SEATTLE (Dec. 29) – Seattle University women’s basketball rallied late, but eventually fell, 68-64, to CSUN on Thursday night. Alexis Montgomery led the Redhawks with 25 points in the final non-conference regular season contest at the Connolly Complex.
“I thought we battled,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb. “We made some adjustments and the kids handled them well. I think we’re playing hard and I just wish we would be rewarded.”
The Matadors (7-6) staked themselves to a 56-41 lead early in the fourth quarter. Montgomery began the Redhawk rally with a jumper while being fouled. Jacinta Beckley connected on two foul shots and then Kamira Sanders made a layup to pull within 10 with 8:01 to play. The visitors took a 12-point lead, but buckets by Beckley and Montgomery allowed SU (3-12) to keep contact.
Sanders tallied a steal and a hoop and then Beckley, after pulling down an offensive rebound, nailed a three to make it 61-56 with 2:28 showing on the clock. Delanie Parry notched a steal on CSUN’s next trip, running ahead of the pack for a transition lay-in at the 1:34 mark. Seattle U’s pressure harassed the visitors into a turnover, and after a missed shot, SU called timeout, trailing by three with 1:14 remaining.
The hosts inbounded and Ashlyn Lewey took possession at the top of the key. Sanders screened to give Beckley space on the left wing, where Beckley drained the tying triple with 1:11 to play in regulation.
“We ran a false action for Lex (Montgomery) and got a ‘screen-the-screener’ action,” said Barcomb. “J (Jacinta) got a really clean look and knocked it down.”
Channon Fluker made two foul shots on the other end, and after an empty trip for SU, the Matadors held their edge by hitting 5-6 free throws.
Montgomery finished with a season-high 25 points. She hit 9-11 free throws and grabbed seven rebounds in 34 minutes. Beckley recorded a career-high 16 points and five steals in her first start of the season. Sanders contributed 12 points and a personal-best nine boards in 36 minutes. Fluker paced CSUN with 20 points, 19 rebounds, and four blocked shots.
The first quarter saw both sides have success in the lane-the Redhawks with penetration and the Matadors with post play. CSUN took an early lead, but Beckley scored twice to keep SU close. Sanders drove through the thick of the CSUN defense on two occasions, converting a pair of layups.
After the visitors took a nine-point lead, Montgomery took control, hitting a jumper. She followed with a three-point lead with 1:51 remaining in the frame. Her lay-in made it a 21-17 margin late in the period. Fluker answered with two buckets for the Matadors, giving CSUN a 25-17 advantage through a quarter.
Lewey made a trey and then a jump shot to open the second period. The visitors regained a larger lead, but Montgomery sank four foul shots to stay in it. Parry came up with a steal and a breakaway layup, trimming the SU deficit to 33-30 at the 3:33 mark. Both teams went cold after that, as the sides combined to connect on 4-29 field goals to close the half. CSUN entered halftime with a 36-30 margin.
In the third frame, both teams struggled to score. Two Montgomery free throws inched SU closer and then she finished a three-point play with 4:13 left, making it a 40-37 difference. Beckley and Montgomery each scored later in the quarter, but CSUN maintained control and took a 53-41 lead through 30 minutes.
The Matadors expanded their lead to 15 early in the fourth, but the Redhawks continued to compete, making their run late to test the visitors.
Seattle U hosts CSU Bakersfield in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opener on Saturday, Jan. 7. Tip-off is slated for 2 p.m. at the Connolly Complex.