SEATTLE (Feb. 23) – Seattle University women’s basketball fell, 58-57, to UTRGV Thursday night. The Vaqueros made a game-winning putback at the buzzer to claim the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) contest at the Connolly Complex.
"It's disappointing," said Coach Suzy Barcomb. "We had an opportunity to lock down second place (in the WAC) and we couldn't take advantage."
Each team took a turn controlling the game, with the visitors going up early and then SU (12-15, 9-3 WAC) taking the lead in the second quarter. The Redhawks clung to a 49-48 edge through three periods and then Alexis Montgomery scored for a three-point lead. Neither team scored for nearly three minutes before Bernesha Peters scored on three trips in a row to give the Vaqueros (17-11, 7-5 WAC) a 54-51 lead with 5:04 to play.
Kaylee Best came up with a steal and Montgomery finished on the other end. After several defensive stands, Best was fouled. She split a pair at the line, tying the match at 54 with 2:12 remaining. Montgomery then pulled down a rebound and went the length of the floor for a layup at the 1:58 mark. UTRGV responded with two free throws to tie it at 56 with 1:29 left.
Seattle U made a stop, but UTRGV got a rebound and was fouled. It missed both foul shots, and after grabbing a board, Montgomery was hacked. She made her first at foul line, but missed the second with 41 seconds to go. The Vaqueros missed two shots on their next possession and Wilma Afunugo battled to get the rebound. The Redhawks looked to draw a foul in the final 10 seconds, but the visitors earned a jump ball with 3.3 seconds left. The possession arrow went to the Vaqueros. Shawnte’ Goff missed a short shot, but Hildur Bjorg Kjartansdottir was there to follow up, as her shot fell through just before the horn.
Montgomery totaled 14 points and 9 rebounds in 38 minutes. Best posted 12 points, 7 assists, 5 boards, and 3 steals. Afunugo contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Sanders added five points and six boards. Goff led UTRGV with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
After a first quarter that featured frigid Redhawk shooting, SU turned things around in the second period. Afunugo made two free throws and a layup and then Best sank a three-pointer, getting Seattle U within 19-16 at the 6:52 mark. UTRGV stretched its lead, but Best took over as the Redhawks went ahead. The senior made a layup and then grabbed a rebound and set up a Joana Alves lay-in. Best assisted on another Alves bucket with 4:00 left in the half. After another defensive stop, Best found Ashlyn Lewey for an open layup for a 24-22 SU lead that led to a UTRGV timeout.
Best followed with a steal and then drilled a trey with 3:12 to go. The Vaqueros trimmed their deficit, but Afunugo finished a three-point play and then Heredia converted a layup while being fouled. Her ensuing foul shot made it 33-26 in the final minute. The visitors scored to close the period, but Seattle U held a 33-28 margin at halftime. In the second frame, the Redhawks shot 9-15 from the field and 4-4 at the free throw line, outscoring their foes, 24-11.
In the third quarter, Afunugo made a layup and Sanders hit a triple for a 38-33 Redhawk advantage with 8:45 left. UTRGV tied it, but Best answered with a three. After the visitors evened the score again, Lewey finished a three-point play at the 5:53 mark. An Afunugo basket with 3:34 to play in the frame gave Seattle a 46-43 edge. Delanie Parry followed with a steal in the backcourt that resulted in a layup and a five-point difference. UTRGV ended the quarter with a 5-1 spurt, as SU held a 49-48 lead entering the final quarter.
In the first period, Montgomery started out hot, scoring the first seven SU points. Sanders scored in the paint at the 4:44 mark, pulling the hosts within 10-9, but UTRGV finished the quarter with seven straight points to claim an eight-point difference through 10 minutes.
Seattle U continues its three-game home stand as WAC-leading New Mexico State visits the Connolly Complex on Saturday, Feb. 25. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.