“We’ve been on the road a lot but this was a good team win,” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “I thought we started the game really well and I thought it was good we were able to get everyone in. We lost the [double-digit] lead in the fourth quarter but I’m glad we made our free throws down the stretch. This was an important win for us as we go on the road Saturday and look for another win at Idaho State. After that, we’ll be home to rest for a little bit, which will be a huge help.”
Tal Sahar (Tarzana, Calif.) and Samantha Romanowski traded early three’s before a pair of ties in the first three and a half minutes of the first quarter. A Jordyn Alt jumper would give Denver their first of two leads before Ashlyn Lewey (Spokane, Wash.) hit a three at 6:28 to regain the Redhawk lead, 8-7.
A 5-0 run from the Pioneers capped by a Paige Bradley layup would give Denver their second and final lead of the game just under halfway through the first quarter. A Kaylee Best (Seattle, Wash.) three-pointer four minutes before the end of the first quarter would regain the Redhawk lead for good, 13-12.
Lewey hit a jumper at the buzzer of the first quarter to give Seattle U their largest lead of the game to that point, 22-16. Just 76 seconds into the second quarter, Sahar and Delanie Parry (Beaverton, Ore.) would combine to extend the SU lead to double digits, 27-16. A Cydnee Ceballos (Phoenix, Ariz.) layup and pair of free throws by Sahar just under the halfway point of the second quarter put SU ahead by 13, 31-18.
The Redhawks would lead by as many as 15, 33-18, on a Lewey layup just under a minute later before Denver went on a 7-0 run to trail by eight. SU increased their lead back to double digits, 36-25, by the halftime buzzer.
Leading by as many as 17 two different times late in the third quarter, Seattle U led by double digits all but 22 seconds of the period.
Denver put together a 14-2 run over the first half of the final quarter to cut the Redhawk lead to just three, 50-47, but a Lewey three added cushion back to the Seattle U lead with 2:56 remaining. Jacinta Beckley (Wellington, New Zealand), Wilma Afunugo (Plano, Texas), and Best would combine to go 6-for-8 from the line through the final 54 seconds to earn a 59-51 win.
Four of five Redhawk starters scored in double figures, led by Afunugo with 13 points. Lewey (12), Best (10), and Sahar (10) followed closely behind. SU outrebounded Denver just slightly, 39-38, leading from the field (34.6 percent to 34.0 percent), from behind the arc (30.4 percent to 23.8 percent), and from the line (64.0 percent to 58.8 percent).
The Redhawks travel to Idaho State on Saturday before a week-plus break from competition due to Seattle U’s finals week.
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