Four players scored in double figures for Seattle University as the Redhawks pulled out to a 25-point lead in the second half before holding off a Portland State rally for a 72-59 victory over the Vikings Sunday afternoon in women's collegiate basketball action at the Connolly Center.
Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) scored a career-high 23 points, including a 13-of-15 performance at the free throw line, plus she pulled down six rebounds. Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) notched her third straight double-double and fifth of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds, plus she picked up a career-high five steals. Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) scored all 13 of her points in the second half, and Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.) contributed 11 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals.
"We worked on defense and rebounding a lot this week. We were outstanding in the first half, holding them (Portland State) to 28 percent shooting," Seattle U head coach Joan Bonvicini said. "We allowed them back (into the game) in the second half and lost our poise a little bit. For the most part, we were much better. We played harder and smarter. Ashley played a great game, hitting free throws down the stretch, and Kacie gave us another double-double."
Seattle U outscored Portland State, 16-4, over the first six minutes of the second half to take its largest lead of the game at 48-23. After a layup by Shephard reestablished the 25-point advantage halfway through the second half, the Vikings chipped away at the lead, going on a 17-2 scoring run that included four made three-pointers to pull to within 10 at 56-46.
Courtney VanBrocklin would cut Portland State's deficit to single digits twice, and a layup by Mikaela Rivard with 1:21 left in regulation brought the Vikings to within seven at 64-57. After Kate Lanz converted a layup to close the gap to seven again, Shephard and Ward each made two free throws, and Shephard closed out the game with a steal and layup with 41 seconds remaining.
Two straight baskets by Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya) as well as a layup from Sowell gave Seattle U an 8-4 lead, but Portland State scored five unanswered points to pull ahead, 9-8. With the score tied at 11-11 halfway through the first half, the Redhawks outscored the Vikings 21-8 in the second part of the session, led by Ward with 12 of her 14 first-half points.
Portland State (5-3) was led by VanBrocklin with 17 points and four steals, while Lanz scored 11 points and Rivard pulled down a team-high 10 rebounds. For the game, the Vikings shot 37.7 percent (23-of-61) from the field, including 6-of-20 from behind the three-point line, and 70 percent (7-of-10) from the free throw line.
The Redhawks cut down on their turnovers from the previous game, committing 21 turnovers during the afternoon. Seattle U forced Portland State into 25 turnovers and won the rebounding battle, 41-37, plus the Redhawks shot 42.0 percent (21-of-50) from the field and 75 percent (27-of-36) from the free throw line.
Bonvicini used her bench extensively, especially in the first half, as 12 players saw action during the afternoon. Redshirt freshman Kim Flournoy (San Diego, Calif.) played for the first time in her collegiate career, pulling down three rebounds in seven minutes on the floor for Seattle U.
Seattle University (3-4) hits the road for three straight games, starting next Friday, Dec. 14, at Pepperdine starting at 7 p.m. The Redhawks' next home game is the first Western Athletic Conference home contest for the women's basketball team when Utah State visits the Connolly Center Thursday, Jan. 3, for a 7 p.m. game.