RIVERSIDE, Calif. (Dec. 10) – Seattle University women’s basketball fell, 58-54, at UC Riverside Saturday. Alexis Montgomery led the Redhawks with 22 points and 8 rebounds in the non-conference game at the SCR Arena.
Down 48-36 in the third quarter, SU (2-8) turned the game around on a 14-3 run and pushed the Highlanders to the limit. Kaylee Best sank a jumper and after a Joana Alves free throw, Montgomery got inside and scored in the waning seconds of the frame, cutting SU’s deficit to 48-41.
Using a full-court press to harass the hosts into 12 second-half turnovers, Seattle U rallied further. Montgomery made two foul shots and then a layup to start the fourth, getting SU with three at the 8:10 mark. UCR (3-3) hit a three-pointer, but Wilma Afunugo scored on a putback. Best made a free throw, and after a pair of defensive stops, Montgomery hit another jump shot, pulling SU within 51-50 at the 4:32 mark.
The Redhawks made two more stops, and after a timeout, Montgomery drove and dished to Afunugo for a go-ahead layup with 3:16 remaining. The Highlanders regained the lead, but Best would not be denied on the next SU trip, driving and scoring for a 54-53 edge with 2:09 to play. UCR answered with a jumper to take the lead again. Seattle U had several chances to tie or gain the lead, but it could not find the key bucket down the stretch. The hosts sank three free throws to close out the contest.
“I think our press worked well,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb. “Wilma was really aggressive on both ends of the floor. Alexis was awesome with taking advantage of her mismatches.
Montgomery finished with 22 points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes. Afunugo tallied 12 points and eight boards, including four offensive. Best added nine points and six rebounds.
SU looked to be the aggressor early, consistently driving inside and attacking the interior of the Highlanders’ defense. In the first quarter, the Redhawks were rewarded, earning 10 free throws. Afunugo made a layup and Best split four free throws. On the second miss at the line, Montgomery tipped in the ball to give SU a 6-5 edge.
The hosts grabbed the lead, but Montgomery sank a three from right wing with 4:39 remaining in the period. Best then converted two foul shots and Afunugo followed with the same, as the Redhawks took a 13-12 edge. A late UCR jumper gave the home team a 15-13 lead through a quarter.
Genessa Bedoya assisted on a Joana Alves hoop to break an SU scoring drought in the second frame. Ashlyn Lewey, making her season debut Saturday, drained two free throws and then Delanie Parry hit a jumper as Seattle U tried to close the gap late in the first half. Montgomery nailed a trey to pull SU with 30-24 with 2:05 left and the Highlanders entered halftime with a 32-25 margin.
Montgomery scored to open SU scoring in the second half and then Afunugo scored on a putback. She followed with another lay-in to make it 37-31 with 6:43 left in the third. UCR tried to pull away from there, taking a 48-36 advantage, but Seattle U continued to work, putting together its game-changing run into the fourth quarter.
Seattle U plays at San Diego on Monday, Dec. 12. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.