“This was a tough game to lose and it definitely stings. It’s great to be in the championship game but it stings to be second. I’m proud of our team, proud of our effort. When things got tough down the stretch, Stacey Barr took over the came and found a way to score, either from the field or from the free-throw line. They have a good team, hats off to them.”
Idaho opened up with an 8-0 run over the first three and a half minutes and would lead again by eight, 12-4, at 13:44. Connie Ballestero scored on two three’s and Christina Salvatore added another on the run.
Maren Austgulen and Stacey Barr would hit back-to-back shots from behind the arc as Idaho would lead by as many as 14, 18-4, at 11:44. Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) went 2-for-2 from the line and Kaylee Best (Seattle, Wash.) added a jumper to cut the lead to 10 and they would cut it to 10 two more times by 6:48, 24-14.
Seattle U would go on a 11-2 run over a five minute span to bring them within just one, 26-25, at 2:35 on contributions by five different Redhawks.
Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) tied the game on a layup with 39 seconds left until half before Alyssa Charlston added a pair of free throws to take the 29-27 lead for Idaho at halftime.
Seattle U would cut the lead to two three more times over the opening three minutes of the second half before taking the lead, 37-36, at 15:31 on a three-pointer by Shephard.
Back-to-back three’s by Salvatore and Charlston would put Idaho back ahead by three, 42-39, at 13:17 and the Redhawks would cut the deficit again to three two more times before taking the lead, 48-46, at 10:31 on a layup by Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.).
Idaho would regain the lead on pair of free throws by Addie Schivo at 8:34, which would prove to be for good.
Four points by Charlston and a three by Austgulen would put Idaho back ahead by six with six minutes remaining and they would lead by seven two different times between the two and three minutes marks. Barr and Austgulen would combine to go 2-for-4 from the line over the final 20 seconds to clinch the 75-67 win.
Ward led the Redhawks with 17 points while Sylvia Shephard (14 pts) and Kacie Sowell (12 pts) also scored in double figures for Seattle U. Ward and Sowell were named to the WAC All-Tournament team alongside Danesia Williamson (New Mexico State), Charlston (Idaho), and Tournament MVP Barr (Idaho).
Seattle U shot 44.1 percent (26-for-59) from the field as well as 52.4 percent (11-for-21) from the free throw line. Idaho outrebounded Seattle U, 34-32.
The Redhawks will learn their potential Women’s Basketball Invitational fate on Monday following the NCAA Selection Show and WNIT selections.