BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (Feb. 18) – Seattle University women’s basketball won, 63-52, at CSU Bakersfield Saturday afternoon. The Redhawks used a balanced attack and put forth persistent effort on the glass to maintain second place in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) game at the Icardo Center.

"Our team really wanted to stay in second place today," said Coach Suzy Barcomb. "We cleaned up on the boards, especially offensively. We shot our free throws incredibly well today. Claire was huge for us as well." 

Trailing 26-24 at halftime, Seattle U (12-14, 9-2 WAC) swung the game around with a terrific third quarter, scoring 20 points and continuing to control the boards. SU opened the frame with an 8-0 spurt. Wilma Afunugo and Alexis Montgomery each scored to begin the rally. Shortly thereafter, Kamira Sanders crashed the offensive glass and then scored. She set up a Kaylee Best hoop at the 6:30 mark, giving SU a 32-26 advantage and forcing CSUB to call a timeout.

The hosts scored next, but after a Sanders foul shot, Ashlyn Lewey popped a trey to stretch the lead. Another Sanders bucket made it 38-32 with 3:55 left and after a ‘Runner bucket, Claire Metoyer found Best for a triple. An Afunugo putback gave Seattle U a 43-34 margin, but Bakersfield finished the quarter with two layups, cutting its deficit to 44-38.

Each team scored just two points in the first three-plus minutes of the fourth frame. Sanders tallied another putback and after a CSUB free throw, Montgomery converted a pair at the line. With 4:53 left, Lewey sank a jumper for an 11-point lead. The Redhawks earned a defensive stop and then Metoyer found Montgomery for a backbreaking three at the 3:27 mark. SU connected on eight free throws to seal the outcome in the closing minutes.

The Redhawks outrebounded the ‘Runners, 45-39, grabbing 18 offensive boards. Montgomery recorded 17 points and 4 steals. Metoyer played a terrific game, logging 12 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists in 37 minutes. Afunugo posted nine points and seven boards, while Sanders added eight points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Best registered seven points and seven boards and Lewey came up with seven points and five rebounds. Seattle U sank 22-25 foul shots on the day and outscored CSUB, 20-10, off turnovers.

With the victory, the Redhawks claim a season sweep of CSUB and strengthen their hold on second place in the WAC. With three games left in the regular season, SU is up two games, with a head-to-head tiebreaker, over Bakersfield. New Mexico State leads the league with an 11-0 WAC mark.

The teams played a competitive first half that featured inconsistent offense for both sides. CSUB (12-13, 7-4 WAC) took a 3-0 lead before Montgomery got SU on the board with a jumper at the 7:48 mark of the first period. The Redhawks hit free throws to stay close and then Shaylin Heredia got ahead of the pack and scored while being fouled. She connected on her free throw for a three-point play to give the visitors an 8-5 lead.

The ‘Runners grabbed a 14-9 lead until a Montgomery lay-in made it a three-point margin with 1:30 to go. Neither team scored for the rest of the frame, combining to shoot 9-33 from the field in the quarter.

In the second period, Metoyer kept the Seattle U offense afloat. The hosts scored five in a row to start the frame, but Metoyer assisted on a Montgomery jumper and then Metoyer sank a shot of her own, getting SU within 19-15 at the 6:56 mark. Two Afunugo free throws got the Redhawks closer. The ‘Runners regained a six-point difference, but Metoyer followed with a driving layup on one possession and then a smooth finish on the next. Lewey drained a jumper from the top of the key to even the score at 24, but Bakersfield scored to end the half with a 26-24 edge.

Seattle U closes the regular season with three straight home games. On Thursday, Feb. 23, the Redhawks host UTRGV at the Connolly Complex.