Seattle University women’s basketball (8-6, 5-0 WAC) found
themselves down early in the contest, but made several runs throughout the
second half to come back and top Denver, 69-66 (8-9,3-3 WAC). The win extended
the Redhawks’ undefeated conference schedule, as they are now 5-0 in Western
Athletic Conference action, and still on top of the league.
“This was a huge win for us against a very good Denver team,”
said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “We really struggled early, maybe it was the travel
or the altitude, but Denver was really hitting shots and we were getting
outrebounded. I thought after halftime, we really established more of an inside
game because they were doubling and tripling Kacie Sowell. I thought Ashley
Ward had a huge game and Sylvia Shephard hit some excellent threes. Daidra
Brown, when she starts scoring, it just opens things up. Right now our team is
just playing with confidence; when a game is close, we just believe we’re going
to pull it out.”
Denver took the early lead, 4-0, and despite Ashley Ward
(Irvine, Calif.) getting the Redhawks on the board with a jumper at 16:19,
Seattle U found themselves down, 11-4, by the first media timeout at 14:05.
Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) added a three for SU,
but Morgan Van Riper-Rose matched it with a three-pointer of her own and Kailey
Edwards added a jumper to keep the margin at seven, 16-9, at 11:51.
On a 10-5 run over the next five minutes, behind five
straight points by Shephard and a layup by Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya),
Seattle U had narrowed the margin to just two, 21-19, at the 7:42 mark.
With 4:59 remaining in the first half, the Redhawks took
their first lead of the game, 24-23, on a layup by Shephard, but the Pioneers
went on a 4-0 run to regain the lead, 27-24, at 3:24. On the run, Denver led by
as many as eight, 32-24. Despite two straight baskets by Kacie Sowell (Ventura,
Calif.), a three-pointer by Van Riper-Rose with 22 seconds remaining put the
Pioneers ahead, 35-28, at halftime.
The Redhawks came out of the halftime break, going on a 6-2
run before the first media timeout, to cut the deficit to just three, 37-34, at
16:51. Sowell, Adhiambo, and Taelor Ross (Vancouver, Wash.) added layups during
SU found themselves down again by five, 41-36, but layups by
Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.) and Sowell and a pair of layups by Ward and
Shephard gave them another lead, 48-47, with 12 minutes remaining.
The Redhawks led by as many as three, 50-47, but the
Pioneers added three straight three’s to lead 56-52. Ward cut the deficit,
56-55, with a three at 9:09.
Neither team was able to make a run, with either team
leading by just one point, or with the score tied, for two and a half minutes
following the 5:42 mark.
Shephard hit a free throw to give SU the two point lead,
65-63, but Van Riper-Rose hit a layup at 2:09 to re-tie the score, 65-65. Brown
added a layup at 1:25 to give the Redhawks the lead, 67-65, and Sowell added a
pair of free throws to seal the SU win, 69-66.
Shephard led the Redhawks with 21 points and nine rebounds,
shooting 8-for-13 from the field and 3-for-6 from behind the three-point line.
Ward and Sowell also scored in double figures, with 15 and 10 points,
Van Riper-Rose led the Pioneers with 21 points, with Edwards
and Emiko Smith also scoring in double figures.
Denver slightly led from the field (44.6 percent to 43.3
percent), from behind the three-point line (42.1 percent to 38.9 percent), and
from the free-throw line (88.9 percent to 71.4 percent). Seattle U outrebounded
the Pioneers, 35-34, recording 18 assists to Denver’s 16.
Seattle U returns home to host UT Arlington on Thursday,
Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. and Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.