Coaches worry about everything. It’s what they do.

 

But, this time of year there’s even more to fret about: Will the team play the way it had leading up to this game? Or will it show up as an aberration precipitating an unexpected and early departure?

 

It happened to the Seawolves last year while hosting the NCAA Tournament. A bad game, an emboldened upstart opponent with no fear, and the Seawolves magical run was over. They vowed it would not happen again.

 

So, the University of Alaska Anchorage women’s head coach Ryan McCarthy had no need to worry. His Seawolves, the second seed from the West Region, easily dispatched Francis Marion University 79-55 in their Division II Elite Eight matchup at Sanford Pentagon. This led the way to McCarthy’s first Final Four appearance and the program’s third appearance overall.

 

“I though our depth wore on them.” McCarthy said Tuesday.

 

The Florence, South Carolina school trailed by nine at the half. Then UAA did what good teams do — they eliminated the threat, outscoring the Patriots 41-26 in the second half.

 

Jessica Madison led the balanced attack with 15 points. Megan Mullings — just named a third team All-American selection — dropped in 11 points. The win means UAA stays in South Dakota another night. And they should be fresh and rested despite hitting the court tomorrow night. Eleven players saw action with 10 getting double digit minutes.

 

“I think being deep really helps at this point, said McCarthy. “It’s nice to be able to look down the bench and be confident that everyone’s going to be able to contribute.”

 

The Seawolves face the 7th seed Grand Valley State, which pulled off the upset of number two Pittsburg State 59-56.

 

They’ll tip-off at 5:30 p.m. Alaska time on Wednesday.

 

 

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