EDINBURG, Texas (Jan. 28) – Seattle University women’s basketball put together one of the largest comebacks in program history, rallying past UTRGV, 67-54, Saturday. The Redhawks outscored the Vaqueros, 45-18, in the second half to claim the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) contest at the UTRGV Fieldhouse.
“I thought we really focused in the second half,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb. “What really generates our defense is getting our offense going. When this team plays as hard as they played in the second half tonight, we’re a pretty good team.”
Trailing 36-20 late in the first half and 36-22 at halftime, the Redhawks (8-13, 5-1 WAC) had work to do in the final 20 minutes. Facing a daunting task, SU was indefatigable defensively in the second half, harassing UTRGV (14-9, 4-3 WAC) into 4-31 field goal shooting. Seattle U used its defense to spark its offensive attack, as it converted on 16-26 shots in the third and fourth periods. The rally is the largest by a Redhawk team since Feb. 28, 2013, when Seattle U came back from a 39-23 second-half deficit to beat Texas State, 73-71 in overtime, at the Connolly Complex.
Jacinta Beckley got things started with a three-pointer on the first possession of the second half. After an Alexis Montgomery free throw, Beckley finished a putback. UTRGV scored on its next trip, but Seattle U answered with a 10-0 burst. With 6:16 left in the third, Montgomery made a layup, pulling SU within eight points. Wilma Afunugo scored inside and then Montgomery drained a jumper with 3:44 to go in the period. Montgomery sank another jump shot and Beckley made a layup to even the score at 38 with 1:33 showing on the clock.
Shawnte’ Goff made two foul shots to slow the run, but Beckley nailed a jumper to tie it up again. The hosts hit a three to close the frame and hang on to a 43-40 edge. SU held UTRGV to 2-15 field goal shooting in the period.
Montgomery continued her stellar second half with a block, rebound, and lay-in to begin the fourth. Claire Metoyer and Kaylee Best each blocked shots on the next defensive stop, leading to a Montgomery triple that gave the Redhawks their first lead of the night with 9:02 to play.
Another Beckley layup put SU ahead, 47-45, and after a Vaquero hoop, Best drilled a pair of treys to make it 53-47 with 7:01 left. An Afunugo basket stretched the margin to eight at the 6:10 mark. UTRGV scored four straight points to cut its deficit, but Best responded with a jumper. A Beckley layup gave the Redhawks a seven-point lead with 1:57 to go and then SU connected on all eight of its foul shots to clinch the decision. In the fourth period, SU shot 8-12 (66.7 percent) from the floor and 8-8 at the foul line.
Montgomery went for 20 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals. She scored 14 second-half points on her way to her fourth double-double of the season. Beckley matched her career high with 18 points on 7-9 shooting. She pulled down seven boards in 20 minutes of action. Best recorded 12 points and 7 rebounds and Afunugo added nine points and a pair of blocks off the bench. Goff led UTRGV with 27 points.
To start the contest, Metoyer scored on SU’s first possession, but the Redhawks got out to a slow start, as UTRGV led 10-2 midway through the quarter. Best made a jumper and later Afunugo scored in the lane. Afunugo split a pair of foul shots late in the frame and the hosts held a 17-7 advantage after a quarter.
In the second period, the Vaqueros lead grew. Best and Montgomery each made layups and then Montgomery connected on two free throws with 6:02 left in the half. UTRGV answered and grabbed a 25-13 lead. Beckley’s layup at the 3:05 mark made it a 10-point difference, but the hosts stretched the lead back to 36-20. Ashlyn Lewey’s transition bucket with 11 seconds remaining got Seattle U within 14 at halftime.
The Redhawks conclude their three-game road trip in a week at Utah Valley. The WAC game is set for a 2 p.m. tip-off on Saturday, Feb. 4.