SEATTLE - Seattle University women’s basketball beat Saint Martin’s, 91-81, to begin the 2019-20 season on Wednesday night. Kamira Sanders led the Redhawks with a career-high 28 points in the victory at the Redhawk Center.
"We've been looking forward to the 2019-20 season for a long time," said Coach Suzy Barcomb. "We were really out of sync in the first half, but adjusted at halftime and improved. Our bench was helpful for us tonight and we feel like we could have a different leading scorer every game."
Saint Martin's started out hot, grabbing an early 16-6 lead as it hit the first seven shots of the night. Buckets by Sanders, Chinwe Ezeonu, and Joana Alves trimmed the deficit late in the quarter, but the Saints held a 22-18 advantage through 10 minutes.
In the second frame, SMU continued to shoot well, putting up 28 points to maintain its margin. A pair of Sanders' baskets got SU within 45-41, but the visitors pulled back ahead at 50-43 at halftime.
Seattle U buckled down defensively in the second half, adjusting to stifle the Saints and ignite its offense on the other end. Ezeonu scored and Alves drew a charge early in the third period. Alves then assisted on a Sanders hoop and then Ezeonu sank a jumper to make it 53-50 Saints with 7:49 left in the third. A McKenzi Williams layup made it a one-point game, and after an SMU score, Williams scored again and then Sanders made an open-court steal and cruised for the go-ahead layup at the 5:29 mark. The Saints scored on their next trip, but another Sanders steal-and-score gave SU a 58-57 edge that it would not relinquish.
Olivia Crawford, Courtney Murphy, and Genessa Bedoya each sank two foul shots and then Georgia Kehoe scored inside and then swatted a shot on the other end. SMU scored to close the quarter, but the Redhawks managed a 66-63 lead through three.
Sanders scored in the lane again to start the fourth and then Murphy hit inside for a seven-point lead. A Kehoe putback made it 72-63 and then Sanders made another steal and went in for another lay-in at the 6:32 mark. After an SMU bucket, Sanders swished her first trey of the night. The Saints hit two foul shots, but Williams finished an and-one for an 80-72 difference with 2:51 to play. Williams then set up a Crawford triple that slammed the door on the Saints with 2:32 remaining.
SU shot 34-65 (52.3 percent) from the floor, including 54.8 percent accuracy in the second half. It held the visitors to 29 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes of play, forcing the Saints to go 2-11 from three-point range.
Sanders shot 13-25 from the field and pulled down seven rebounds to go with five steals. Murphy tallied 15 points, including two three-pointers, while Williams hit 4-5 field-goal tries on her way to 13 points. Ezeonu added 10 points and five boards, Crawford provided nine points off the bench, and Alves contributed eight points on 4-6 shooting.
Seattle U travels for its next three games, starting at Utah State on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. Pacific (7 p.m. Mountain)