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UAA Women’s Basketball looks to return to excellence as they get back on the court

Published: Oct. 31, 2021 at 11:43 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The last time the University of Alaska Anchorage women’s basketball team played a meaningful game, they were the second ranked team in the West Region coming off a Great Northwest Athletic Conference championship, before their NCAA tournament run was pulled out from under them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That was in March 2020, and while a lot has changed since then, one key component to the success of the program remains the same; head coach Ryan McCarthy.

“I think that anybody that comes into the program that’s new, I don’t think they fully understand what kind of work it takes to maintain the success of the program right? And to live up to the expectations that we have for ourselves, and so they have done a great job.” McCarthy said, who boasts the highest winning percentage among active coaches in NCAA Division II at 238-49 (.829) over the last decade.

Those are the demands for a program that has won six consecutive GNAC titles and was projected to finish in first once again in a recent coaches poll.

Players are looking to make another NCAA tournament run after last year’s opportunity was taken away, including returning starters Tennae Voliva, Jahnna Hajdukovich and Sala Langi.

“I took everything for granted and I know this year we are all coming with a bang,” Langi said of the team’s mindset this year. “We are here to compete and we are not letting anyone down, especially our fans.”

The team also welcomes eight new players to the roster, including local freshmen Sunny Pedebone (Anchorage Christian Schools) and Tessa Binder (Grace Christian), who look to make an instant impact with the Seawolves.

The women’s basketball team competed in three games against various schools in Oregon last spring, winning all three contests. They will get the 2021-22 campaign officially under way on Nov. 5 when they visit Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina before hosting the Seawolf Hoops Classic Nov. 19 and 20 featuring Hillsdale College, University of Texas Permian Basin and the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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