Dating back to 1979, the Seawolves and Nanooks women’s basketball rivalry has featured some memorable games.
The 108th all-time meeting Saturday in Fairbanks can be added to the list after the teams exchanged the lead five times in the final three minutes before UAA pulled out a 78-75 win.
Tori Hollingshead converted a layup on a feed from Senya Rabouin with 43 seconds left to put the Seawolves up for good as they strengthened their stranglehold in the series, improving to 77-31.
Trailing 75-74, UAA got the ball into the hands of Rabouin, the team’s assist leader, who fed the 6-foot-3 Hollingshead down low for the go-ahead layup in a well-executed play.
UAF had a good look to take the lead back with 12 seconds left after Destiny Reimers of Anchorage shook a UAA defender at the top of the key and got the ball to Emma McKenney in the corner, but her 3-point attempt swirled around the rim before popping out.
The Seawolves survived thanks to defensive pressure that forced 23 turnovers and the 1-2 offensive punch of Rabouin (22 points) and Hollingshead (16 points, 11 rebounds).
Rabouin poured in 14 of her team’s final 27 points and assisted on the final bucket while Hollingsworth had her third double-double of the season and made a steal that led to a basket to give UAA a 70-69 lead with 4:09 to play in addition to having the winning bucket.
The win solidified the Seawolves’ standing in the GNAC playoff chase with six games left in the regular season.
GNAC Women’s Basketball
Emma Wass led UAF with 21 points and 11 rebounds and poured in six points during an 8-0 run to help the Nanooks tie the game at 62.
Reimers, the 2020 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year out of Mountain City Christian Academy, had a double-double for UAF with 15 points and a career-high 10 assists. She hit five 3s, including back-to-back triples to give the Nanooks a 68-65 lead.
Fairbanks native Ellen Silva out of West Valley High chipped in 12 points and hit a midrange jumper on an assist from Reimers to put UAF ahead 73-72 with 2:40 left.
The teams exchanged the lead two more times before Hollingsworth went Hollywood at crunch time to deliver the Seawolves their 12th win in 14 games.
Meanwhile, UAF continues to play hard for coach Amy Donovan. A few weeks after picking up the program’s first OT win since 2013, the Nanooks were gunning for more history Saturday as a victory would have given them back-to-back home wins over UAA for the first time since 2006 and 2007.
The Nanooks executed their offense to the tune of 25 assists on 28 field goals and .483 shooting percentage, their second highest in 22 games this season.
Early on, they unleashed a beautiful back-door alley-oop pass play that resulted in three layups and one trip to the free-throw line. McKenney threw one of those lobs and Reimers had an assist on the other one.
McKenney’s 3 put UAF ahead 19-16 at the end of the first quarter. Wass’ layup on a feed from Reimers made it 23-18 before UAA countered with a 10-0 run.
Reimers hit a pair of 3s to get UAF within 32-31. She hit another triple to keep it close at 49-44.
From there, Rabouin and Hollingshead combined to score 19 of the team’s final 29 points.