Nanooks Basketball opens GNAC tournament

Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 8:07 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Nanooks men’s and women’s basketball teams had their first round of the 2022 GNAC conference tournament. Both teams entered the tournament seeded tenth forced to compete in a play-in opening game.

The women’s team began the tournament against the Seattle Pacific Falcons. The Nanooks were limited to ten points in each of the first three quarters. Two of those three quarters the Falcons scored twenty points or more.

That proved to be too little Alaska offense, and Seattle Pacific handed the Nooks a 48-78 loss. Claudia Diez Marti was the Nanooks high scorer ending with fourteen points. Paola Perez-Mendoza was the only other Nanook to find double figures with eleven.

The women’s team has their 2021-22 season come to an end. Alaska Fairbanks went 3-20 overall (2-15 GNAC). The record does not accurately reflect the talent this team possesses however. Injuries severely plagued the season. Sam Tolliver only played one game this season and one of the best freshman in the conference, Pearle Green, also missed the final five games.

The men’s team had their first game of the tournament against Simon Fraser. Heading into the game, Simon Fraser and Alaska each won one game against each other. Both of those wins coming on the home team’s court.

The third and first neutral-site meeting this season was a thriller. At the half, the Nanooks trailed by two points. The second half was a hot-shooting performance for both teams. Neither team was able to obtain a major lead, but Alaska gathered a six-point lead with less than one minute left in regulation.

A circus shot three-pointer from Simon Fraser’s David Penney tied the game at 79-79 as time expired in the second half. The Nanooks headed to overtime for the fourth time this season.

Simon Fraser scored the first two opening buckets of the first overtime period, but then SFU went ice-cold missing four straight free throws. The Nanooks did not. Alaska knocked down seven of their eight overtime free throws. Coleman Sparling also hit a three with thirty-eight seconds left in the game. The Nanooks closed overtime on a 12-0 run spanning three minutes and twelve seconds.

Shadeed Shabazz was on another level today scoring forty-one points and had seven rebounds and six steals. Coleman Sparling was the second highest scorer for Alaska with fifteen. Abdul Mohamed was one rebound short of a double double, finishing with fourteen points and nine rebounds.

The men’s team will continue their run at the GNAC tournament title tomorrow against second seeded Northwest Nazarene. The Nanooks have not won a game against the Nighthawks this season. The losses came in January by eight points and February by seven. Alaska will go for the first win this season against NNU at 4:15 p.m. (AKST) at Brougham Pavilion in Seattle.

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