Seattle University women's basketball (9-6, 6-0 WAC) extended their six-game conference winning streak, defending their top spot in the Western Athletic Conference, with a 69-53 win versus UT Arlington (3-13, 1-5 WAC) at the Connolly Center Thursday night.
"We just focus on that one game, we don't look ahead, and that's how you do well," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "We respect each opponent, as they each bring a different challenge."
Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) scored the initial basket for the Redhawks in the opening seconds of the game, but over the next several minutes, neither team was able to secure a measurable lead. The two teams were tied three times in the first two and a half minutes, with either team only leading by one for nearly four minutes following the 16:19 mark.
Kristin Stoffel (Mill Creek, Wash.) drove in a layup at 11:34 to give SU a three-point lead, 18-15, followed by almost two and a half scoreless minutes for both teams.
Desherra Nwanguma scored a layup to put UT Arlington back within one, 18-17, at 9:06, but, again, neither team could extend their lead past one point over the next four minutes. The lead changed 10 total times in the first half, but the Redhawks would remain on top for the rest of the contest.
Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) hit a jumper to put the Redhawks up by three again, 22-19, at 5:37, and they extended it to as many as eight two different times in the half. Shephard hit a jumper at 3:48 to give SU an eight point lead, 27-19, and a made free throw by Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) put them again ahead by eight, 30-22, at 1:28.
Briana Walker added two free throws for the Mavericks with 26 seconds remaining in the opening period, but the Redhawks still led by six at the halftime buzzer, 30-24.
Seattle U gained their first double-digit lead at the 19:20 mark of the second half, 34-24, following a layup by Sowell, and she added another layup at 16:12 to put the Redhawks up by 15, 43-28.
UT Arlington came within eight, 51-43, at 7:59 after a three-pointer by Laila Suleiman, but SU led by as many as 17, 66-49, at the 2:20 mark. The Redhawks would keep a double digit lead for the final seven and a half minutes of the contest, as they came away with the 16 point win, 69-53.
Sowell led all players with 18 points and 11 rebounds, recording her fourth double-double in the last five games and ninth of the season. Ward also scored in double figures, with 17 points, and Shephard recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists. Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya) nearly recorded a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds.
Suleiman led the Mavericks in scoring with 11 points, with Kiara Parker and Kelsey Willson leading the team with seven rebounds apiece.
Seattle U led from the field, shooting 50.9 percent (28-for-55) to UTA's 33.3 percent (22-for-66). UT Arlington led from behind the three-point line (18.8 percent to 7.1 percent), as well as from the free-throw line (66.7 percent to 52.2 percent). The Redhawks outrebounded the Mavericks, 42-37, also leading in assists, 22-7, and steals, 13-6.
Seattle U finishes their last home weekend of January as they welcome Louisiana Tech to the Connolly Center on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.