Hometown Alaska: The UAA Women’s basketball program succeeds through mayhem and more

Seawolf logo
Seawolf, logo for UAA athletics,courtesy of UAA.

The UAA Women’s basketball program is elite. Conference champs, sweet 16 appearances, perennial national championship contender, and of course – mayhem! What makes them so successful? How much attention are they getting locally, and nationally? Should they be getting more attention given their success? And what does the future hold for UAA basketball? This episode answers these questions and more as we chat with Head Coach Ryan McCarthy and senior players Tennae Voliva and Lauren Johnson.


E.J. David


Coach Ryan McCarthy was born in Anchorage, and is the winningest active coach in NCAA Div. II, making him one of the brightest coaching talents in the entire NCAA. Coach McCarthy has taken the UAA Women’s program to unprecedented heights in 10 seasons, producing almost 250 wins and just 40 losses. He has won the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and NCAA West Region coach-of-the-year awards many times. McCarthy graduated from NNU in 2006 with a B.S. in social science education and is the proud father of two children, Donovan and Aurora. He and his wife Jenna, a former collegiate star at Florida Gulf Coast University, were married in 2019.     

Tennae Voliva is a senior and a captain of the UAA women’s basketball team. Tennae is a homegrown, local talent, playing for East High School where she scored more than 1,000 career points in four varsity seasons. She was named in the Second Team All-State team as junior and senior. Tennae was an honor roll student at East, and continues to be an excellent student at UAA where she obtaining her Masters degree in Clinical Psychology.       

Lauren Johnson is a senior guard for the UAA women’s basketball team. Lauren is from Minnesota, where she was a team captain for her high school team. After high school she played for North Dakota State College of Science, a nationally-ranked junior college squad. Lauren is a nursing major.

UAA Women’s Basketball
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Ammon Swenson is Alaska Public Media’s Audio Media Content Producer. He was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. He graduated from UAA in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and integrated media. He’s previously worked for KRUA radio, the Anchorage Press, and The Northern Light.

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