A star comes home, Engel to transfer to UAA for final year

April 17, 2015

Keiahnna Engel BasketballIt’s easy to get wrapped up in the whole coming home, feel-good story for Anchorage’s Keiahnna Engel, who told me today she will transfer from Boise State University and play her final season next year for the UAA women’s basketball team.

But she’s not interested in fairy tales. She’s coming here to win games, to bolster the backcourt and push the Seawolves deeper into the NCAA D2 National Tournament.

The 5-foot-7 guard is quick, strong and versatile, and should thrive in UAA’s up-tempo, full-court style of play under head coach Ryan McCarthy.

Last year the Seawolves soared to a No. 1 national ranking as well as captured a GNAC championship and earned a berth to the NCAAs.

“They were really successful last season and play the style I want to play,” Engel said. “I’ve known Ryan since high school. I know some of the girls.”

Engel was a two-time Alaska player of the year at Dimond High, which is where current UAA players Sierra Afoa and Tara Thompson played. Engel and Afoa were teammates at Dimond. Engel also knows Wasilla’s Alyssa Hutchins from high school.

“So I will know a couple people when I do come,” she said.

Engel started 39 of 87 career games at NCAA D1 Boise State, where she recorded 538 points, 284 rebounds, 161 assists and 115 steals.

She returned to Anchorage in November with Boise State for the Shootout and had a great time. It was the first time she had played here since high school and it reminded her of just home sick she was to be with family and friends.

“I did miss home when I was there and I did love the feeling of playing at home,” Engel said. “Playing in the Shootout was a great experience and one I’ll always remember.”

She’ll play in the Shootout again this fall.

This time, though, she’ll wear green and gold.

“I just want to be the best player I can be and be able to bring something to the team to reach the goal of winning the championship,” she said. “And I know Ryan and his staff can help me reach that goal. I truly want to enjoy my senior year, the process of getting better and achieve my goals.”