“Ashley [Ward] has ice water in her veins,” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “We have kids who are smart, work hard, and don’t care who gets the credit. I’m just so proud to be their coach. To be able to win the [regular season title] outright is not only great for the program but great for the university.”
The Redhawks held Idaho to just five points in the opening seven minutes, jumping out to a 12-5 lead behind back-to-back-to-back layups by Brenda Adhiambo (Mombasa, Kenya), Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.), and Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.). Shephard followed with two more layups during the run.
Stacey Barr put the Vandals back within four, 12-8, at 12:46 on a three point play, but SU extended the margin back to seven, 15-8, on three straight points by Daidra Brown (Seattle, Wash.).
Idaho came within one, 19-18, at 10:19, following a jumper by Alyssa Charlston but the Redhawks went on a 10-3 run to lead, 29-21, with eight minutes remaining in the half. Maggie McCarthy (Burlingame, Calif.) and Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.) hit three-pointers to highlight the run.
The Redhawks would lead by eight one more time just thirty seconds later, but with just two Idaho buckets over the next four straight minutes for either team, the Vandals would trail by just two, 31-29, at halftime.
Seattle U opened the second half with a 13-1 run in the first six minutes to lead the Vandals by 14, 44-30, at 14:02. Sowell, Adhiambo, and Shephard made offensive contributions during the run.
A purely defensive contest for the next three and a half minutes straight, with the exception of one Idaho free throw, Krissy Karr hit the Vandals’ first field goal of the second half at 10:48.
With Seattle U shooting from the field nearly at a standstill, Idaho would go on a 15-3 run over the next five minutes to trail by just two, 47-45. Stacey Barr added six points for Idaho during the run.
Brown put the Redhawks up by four with a jumper, but Barr added a three to close the margin to one, 49-48, with just under five minutes remaining.
The Vandals would take just their second lead of the game, 51-49, following a pair of free throws by Ali Forde at 4:28. Neither team scoring over the next two and a half minutes, Ward tied the game with her own pair of shots from the line.
Adhiambo drove in a layup to give the Redhawks the two point lead, 53-51, at 1:26, but Barr sank two more free throws with 26 seconds remaining to tie the game one final time.
In similar fashion to last weekend’s win over UTSA, a timeout was taken to draw up the final play, and, with two seconds remaining, Ward hit the game-winning jumper to give Seattle U the win, 55-53.
Adhiambo and Shephard led Seattle U with 13 points apiece, also adding five and seven rebounds, respectively. Sowell recorded her 14th double-double of the season, contributing 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Redhawks.
Barr led the Vandals and all players with 17 points, and was one of three to add a team-high six rebounds.
As a team, the Redhawks outrebounded the Vandals, 48-34, and led in all three shooting categories. SU shot 23-for-61 (37.7 percent) from the field to Idaho’s 35.1 percent (20-for-57). They also shot 30.0 percent from behind the three-point line and 54.5 percent from the line.
The Redhawks head to Las Vegas for the WAC Tournament next week, with the tournament starting on Tuesday, Mar. 12. SU will have a first round bye and will play the winner of No. 8 New Mexico State vs. No. 9 UT Arlington on Wednesday, Mar. 13 at 6 p.m. For all the latest updates, information, and highlights, stay tuned to www.GoSeattleU.com, as well as Seattle U Athletics on Facebook, @su_athletics on Twitter, and @su_wbb on Instagram.