Hawks drop Great Alaskan Shootout opener to host Seawolves
Freshman Bareisha Gill-Miles had a career game in the loss to Alaska Anchorage.
Nov. 22, 2017

Postgame Video Interview

Final Stats |  Photo Gallery 

Entering Tuesday night's opening round of the Great Alaskan Shootout, University of Maryland Eastern Shore head coach Fred Batchelor knew he needed several things from his team to come away with a victory against host Alaska-Anchorage.

The Hawks needed to withstand the pressure, be efficient on offense, defend the Seawolves' bigs and get some offensive contributions from different sources.

The first half was a back-and-forth battle that saw the Hawks leading by as many as seven points and hold a 31-30 edge at the break. But Alaska-Anchorage (6-0) shot 61.5 percent from the field in the third quarter, building and 11-point lead and then played suffocating defense in the fourth quarter to come away with a 69-59 win and a spot in Thursday's final against Tulsa.

"I thought UAA kind of outplayed us and was a little tougher, a little more aggressive and played a lot harder than I thought we did at times," Batchelor said. "I thought that was the difference in the game.

"Their enthusiasm and their energy was the difference in the game."

The Shore (1-3) will now face Binghamton (3-2) in Thursday's consolation game at Noon Alaska time (4 p.m. ET).

After a first half that seemed to put the Hawks on the right track -- shooting 45 percent and holding Alaska Anchorage to 28 percent -- The Shore held just a one-point lead. That was due in part the nine turnovers by the Hawks and an advantage behind the arc by the Seawolves, who made six first-half 3's.

"I thought they had a kid that really made a difference in Shelby Cloninger, who was 4-for-4 in the first half and that made up for what we had done and took the lead away," Batchelor said. "Then we came out in the second half and we didn't capitalize. I thought they had a little more energy and more enthusiasm to start the half and I thought that dictated the tempo of the game."

Eastern Shore also led on the glass in the first half 26-18, but UAA took care of the ball coughing it up just three times to stay close. Then in the third quarter Alaska-Anchorage made the most of every opportunity and also hit three more from long range to begin to pull away.

But it was the fourth quarter that sealed the Hawks' fate. A stifling UAA defense held the Hawks to 3-of 16 (19 percent) shooting from the field and held the visitors without a field goal over the final 5:51 of the game.

"Watching them on tape, we knew they play very aggressive," Batchelor said. "They play a speed game. They like tempo and they get you out of what you want to do. I think we didn't make enough plays to make them pay for the amount of pressure they provided particularly on our guards. For them to defend us that far from the basket and us not capitalize as much as we should have hurt us. But at the end of the day you have got to score more than 59 points."

The stats were deceptive at the end with the Hawks leading on the glass (43-40), points in the paint (30-18), Bench scoring (23-19) and second-chance points (17-12), but the Seawolves put up six more shots and made eight more 3-pointers.

The loss washed away an impressive career-night from freshman Bairesha Gill-Miles (Lexington, Kentucky), who scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in 26 minutes.

"I think she just took advantage of the opportunities that were there," Batchelor said. "We needed that from a few other kids. Her ability to get to the basket and make plays out of the high post, would be there with them extending the zone. We needed that from some other people. With her being a freshman she is going to make a ton of mistakes, but she just plays hard with a lot of heart. I thought she matched their enthusiasm. I think it was her by herself competing at that level against them."

Alexus Hicks (Raleigh, North Carolina) scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds from the point guard position.

Graduate transfer Martha Thompson (Bedford Heights, Ohio) had a strong all-around game with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block, while fellow transfer Jordyn Smith (Durham, North Carolina) chipped in 10 points.



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