FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Seattle University women’s basketball led in the fourth quarter at Northern Arizona on Saturday afternoon, but the Lumberjacks pulled out an 88-80 decision. Kamira Sanders matched her career high with 30 points in the non-conference game at the Rolle Activities Complex.
"Kamira was once again phenomenal today," said fourth-year Coach Suzy Barcomb. "Her fearless attitude is outstanding. Courtney had some great looks that were set up by running solid offensive sets. In a game this close, it comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes. We just made one too many late and couldn't get enough rebounds."
Trailing by seven going into the fourth quarter, the Redhawks looked to turn the game around. Sarah Rahon found Joana Alves for a layup and then Sanders hit Alves for another basket in the lane. Courtney Murphy followed with a jumper to get within a point and then she made a steal to set up an Olivia Crawford layup for a 66-65 edge with 8:03 left.
An Alves lay-in extended the lead, but NAU regained a 69-68 margin. Crawford sank two free throws to put SU back ahead, but six straight Lumberjack points put the Redhawks back behind down the stretch.
Crawford scored again to keep it close, but NAU replied with points on its end to hold SU at bay. Sanders made a layup to make it a four-point game with 3:17 remaining, but the Redhawks got no closer in the fourth.
Sanders shot 12-26 from the field on her way to 30 points. She added six rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes. Murphy tallied 14 points, sinking four treys on the day. Alves added eight points and 10 rebounds, while Crawford scored 10 points in her first start of the season. McKenzi Williams recorded nine points and four boards off the bench.
Murphy nailed a three-pointer to start scoring in the first frame, but NAU scored 11 straight points to take early control. Murphy slowed the run with another trey, and after a Lumberjack three, Crawford made a jumper. Sanders got going from there, putting up six straight Redhawk points.
Carla Bieg trimmed the deficit further with two foul shots and then Murphy swished her third trey of the quarter to pull within four. The hosts finished with a three-point play to take a 26-19 advantage after a period.
Sanders continued her strong play in the second frame, making a triple and then a layup as SU got within 28-24 early in the second. The senior poured in two more baskets, but NAU’s offense matched. Georgia Kehoe finished inside and then a Murphy steal set up a Sanders hoop to tie the game at 32 at the 5:50 mark.
The home side converted a three-point play, but Sanders answered with a three to even the score again. Seattle U went cold after that, as a pair of Williams free throws represented SU’s only offense the rest of the half. NAU entered halftime with a 46-37 margin.
Alves scored to open third-quarter scoring and then Sanders scored again. A Chinwe Ezeonu three-point play got SU within five, but NAU looked escape once more, taking a 10-point advantage with 6:33 remaining in the frame. Sanders finished inside and after a Lumberjack hoop, Williams completed a three-point play at the 5:04 mark. Later in the quarter, Kehoe finished a Murphy dish and then Sanders assisted on a Murphy trey to close the period with Northern Arizona leading, 65-58.
Sanders scored 30 points for the second time in three outings. The senior has been one of the top scorers in the nation early this season. She also passed Amy Kuchan (1,022) and Taelor Ross (1,029) on the program’s career scoring list on Saturday. Sanders is now at 1,038 points at SU.
SU returns home this week, hosting Idaho on Wednesday. Tip-off is slated for 6 p.m. at the Redhawk Center.