Nanooks Women’s Basketball defeats Anchorage for first time since 2007

Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 8:58 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Nanooks Women’s basketball program hadn’t won a game against their rival since 2007, but the Nanooks held the Seawolves to five points in the final quarter to pull away victorious in head coach, Amy Donovan’s first in-state rivalry game, winning 61-56.

“It means everything,” said Donovan. “We talk with our team all the time about mental toughness, and I don’t think there’s a tougher group in the GNAC than our group. I know this game means everything to our team. We’ve got Ellen (Silva) who played there and transferred here. We’ve got six Alaskans, and all they want to do is beat Anchorage.”

The Nanooks started the game strong shooting 50% from the field (7-14). After the first quarter, Alaska led by four. In the second, Anchorage outscored Alaska by four points, and both teams went to the locker room tied 32-32.

The third quarter has typically been unkind to the Nanooks with a -25 scoring margin heading into Saturday’s game. That trend continued, as the Seawolves established a seven point lead when the third quarter finished.

The fourth was all Destiny Reimers. The sophomore scored eight of the Nanooks seventeen, fourth quarter points. Including two three pointers that erased the Anchorage lead. The Seawolves offense went absolutely silent only making two of their fourteen field goal attempts.

Reimers, is the Nanooks fourth in scoring this season. Emma McKenney and Ellen Silva hold the top two spots, but that duo only scored six of the Nanooks sixty one team points in the win. Reimers stole the show, ending with 25 points (10-17 FG), five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one block.

“Honestly just pushing up the ball, working the ball around with my teammates, creating the open shot, and whomever was on it, shot it.” Reimers stated regarding her strong performance. “Being able to win tonight was history and everyone is very happy, and we needed this win.”

“The first thing was she shot the ball,” Coach Donovan added. “She’s such a savvy offensive player. Being willing to step up and hit big shot after big shot, I’m tremendously proud of her.”

The only negative from Saturday’s game came from the free throw line. Alaska shoots 67.5% as a team, but only shot 39.1% against the Seawolves, including 5-14 in the fourth quarter alone. Better free throw shooting could have put the game a lot earlier, and Coach Donovan was quick to address it postgame before even being asked about it.

“The only thing on the stat sheet that’s bugging me are those free throws, but we’ll get after those this week,” Donovan addressed with a smile. “It would’ve felt a little better to have a twenty point win rather than a five point win. I would’ve been less sweaty at the end of the game.”

The Nanooks improve to 4-8 overall (1-4 GNAC). It only took first-year head coach, Amy Donovan, until early January to surpass the Nanooks 2021-22 total wins. Alaska will remain at home this week, hosting Northwest Nazarene, Thursday, and Central Washington, Saturday.