The UAA women launched a bunch of errant bombs in the second half of their game Friday night, but it didn’t matter. They stole a 74-49 victory from Minot State.
The Seawolves, ranked 12th among the nation’s NCAA Division II basketball team, swiped the ball 20 times in their convincing first-round victory in the AT&T Hoops Classic at the Wells Fargo Sports Complex. The thievery more than made up for an ugly second-half shooting effort in which UAA was 2 of 20 from 3-point range.
The steals were among 33 turnovers by Minot State, the second straight team to wither when confronted with UAA’s pressure defense. A week ago, UAF had 39 turnovers in a 73-46 loss to the Seawolves in Fairbanks.
A dozen Seawolves came up with steals, including five who had either two or three.
As for the second-half shooting woes, they came after a fine first half in which UAA shot 46 percent — 18 of 39 — to race to a 51-23 halftime lead. At one point, the Seawolves were up 29-5.
“We played one of our best halves of the year in the first half,” UAA coach Tim Moser said in a press release. “Minot State is a well-coached team that shoots the ball extremely well, so it was nice to see our pressure be effective.”
Minot State actually shot the ball with a little more precision than UAA — hitting 34.1 percent for the game to UAA’s 32.9 — but because of all those turnovers, UAA had a whole lot more opportunities to score. The Seawolves got off 79 shots to Minot State’s 41.
Nikki Aden pumped in 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting for the Seawolves. Hanna Johansson just missed a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
UAA used 15 players while running its record to 7-2 with the nonconference win over the North Dakota team, which is in the second of a three-year process of moving from NAIA to NCAA Division. The Beavers (7-3) are ranked 14th in the nation among NAIA teams.
Things should get much tougher tonight. The Seawolves meet undefeated Dixie State at 7 p.m. The Red Storm are 8-0 with a win over Division I Utah State and an upset of Seattle Pacific, which at the time was nationally ranked in Division II.