FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Dec. 18) – Seattle University women’s basketball challenged Colorado State Sunday night, but fell, 66-62, to the defending Mountain West Conference champion. The Redhawk defense held one of the nation’s top shooting teams to just two made three-pointers in the non-conference game at Moby Arena.
“We played with a lot of passion in the last four minutes,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb. “We have to play (like that) for all 40 minutes. We got to the rim (early in the game) and had success with that.”
Alexis Montgomery, who battled through first-half foul trouble, led SU (3-10) with 20 points in the second half. She sank four three-pointers as the Redhawks hung around until the end of the contest.
“We try to get her into a mismatch when we can,” said Barcomb. “She got super-aggressive in the second half. When she hits a three, it opens up the rest of her game.”
Seattle U trailed, 49-35, with 8:51 left, but continued to compete, rallying to test the Rams, who eventually extended their home winning streak to 22 games. Montgomery made three and then a jumper to trim the margin. Ashlyn Lewey drained a triple and then Montgomery scored again, pulling SU within 55-45 with 6:58 remaining.
Montgomery drilled another three and later scored in the paint, as the Redhawks crawled back into the match. A Ram hoop made it 62-52 with 2:56 to play. Montgomery connected on another jump shot and then Jacinta Beckley made a layup. After two CSU (7-4) free throws, Beckley hit a trey, making it 64-59 with 18 seconds left. The hosts split two foul shots and then Montgomery banked in a three-pointer from the left wing, getting SU within three. Colorado State missed its first foul shot on the other end, but converted the second, finally sealing the decision.
Montgomery finished with 20 points, all in the second half, on 8-15 shooting, including four made treys. She added five rebounds and a pair of assists. Best tallied 12 points, five boards, five assists, and five steals. Beckley logged 10 points and 7 rebounds off the bench. Ellen Nystrom led the Rams with 33 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 assists.
CSU, the preseason favorite in the Mountain West, shot just 2-10 on three-pointers Sunday. Entering the game, the Rams were 14th nationally with 9.3 made threes per game.
In the first period, SU played with urgency, moving the ball and working to limit the Rams’ attack. After a CSU hoop, Wilma Afunugo scored inside. Kamira Sanders made a nice move to get free and score on the right side for a 4-2 lead at the 6:56 mark. Kaylee Best then scored a pair of buckets surrounding a Ram hoop.
With 4:09 left, the senior scored again for a 10-4 margin. Beckley connected on a free throw and later sank a three-pointer as the Redhawks’ lead grew. The hosts scored, but Best set up an Afunugo lay-in and Seattle U held a 16-10 lead through a quarter.
Claire Metoyer drained a trey to give SU a 19-12 lead with 9:21 to play in the first half. She followed with a jumper a few minutes later and then Best connected from deep for a 25-18 difference at the 4:19 mark. The hosts rallied, though, scoring the final 10 points of the half for a 28-25 edge through 20 minutes.
The Redhawks worked to stay attached to the Rams in the third, but the home side was able to stretch its margin. Best scored early, but CSU took a 36-27 lead as the frame continued. Montgomery and Delanie Parry answered with triples to cut the deficit to three with 3:43 showing on the clock. An Afunugo bucket kept SU close, but the Rams finished the quarter with a 44-35 advantage.
The Redhawks wrap up their six-game road trip on Wednesday, Dec. 21, as they travel to SMU for a non-conference contest. Tip-off is slated for noon Pacific (2 p.m. Central).