Randall, Stephen Top 15 in Tour
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Jan. 6) - Kikkan Randall (Anchorage) and Liz Stephen (E. Montpelier, VT) combined to place two Americans in the top 15 as the seven-stage Tour de Ski came to a close on the staggering climb up the Alpe Cermis in Val di Fiemme. It was an impressive performance by Stephen, who was second fastest up the climb, and jumped from 22nd to 15th for a career best Tour finish. Randall, who was tenth a year ago, dropped from seventh to 12th. Tour rookie Jessie Diggins (Afton, MN) moved up to 21st for an impressive first year showing. Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk needed all of her two minute plus lead as she took a 27 second win over a hard charging Therese Johaug of Norway who chopped off a minute, 40 seconds. Russian Alex Legkov took the men’s Tour title over defending champion Dario Cologna.
Koos, Bjornsen Classic Distance Winners
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Jan. 6) - Torin Koos (Wenatchee, WA) of the Bridger Ski Foundation and APU Nordic’s Sadie Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) were winners Sunday on day three of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships at Soldier Hollow. Koos won the men’s 30k classic with a final sprint to breakaway from the field in the last kilometer. APU Nordic’s Erik Bjornsen (Winthrop, WA) was second and David Norris (Fairbanks, AK) of Montana State University took bronze. Sadie Bjornsen won her first gold after a pair of silvers this week, taking the win over APU Nordic’s Kate Fitzgerald (Palmer, AK) and Sophie Caldwell (Peru, VT) of Stratton Mountain. The Championships wrap up Tuesday with freestyle sprints.
No. 20 Western Washington Runs Past Women’s Basketball, 87-59
FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Western Washington used a balanced attack and solid rebounding in the final 20 minutes to notch an 87-59 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory against Alaska on Saturday night at the Patty Center.
The Vikings (10-2, 4-0 GNAC) remained unbeaten in league play while the Nanooks (2-9, 0-3 GNAC) fell for the second straight game.
Kayla Bernson was a force down low as she scored a game-high 16 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocks. Sarah Hill contributed 14 points and nine boards to tie Bernson for game-high honors and dished out four assists while Trishi Williams had 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
WWU shot 43 percent (30-70 FG) for the game and more impressively, hit seven threes to finish 47 percent (7-15) from long range. The Vikings controlled the glass 48-36 and forced the Nanooks into 24 turnovers, 12 by way of steals, resulting in 24 WWU points. The visitors’ reserves also saw plenty of action, as they accounted for 43 of the team’s 87 points.
Junior forward Jacqueline Lovato (Gunnison, Colo./Business administration) paced Alaska with a team-best 14 points after draining four three pointers and also tied Bernson and Hill for a game-best nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Kelly Logue (Fair Oaks, Calif./Communication) had 13 points and five assists while senior guard Taylor Altenburg (Elko, Nev./Criminal justice) added nine points, six boards and two blocks.
The Nanooks shot 34 percent (21-61 FG) from the floor and struggled from the charity stripe, with a 59 percent success rate (10-17 FT). The Vikings, on the other hand, were sharp from the line, making 91 percent (20-22 FT) of their tries. Alaska had just 10 steals, after creating 21 two nights ago against Simon Fraser.
After Alaska took a 2-0 lead to open the contest, Western Washington took over, using an 18-2 run in just 3:39 to lead by 14. The Nanooks fought back with an 8-0 run to climb back to within six but they went cold from the field and Western outscored Alaska 17-6 to hold a comfortable 35-18 lead with 6:27 to go. A three pointer by Brandi Benner in the closing seconds of the half gave the Vikings their largest lead to that point at 46-28 heading into halftime.
Trailing 58-38, the Nanooks scored eight of 10 to close to within 60-46 but that would be as close as they would get. WWU led by as many 32 down the stretch en route to their fourth win in a row.
UAA hockey falls to Wisconsin
ANCHORAGE - The Wisconsin Badgers extended their unbeaten streak to eight games with a 1-0 win Saturday over host Alaska Anchorage Seawolves to earn the Western Collegiate Hockey Association sweep at the Sullivan Arena.
Following a scoreless opening period, the Badgers (5-7-5, 4-5-5 WCHA) struck in the second and were able to hold of the Seawolves in the final frame for the league win. With the victory, Wisconsin (13 points) moves into a two-way tie for seventh with Minnesota Duluth, while UAA sits in 12th with five points.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period before Wisconsin’s center Derek Lee netted his third of the season with an even-strength tally at 2:56. Lee received the puck from Joseph LaBate at center ice for a breakaway, beating goaltender Rob Gunderson blocker side.
After mustering just six shots in the first and second period combined, the Seawolves came back with six in the third alone, but were unable to crack the Badger defense and sophomore netminder Joel Rumpel for their fourth shutout of the season.
UAA kept UW scoreless on three power-play opportunities and only enjoyed one man-advantage opportunity themselves. The Badgers outshot UAA, 22-12 with Gunderson (1-4-4) making 20 saves for the Seawolves’ Player of the Game honors.
UAA falls to Central
ELLENSBURG, Wash. (Jan. 5) – Alaska Anchorage’s Kyle Fossman scored a game-high 24 points Saturday, but the 25th-ranked Seawolves could not complete a huge rally against Central Washington, losing 81-72 at Nicholson Pavilion.
The Seawolves (8-4, 1-3 GNAC) also got nine points, five rebounds and three blocks from freshman post Collin Spickerman as they erased a 20-point second-half deficit, only to have the Wildcats (8-4, 2-2) record the final nine points.
Central Washington was led by 23 points from forward Mark McLaughlin, who shot 14 of 16 from the free-throw line, while center Derrick Davis accounted for 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds.
The Wildcats jumped to a 59-39 lead with 14:35 remaining before Fossman and Spickerman sparked a 17-0 burst over the next four minutes.
UAA drew within 72-70 when Spickerman scored on driving feed from Abebe Demissie with 1:23 remaining. Demissie then grabbed a rebound on the defensive end, dribbled down and was fouled on a three-point attempt with 54 seconds left. The senior forward from Seattle made 2 of 3 at the stripe to tie it, and the hosts called timeout.
McLaughlin, who was 3 of 13 from the floor at that point, came downcourt and sank a midrange jumper for the deciding score, then stole the ball with 16 seconds to go. The Wildcats made 7 of 8 free throws in the last 14.2 seconds to account for the final score.
Fossman shot 7 of 13 from the floor, 4 of 9 on threes and 6 of 6 at the charity stripe for UAA, while Spickerman made all three of his field-goal tries. Demissie and sophomore forward Christian Leckband added eight points apiece for the Seawolves.