March 16, 2009

Courtesy of Seattle Pacific Athletics

SEATTLE -- The shots wouldn't go down on Monday night, so the Seattle Pacific Falcons did.

Hoping to return to the NCAA Division II women's basketball Elite Eight for the first time since 2005, SPU hit just 21 percent from the field, and for the second straight year, Alaska Anchorage downed the Falcons on their own floor in the West Regional championship game, 54-43.

The Seawolves took last year's final, 50-44.

The second-ranked Seawolves (30-3) thus earned tickets to San Antonio, where the Elite Eight begins next Tuesday.

Seattle Pacific, ranked No. 5 nationally, saw its season end at 23-5.

Senior forward Kelsey Burns led the Falcons with 15 points in her final game in an SPU uniform.

Alaska Anchorage was led by the 17 points of Tamar Gruwell.

SPU missed its first six shots of the game and fell behind, 5-0. The Falcons eventually forged a 17-12 lead with 5:34 left in the first half.

The Seawolves then went on a 15-2 run to take a 27-19 lead. A 3-pointer from 35 feet away by McKayla Gorman banked in at the halftime buzzer to bring the Falcons within 27-22 at the break.

But the second half started the same way the first half did for Seattle Pacific. The Falcons missed their first four shots and didn't get a point until nearly four minutes in on a free throw by Melissa Reich.

Anchorage stretched its lead to 17 points at 40-23 with 14:33 left in the game. SPU got as close as seven, the last time at 50-43 with 41 seconds left, but was unable to narrow the gap any further.