In a game plagued by turnovers committed by both teams, UC Irvine hit a three-pointer in the final minute of overtime and then held off Seattle University for a 61-60 victory Saturday evening at the Connolly Center.
Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) shot 10-of-13 from the field as she notched a double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds, plus she earned four steals. Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) finished with 17 points, nine assists, and seven steals, and Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) contributed 10 points, four rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
Seattle U outscored UC Irvine 25-8 over a 10-minute stretch in the second half to take its biggest lead of the game at 47-36 with 8:29 remaining in regulation. The Anteaters scored nine unanswered points over the next three minutes, starting with a layup by Camille Buckley and a three-pointer from Kelly Meggs and concluding with consecutive baskets by Jasmine Bernard.
The Redhawks extended their lead back to five thanks to a Shephard free throw and a jumper from Ward, but Anete Klintsone hit a three-pointer and Buckley converted on a layup to tie the game at 50-50 with 1:56 left in the second half. After the two teams traded baskets, Sowell grabbed an offensive rebound and converted a putback to put Seattle U ahead, 54-52, but Cheyenne Cathey found a wide-open lane with three seconds left in regulation for the tying basket.
Shephard hit the first bucket of overtime, but Buckley made two free throws to force another tie. Sowell's layup reestablished Seattle U's lead, and after neither team scored for almost two full minutes, Cathey hit another layup for the sixth tie of the contest at 58-58 with 1:53 remaining in the overtime period.
Sowell once again pulled down an offensive rebound and converted a putback to put the Redhawks ahead, 60-58, but Meggs, playing in front of family and friends, hit a deep three-pointer from the right wing with about a minute left to give the Anteaters their first lead since early in the second half.
After Sowell missed a layup, Buckley committed an offensive foul to give the Redhawks the ball with 19 seconds remaining in the overtime period. Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya) missed a jumper from the right side of the floor, but Maggie McCarthy (Burlingame, Calif.) was able to grab the rebound as time was running out. Unfortunately, McCarthy's putback did not fall, giving UC Irvine the victory.
UC Irvine (2-5) won despite committing 35 turnovers, as the Anteaters shot 46.6 percent (27-of-58) from the field. Seattle U won the rebounding battle, 38-35, including 15 offensive rebounds, but the Redhawks committed 33 turnovers and shot only 39.7 percent (25-of-63) from the field. Both teams were 5-of-19 from behind the three-point line.
"We had too many turnovers, and that was a key part of the game, as we gave them too many opportunities," Seattle U head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "The other thing is our defense needs to be shored up. But we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball. We will do better in practice this week. It's a tough loss, but it's something we will get better from."
UC Irvine scored the first seven points of the game as layups by Buckley were sandwiched around a three-pointer from Jennifer Tsurumoto. Back-to-back three-pointers by Ward and Shephard, followed by a fast-break layup from Shephard, pulled Seattle U ahead, 8-7, and the two teams basically traded baskets for the next eight minutes.
After a layup by Sowell gave Seattle U a 16-15 lead, UC Irvine went on an 11-2 scoring run, with seven of the points scored by Cathey. The Redhawks pulled to within four at 26-22 in the final two minutes of the first half thanks to layups by Sowell and Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.), both set up by Shephard.
Buckley led the Anteaters with 16 points and five steals, plus she pulled down six rebounds. Bernard finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three steals, while Meggs also earned 12 points and three steals.
Seattle University (2-4) will close out the non-conference homestand next Sunday, Dec. 9, against the Portland State Vikings starting at 1 p.m. at the Connolly Center.