team roster made their presence known in the team’s season opener Saturday at the D2 West Region Challenge in the Alaska Airlines Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
In her first game as a Nanook, junior Jocelyn Gandara recorded a double-double and a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds (one offensive and 10 defensive) to lead the team to a 71-66 win over the San Francisco State Gators.
The transfer from Lassen Community College, of Susanville, California, shot 7-for-17 from the floor, including 2-for-5 from downtown, and made 4-of-6 free throws.
Freshman guard Sam Tolliver was the second Nanook to stand out in her first game in blue and gold. The rookie made 17 points, shooting 4-for-18 from the field and made a game-high eight free throws in 13 attempts.
Tolliver also tallied five rebounds, three assists, three blocks and three steals in her collegiate debut. Her 37-minutes on the court was a team-high.
Senior forward Kylie Wallace, one of two starters remaining from last season’s roster, recorded 14 points Saturday, going 6-for-8 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the free throw line.
The guard also pulled down eight rebounds, four offensive and four defensive. Wallace averaged 10.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game last season.
Junior guard and transfer Zosha Krupa and redshirt-senior guard Sabrina Ungaro recorded four assists each. Krupa also led the bench with nine points.
Despite being outscored in the third quarter 20-18 and the fourth quarter 23-15, a big first half effort from Alaska kept the team ahead until the buzzer. The Nanooks outscored the Gators 17-11 in the first quarter and 21-12 in the second.
Alaska tips off against Chaminade University at noon today at the Alaska Airlines Center.
Nanooks men fall
The University of Alaska Fairbanks fell behind 46-34 in the first half Saturday afternoon and went on to suffer a 90-64 loss to the Chaminade Silverswords in the season-opening Alaska/Hawaii Challenge in the Alaska Airlines Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
Nanooks newcomer Shadeed Shabazz, a junior guard from Iowa Western College, led UAF with 19 points, which included 4-for-4 shooting at the free-throw line. Markel Banks, who transferred to UAA from Olympic College in Bremerton, Washington, also shot 4-for-4 at the line and finished with 12 points for the Nanooks.
Mawich Kachjaani, a 6-foot-11 freshman forward center from the International School of Indiana, collected a game-high nine rebounds to go with his eight points for the Nanooks.
The Silverswords, of Honolulu, had five players with double-digit points, led by Tyler Cartaino with a game-high 21.
Andre Arissol scored 13; Telly Davenport and Kendall Small deposited 11 each; and Eliet Donley contibuted 10 points.
The Nanooks play the Hawaii Pacific Sharks, also of Honolulu, at 2:15 p.m. today.
News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin contributed to this report. Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Ingalls at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter:@FDNMsports.