SEATTLE (Jan. 21) - Seattle University women’s basketball used a season-high point total to roll to an 86-60 win over Grand Canyon Saturday. Alexis Montgomery recorded 25 points and 14 rebounds, while freshman Kamira Sanders scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Redhawks to a 4-0 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) start.
Playing its strongest game of the season, SU (7-12, 4-0 WAC) controlled the action for almost the entire 40 minutes Saturday. It shot a season-high 53.3 percent from the field, outrebounded the Lopes, 37-23, and logged a 14-4 advantage on fast-break points. The Redhawks scored at least 20 points in all four quarters and shot 9-20 on three-pointers to post their most impressive victory under first-year coach Suzy Barcomb.
"I thought our energy was really good," said Barcomb. "I don't think people anticipated us being 4-0, so we'll take it and run like we stole something. We got production from a lot of people and it was a great game."
Seattle U scored on its first three possessions of the game, as Jacinta Beckley and Sanders each hit a jumper and Montgomery made a layup. With 7:17 left, Beckley drilled a three-pointer and just over a minute later, Kaylee Best sank a trey for a 12-4 lead. After a GCU (10-7, 2-2 WAC) three, Montgomery answered with a triple of her own. The Redhawks connected on 5-6 free throws to keep the offense afloat, as they took a 20-9 lead with 3:33 left in the first. The Lopes responded with six straight points to close the period, though.
In the second frame, the visitors continued to rally, taking a 21-20 edge on a Brie Mobley jumper with 8:23 remaining in the half. From there, SU dominated, marching to its fourth consecutive win on the strength of a game-swinging 21-2 outburst. Claire Metoyer made a three-pointer and then Montgomery established her presence, scoring nine Redhawk points in a row as the margin grew to 32-22. She converted a pair of foul shots, a jumper, a trey, and then another jump shot.
Beckley came up with a steal and a jumper and followed with two free throws. Wilma Afunugo joined in on the fun, finishing a three-point play for a 16-point lead. With 1:38 to play in the half, Ashlyn Lewey scored, making it 41-23. The hosts soared into the locker room with a 42-26 halftime advantage.
Seattle U extinguished any hopes of a Grand Canyon comeback with a stellar third quarter, led by Sanders. She drained a three on the first trip down and then Beckley made a layup. Sanders followed with two more hoops and then Beckley put in a jumper and a triple for a 56-35 difference with 5:55 remaining. Later in the period, Sanders scored in the lane, grabbed a steal and scored again, lifting SU to a 66-37 lead with 1:06 showing on the clock. Sanders recorded 11 third-quarter points.
Sanders took advantage of several GCU turnovers at the top of the key, triggering transition chances for the Redhawks. In the fourth frame, she went layup-steal-layup as the lead ballooned to 74-43 with 7:04 to play. The hosts cruised to the win, scoring their most points since an 89-68 win over Grand Canyon on Jan. 25, 2014.
Montgomery finished with 25 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists, and 3 steals. She shot 9-15 from the field, 3-5 from three, and hit all four of her free throw tries. Sanders tallied a personal-best 24 points on 11-14 shooting. She added three steals, three boards, and two assists. Beckley matched her career high with 18 points, as she also pulled down five rebounds. Mobley paced the Lopes with 28 points.
The Redhawks hit the road next week, playing at New Mexico State and UTRGV. SU will face the Aggies with first place in the WAC on the line on Thursday, Jan. 26. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. Pacific.