Redhawks Make Second Straight Postseason Appearance: Seattle University women’s basketball (20-10) is set to make their second all-time and second straight NCAA DI postseason appearance as they face St. Mary’s (20-10) in the first round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament (WNIT). The Redhawks will face the Gaels on Thursday, Mar. 21 at 7 p.m. in Moraga, Calif. with the winner advancing to the second round to face Northern Colorado/Wyoming. As the regular season conference champion, the Redhawks received the automatic berth to the WNIT. This is the program’s first appearance in the WNIT as they made it to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) semifinals last season before falling to Northern Iowa, 68-64. This year, SU notched their second straight and second all-time NCAA Division I 20-win season. The last time the program recorded back-to-back 20 win seasons at any level was 1986-87 and 1987-88. For all the most up-to-date information throughout the tournament, stay tuned to www.GoSeattleU.com, @su_athletics on Twitter, Seattle U Athletics on Facebook, @su_wbb on Instagram.
Links can also be found on the women’s basketball schedule page at www.GoSeattleU.com.
All-WAC Honors: As voted upon by the league’s 10 head coaches, Joan Bonvicini was named WAC Coach of the Year, Kacie Sowell was named Player of the Year, and Sylvia Shephard was named Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, Sowell was named to the First Team, Shephard was named to the second team, and Shephard and Daidra Brown were named to the All-Defensive Team.
WAC All-Tournament Team: Kacie Sowell and Sylvia Shephard were named to the WAC All-Tournament team as voted upon by media at the tournament.
Bonvicini Coach of the Year History: Bonvicini has now been named Coach of the Year in every conference she has been a part of, named WCAA Coach of the Year and Big West Coach of the Year three times (1981, 1984, 1986) at Long Beach State, and PCAA Coach of the Year in 1986. At Arizona, she was named Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 1998 and was named Independent Coach of the Year in 2012. Regionally, she has been honored as Region VIII Coach of the Year four times (1981, 1984, 1986, 1998) and, nationally, was named NCAA Division I Coach of the Year in 1981.
Sowell Passes 1000 Career Points: With her layup at the 10:12 mark of the second half, Kacie Sowell became only the 12th player in program history to pass the 1000 career point mark in the quarterfinals of the WAC Tournament vs. New Mexico State on Mar. 13.
Bonvicini Named to Top 30 for Naismith College Women’s Coach: Head coach Joan Bonvicini was named to the Top 30 list of finalists for the Naismith College Women’s Coach alongside coaches like Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, Kentucky’s Matthew Mitchell, and Washington’s Kevin McGuff. The top four will be announced on Mar. 20.
Redhawks Celebrate Season at Team Banquet: The team held their annual team banquet at the Space Needle on Mar. 18, as they especially celebrated their conference success and postseason destiny. Awards were given out for top rebounder (Kacie Sowell), team captains, best free-throw percentage (Ashley Ward), and most assists (Sylvia). Several votes, as voted upon by the team, were also given including Most Inspirational (strength coach Wes Philips), Defensive Player of the Year (Daidra Brown), Most Improved (Brenda Adhiambo), and MVP (Kacie Sowell).
Scouting St. Mary’s: Saint Mary’s, a No. 3 seed in the West Coast Conference tournament, is also 20-10 going into the matchup. The Gaels defeated No. 7 Portland on Mar. 8 in the quarterfinals but fell to San Diego, 74-53, on Mar. 9 in the semifinals, who eventually fell to tournament winner, Gonzaga, in the championship game. The Gaels went 3-0 to open the conference season, including a 54-51 win vs. Gonzaga on Jan. 10 and won three of their last five regular season conference games. They are led in scoring by Jackie Nared, averaging 16.6 ppg and Danielle Mauldin, averaging a double-double (13.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg). Nared, leading the WCC in scoring, and Mauldin, leading the WCC in rebounding, have combined for 30 double-doubles this season. This will be St. Mary’s fourth consecutive postseason appearance, as they also made the WNIT last season. In the first round, they defeated UNLV, 71-63, before falling to Oregon State, 56-41, in the second round.
Last Time Out: This will be the fourth all-time meeting between the Redhawks and Gaels, as Saint Mary’s has won all three previous contests. In their last meeting on Dec. 17, 2011 at the Connolly Center, St. Mary’s came away with just a one point win, 71-70.