SEATTLE (March 4) – Seattle University women’s basketball turned back Utah Valley, 65-55, in the regular season finale on Saturday. The Redhawks clinched the second seed in next week’s Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament with the victory on senior day at the Connolly Complex.
Seattle U (13-16, 10-4 WAC) will play Chicago State in the first round of the conference tournament on Wednesday, March 8, in Las Vegas. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at the Orleans Arena. The Redhawks swept the season series with the Cougars.
"We're really grinding to score right now," said Coach Suzy Barcomb. "We hit some key shots down the stretch and we earned second place tonight."
On Saturday, the teams dueled, with neither side gaining control for the majority of the match. At the 4:37 mark, Utah Valley (8-21, 3-11 WAC) tied the game at 51. Kaylee Best answered with a baseline jumper on SU’s next possession, putting the Redhawks ahead with 4:10 left. Seattle U forced a turnover and then Kamira Sanders scored in the lane to make it a four-point contest.
The Redhawks earned another defensive stop and then Claire Metoyer found Wilma Afunugo with a terrific pass for a layup and a 57-51 advantage at the 2:36 mark. SU sealed the decision with enough free throws down the stretch, securing the victory.
Alexis Montgomery finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals. Best recorded 15 points, 4 steals, 4 boards, and 3 assists.
To start the contest, the teams exchanged ties and small margins, with each side inconsistent offensively. Montgomery hit a jumper with 1:03 left, giving SU a 12-10 lead through a quarter.
A Montgomery steal set up a Sanders layup at the other end, putting the Redhawks up, 20-15, at the 5:04 mark in the second frame. Buckets by Metoyer and Joana Alves gave the hosts the lead, but a late Wolverine three-pointer made it 24-all at halftime.
The visitors got out quickly in the third period, scoring seven straight points to take a 31-24 lead. Montgomery rallied the Redhawks, but Utah Valley held a slim margin for much of the quarter. Two Alves free throws made it a 39-38 SU edge, but UVU came back with free throws of its own. Shaylin Heredia hit the Redhawks’ first trey of the day with 1:29 left, making it 42-40. After a Wolverine hoop, Afunugo scored in the paint for a 44-42 lead with 10 minutes to play.
Montgomery made a jumper and Best sank a triple for a 51-46 lead at the 7:32 mark in the fourth. UVU replied with a three and a layup to even the score at 51, setting up the end game.
The Redhawks closed the regular season with double-digit conference wins for the first time since 2013. They swept Utah Valley, giving them regular season sweeps of CSU Bakersfield, UMKC, Utah Valley, and Chicago State.