SEATTLE – Seattle University women’s basketball led Cal State Fullerton late, but the Titans escaped with a 57-54 decision on opening night Tuesday. Joana Alves led four player in double figures with 13 points at the Redhawk Center.
“This is our team right now,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb, beginning her third season at SU. “We’re going to have to grow up in every single game and practice. There’s going to be some tough lessons on how to close out games. We have to shoot better from the three-point line, but it was great that we were better at the free-throw line.”
SU (0-1) got out to a slow start, but eight made free throws kept it in reach. Still, the visitors held a 22-14 advantage after 10 minutes.
In the second period, the Redhawks’ defense stepped forward, containing Fullerton to 3-16 field-goal shooting. A pair of Leilani Peat baskets got SU closer early in the frame. Delaney McCann and Alves both scored and then a Kamira Sanders three-point play made it a one-point difference at the 4:47 mark. Two Carla Bieg foul shots briefly put the Redhawks ahead at 27-26, but the visitors answered with a go-ahead bucket. McCann converted in the lane twice late, as the home side grabbed a 31-28 margin in the final two minutes. The Titans eventually tied the game, as the teams entered halftime deadlocked at 31.
Sanders swished a straight-on three-pointer to open third-quarter scoring. Neither team could gain more than three points of separation in the period, as each side traded hoops throughout the 10 minutes. Sanders made a layup to even it at 42, and after a Titan free throw, Madeline Dopplick drained a trey with 18 seconds to play, putting SU up, 45-43, with 10 minutes left.
Alves went to work to start the fourth, hitting four foul shots and a layup as the hosts went ahead, 51-43 at the 7:55 mark. Cal State Fullerton cut its deficit to five, but a Dopplick triple made it 54-46 with under five minutes remaining. The visitors had the closing kick, though, ending the contest on an 11-0 burst to steal a victory.
Alves connected on 7-8 free throws on her way to a career-high 13 points. She pulled down eight rebounds in 18 minutes of foul-plagued action. Dopplick made two threes, totaling 11 points to go with five boards. Sanders and McCann posted 10 points and six rebounds apiece. Peat added seven points and six rebounds in her SU debut off the bench. Daeja Smith paced the Titans with 18 points and 12 boards.
Seattle U honored its 2018 WAC title with a banner unveiling prior to Tuesday's contest. Members of the 2018 WNBA-champion Seattle Storm were recognized during a halftime ceremony.
SU welcomes Northern Arizona for another non-conference game on Friday. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m. at the Redhawk Center.