Sports Blog: Preview of WWU vs. UAA women's basketball

Posted on January 23, 2014 

Matchup:Western Washington University vs. the University of Alaska-Anchorage

When:7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 23, at Sam Carver Gymnasium

Records:
WWU (9-6, Great Northwest Athletic Conference 5-2)

UAA (12-3, 5-2 GNAC)

WWU outlook:
The Vikings are riding a four-game winning streak - all of which have come against inner-conference rivals. WWU's most recent win, a 78-73 win over Saint Martin's University on Jan. 18, saw Carmen Dolfo's squad out-rebound the Saint's 42-31, something that has been a work in progress of sorts for the Vikings. But since being out-worked on the glass by Central Washington University in WWU's 71-64 win on Jan. 9, 39-31, WWU has answered its coaches call and responded in a big way, out-rebounding its opponents by an average of 17 boards per game over the past three contests. Leading that charge has been the play of senior post Sarah Hill and junior do-it-all Sydney Donaldson. Donaldson is averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds over the past four games, and Hill's 16 rebounds versus Western Oregon on Jan. 16 was a career high. Scoring wise, junior guard Katie Colard has taken the mantle as the Vikings' top threat, averaging 13.5 points per game this season, but over the past eight games she's averaging 17.3.

UAA outlook:
The Seawolves bring in the highest scoring offense in the GNAC, scoring 87.5 points per game this season - the next highest is Northwest Nazarene University at 77 points per game. Despite being a high-scoring team, UAA isn't incredibly efficient from the field, shooting just 40.7 percent versus WWU's league-high 45.6 percent. Where the Seawolves have been able to create opportunities is by forcing turnovers, which they do on average 16 times per game. UAA's top scorer, junior Alli Madison, comes in averaging 15.3 points per game this season. The Seawolves have three other players averaging double figures in Kylie Burns (13.3), Kiki Robertson (11.5) and Jessica Madison (11.3)

Matchup to watch:
UAA's Kiki Robertson has forced 67 turnovers alone this season through 15 games (4.67 per game), and the Vikings' primary ballhandler, Jenni White, is only averaging 2.4 turnovers per game. White also sits fourth in the GNAC in assists-to-turnover ration with 1.7. White's ability to withstand the Seawolves constant pressure will go a long way in determining who wins this game.

Reach Alex Bigelow at alex.bigelow@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-715-2238. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for other Whatcom County sports updates.

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