“We can’t let them get easy shots and once we take care of that, we need to identify their three point shooters,” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. Jessica [Gajewski] and Alyx [Bloom] did a nice job for them and they were well-prepared. Also, we had 15 turnovers which may not sound like a lot, but when they score 25 points off of those, that’s not good. We need to, obviously, score more points, but it starts on the defensive end.”
Taelor Ross (Vancouver, Wash.) hit a jumper just over a minute in to give the Redhawks the early lead before Courtney Hayes tied the game for just under a minute and a half until Shaylin Heredia (Tolleson, Ariz.) hit a three to regain the SU lead, 5-2.
The Redhawks responded with a 7-2 run to lead by eight, 12-4 and would lead by six, 15-9, with 1:31 remaining in the opening quarter after a Kaylee Best (Seattle, Wash.) three. Dana Jones hit a jumper with 54 seconds until the first period break to cut the Redhawk lead to three, 16-13, the margin lead SU would hold through the first half of the second quarter, leading 22-19, with 4:46 until half.
Alyx Bloom tied the game at 22 on a three-pointer 20 seconds later before the Redhawks relinquished the lead for the first time on a Jones layup at 3:57. Best re-tied the game at 24 on a jumper at 3:05 but Jones hit two straight jumpers to give the ‘Lopes a four-point lead, 28-24, at half.
Tal Sahar (Tarzana, Calif.) hit both free throws to tie the game at 28 less than a minute into the third quarter before a Ross layup tied the game for the fifth and final time at 30 with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter.
Grand Canyon responded with a 11-2 run to lead by nine after a trio of three-pointers, two from Bloom before a Ross jumper and Sahar three cut the Redhawk deficit to four, 41-37, at 4:01.
Gajewski hit her second three of the half and Tanesha Daniels hit a jumper to put GCU back up by nine, 46-37, and the Lopes would extend their lead to double digits, 49-39, by the end of the third quarter on a Bloom three. Grand Canyon would lead by as many as 16 two different times. Sahar hit a three with 10 seconds left to pull the Redhawks within 13, 67-54, the final margin.
Heredia pulled down a career-high seven rebounds while Ross set a new season high with five blocks, also leading the team in scoring (16). The Redhawks also out-rebounded the Lopes, 33-29, despite the loss.
At halftime of the game, the program honored five female leaders from the Seattle community in the department’s second annual “Women in Leadership” game. This year’s honorees included Seattle Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel, founder and owner of the Marvin Thomas Memorial Fund Marvena Kemp, Judge Anita Crawford-Willis, JPMorgan Chase & Co. chairman Phyllis Campbell, and the Tulalip Tribe’s Marilyn Sheldon.
The Redhawks return to the road for the next three contests, first heading to Chicago State (Thursday, Feb. 4) and UMKC (Saturday, Feb. 6) before making the return trip to Phoenix to face Grand Canyon once again (Saturday, Feb. 13). Seattle U returns home to host UTRGV (Feb. 18) and New Mexico State (Feb. 20) in the first nationally televised game from the new Connolly Complex.