ANCHORAGE — The MSU Billings Yellowjacket women are on their most unique conference road trip of the year this week – Alaska for two games against UA-Anchorage and UA-Fairbanks.
It’s a demanding five days. The team was at the airport well before sun-up a little after 5:30 a.m. Wednesday for a two-and-a-half hour flight to Seattle. From there, a quick layover and another three-and-a-half hours to Anchorage. The team quickly checked in to the hotel and then went straight to the gym for shootaround.
The Jackets have certainly seen their share of road trips. They spent about 10 days over the summer in Barcelona, then took a road trip to Hawaii this regular season. The outdoor activities aren’t quite the same this time around.
“I think we’ve walked to the ocean once,” said senior forward Alisha Breen. “It’s really nothing spectacular because most of it’s frozen.”
Head coach Kevin Woodin is wary about letting the team experience the Great White North.
“You know, I don’t really like sledding, cross country skiing, ice skating,” said Woodin. “I’m kind of a little bit paranoid that we would get hurt.”
The team was up at dawn again Thursday morning, except dawn was about 8 a.m. The girls took a short walk about a block away to famous Anchorage eatery Snow City Café. They say they love it for the omelettes, pancakes the size of basketballs, and lattés.
The basketball facility where Anchorage plays – the Alaska Airlines Center – is dynamite: a state-of-the-art training room, plus a basketball court with an upper deck for fans that seats about 5,000 people.
The Seawolves, ranked No. 8 in the country, had a 33-game GNAC winning streak snapped two weeks ago, but are still the team to beat.
“They’re famous for their chaos,” said MSUB guard Rylee Kane. “They’re really good at home, too. It just makes it a little bit more challenging for us.”
“Everyone on their team can score and everyone contributes,” said guard Hannah Collins, “so it makes it a lot harder to guard.”
MSUB has never won in Anchorage, 0-10 since joining the GNAC in 2007. Thursday’s tip is at 9 p.m. MST.