The Seattle University women's basketball team (5-6, 2-0 WAC) took sole possession of the top spot, as the only undefeated team, in the Western Athletic Conference with a 71-68 overtime win over Utah State (5-9, 2-1 WAC) in their conference home opener. This was the team's third overtime game and first overtime victory of the season.
"You get to be a good team by respecting each other," said head coach Joan Bonvicini, "by going a game at a time and believing you are a good team. Obviously, there's still a lot to work on, but I think we're really starting to make a change here. We didn't really want to go into overtime, but we did, and that's the first overtime win for us this year."
Utah State opened up with a two-point lead on a layup by Franny Vaaulu and led by two one other time at 16:48, but the Redhawks went on a 9-1 run to lead by six, 14-8, at 14:30. SU extended their lead to nine, 24-15, at 10:02 following back-to-back layups by Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya) and Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.).
Seattle U held their largest lead of the game, leading by 13 with 7:15 remaining in the first half, 32-19, after a layup and made free-throw by Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.).
The Aggies fought back, going on a 15-6 run over the remainder of the half, to trail by just four, 38-34, at the halftime break. Jennifer Schlott contributed nine straight points during the run.
Utah State was able to regain the lead, 39-38, at 18:41, on a 5-0 run, their first lead since early in the first half. Shephard contributed a jumper for Seattle U to put the Redhawks back on top, 40-39. The Redhawks re-extended their lead to as many as nine, 59-50, with 7:40 remaining in the second half, following two straight layups by Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.).
Schlott scored seven straight points to put the Aggies within three, 60-57, and the game was tied, 62-62, with 1:41 remaining. USU took the lead, 64-62, with 43 seconds left in regulation on a jumper by Schlott, but Sowell tied it up, 64-64, to send the game into overtime.
Adhiambo drove the ball in for a layup at 4:10 as SU took the lead, 66-64, and the team never looked back. They kept the lead for the entire overtime period and came away with their first overtime victory of the year, 71-68.
Sowell led the Redhawks in scoring with a career-high 24 points, as well as 12 rebounds, recording her sixth double-double of the season. Adhiambo recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) and Shephard also scored in double figures for Seattle U.
Schlott led all players with 32 points for the Aggies and Jenna Johnson recorded a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds).
SU led from the field (48.2 percent to 34.3 percent), as well as from behind the three-point line (25.0 percent to 12.5 percent), but Utah State led from the free-throw line (86.4 percent to 51.7 percent). The Redhawks outrebounded the Aggies, 48-33, also leading in assists, 18-5. USU narrowly led in steals, 16-15.
Seattle U, now the only unbeaten team in the WAC in conference play, welcomes San Jose State (4-10, 1-2 WAC) on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 4 p.m.