A strong shooting and rebounding night for Pepperdine University was enough to overcome Seattle University’s defensive pressure as the Waves defeated the Redhawks, 84-73, Friday night in the 2013-14 women’s basketball opener for both teams at the Connolly Center.
Baskets by Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) and Kaylee Best (Seattle, Wash.) put the Redhawks ahead, 4-0, but Pepperdine scored the next six points, and then the Waves went on a 9-2 scoring run to open a 17-10 advantage seven minutes into the contest.
After Pepperdine established a 10-point lead at 29-19 on a layup by Allie Green, the Redhawks scored the next seven points, punctuated by a three-pointer from Alexis Montgomery (Beaverton, Ore.), to close their deficit to three at 29-26 with six minutes to go in the first half.
Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) hit a three-pointer in the final minute to tie the game at 34-34, but after the two teams exchanged possessions without scoring, Keitra Wallace converted on a traditional three-point play to give the Waves a 37-34 lead at halftime.
Pepperdine (1-0) opened the second half with an 8-3 scoring run, bookended by baskets from Bria Richardson, to extend its lead back to eight at 45-37. Ahead by six five minutes into the second half, the Waves scored seven unanswered points, starting with another three-point play by Wallace and continuing with layups from Ea Shoushtari and Kelsey Brockway, to take their biggest lead of the game at 56-43.
The Redhawks were unable to close their deficit back to single digits until the final minute, as the Waves held off every challenge from the home team, including a 9-2 scoring run to increase their lead to 69-51 with seven-and-a-half minutes remaining in the second half. Montgomery scored five straight points and Ward followed with a layup to bring Seattle U back to within 11 at 69-58, but jumpers by Shoushtari and Richardson ended the Redhawks’ momentum as the two teams basically traded points down the stretch.
“We did not have a sense of urgency from the get-go tonight, and it hurt us,” Seattle U head coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We played hard, but not hard enough and not smart enough. We will learn from this and get better.”
Sowell notched a double-double, leading Seattle U with 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Ward, Montgomery, and Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) contributed 15 points apiece. Shephard also earned six rebounds, five assists, and four steals, but Seattle U shot only 40.0 percent (30-of-75) from the field, including 4-of-15 from behind the three-point line, and 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from the free throw line.
Five players scored in double figures for the Waves, led by Richardson with 16 points to go along with four assists and four steals. Shoushtari scored 15 points, as did Wallace to go along with nine rebounds, while Amanda Lovely contributed 14 points and six rebounds off the bench. Tessa Emerson also notched a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds as the Waves shot 61.7 percent (37-of-60) from the field and outrebounded the Redhawks, 46-36.
Before the game, the 2012-13 women’s basketball team was recognized for winning the Western Athletic Conference regular season title. The banner signifying the accomplishment was unveiled on the east wall of the Connolly Center North Court.
Seattle University (0-1) looks to bounce back Tuesday, Nov. 12, against the Washington State Cougars starting at 7 p.m. at the Connolly Center. Live stats and live video, with play-by-play action broadcast by Brian Abker, will be available on GoSeattleU.com.