Nanooks look to "Pack The Patty"Ě against UAA on Saturday
Submitted by Tom Myrick
The Nanooks and the Seawolves square off at 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear their blue and gold and arrive early to "Pack the Patty"Ě as Alaska tries to make it four wins in a row over their southern rivals. Admission is free for all UAF students, as well as students eighth grade or below.
Anchorage has jumped out to a 16-2 record on the year and is currently ranked No. 9 in the national coaches' poll.
The Nanooks will not be intimidated, however, as they believe they can play with anyone. Earlier this season, the Nanooks more than held their own against mighty Chico State: a team that has been ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation this season. And, as the old saying goes, you can throw out the standings on rivalries as heated as these.
The Nanooks also have recent history on their side: they have defeated Anchorage in each of the Seawolves' last three visits to the Patty Center, including a dramatic 85-83 overtime victory in the corresponding game last season. Alaska rallied back from a six-point deficit with just two minutes to play in overtime behind two key three-pointers from Cristina Bruketta. Sarah Herrin then held her nerve to convert two late free-throws to win the game for the Nanooks.
For Alaska's upperclassmen, this year's game could not have come at a better time. They come into the game with momentum and confidence from recent performances. Not only did senior Joscelyn Shumate tie a school record with six blocked shots, she did it twice in one week, rejecting six attempts against both Western Oregon on Jan. 17 and Saint Martin's on Jan. 19.
Sheena Brown, meanwhile, has been a scoring machine for the Blue and Gold this season, leading the team in points in eight of the team's 14 contests thus far. Against Northwest Nazarene on Jan .12, Brown poured in 34 points--the highest single game scoring output for a Nanook in over three years--on her way to her second GNAC Player of the Week award of the season. The Lathrop graduate currently sits second in the GNAC and 45th in the nation in scoring, averaging 17.9 points per game.
Kari Reabold, meanwhile, has been the model of consistency for the Nanooks, enjoying another excellent season for Alaska. The senior co-captain has scored in double-figures in 12 of the team's 14 games, including three double-doubles on the year. Reabold also finds herself among the league's top five rebounders, pulling down 7.7 boards each game.
To overcome Anchorage, however, the Nanooks will have to find a way to cope with junior center Rebecca Kielpinski. One of the league's most complete players, Kielpinski averages 11.6 points per game and is among the conference's top five in both rebounds and blocked shots.