“It was a crazy game and a game of runs, but when you can win a game [like that] on the road, it’s always a good one,” said head coach Joan Bonvicini. “We’re taking steps forward and just trying to get better. Defensively, we picked up the tempo in the second half, forced a lot of turnovers, and were able to capitalize on them. Makenna Clark really gave us some solid minutes, Taelor got a very key rebound towards the end, and Alexis and Sylvia hit free throws down the stretch.”
Sophie Taylor took the first lead for LMU on a three-pointer at 19:12, a lead they kept until the 6:15 mark of the first half following a Redhawk run highlighted by five points for Ashley Ward (Irvine, Calif.).
Taelor Ross (Vancouver, Wash.) drove in a layup just 14 seconds later to bring the Redhawks within one and again at the 18 minute mark. With just over 17 minutes remaining, Sylvia Shephard (Alta Loma, Calif.) tied the game at seven on a three, but the Lions increased their lead to four, 11-7, 30 seconds later on a pair of free throws by Hazel Ramirez.
After a scoreless minute and a half, Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) brought the Redhawks within one again, 11-10, at 15:11 but Alexis Love extended the LMU lead back out to four, 14-10, nearly three minutes later. SU would trail by as many as six, 20-14, with 8:48 remaining in the opening period on a jumper by Olivia Lucero and a Ramirez three put LMU ahead by seven, 23-16, nearly a minute later.
A 9-0 Seattle U run over the next two and a half minutes gave them their first lead of the game, 25-23, jumpstarted by a Wilma Afunugo (Plano, Texas) jumper with a three-pointer and layup by Ward capping off the run.
Lucero hit a three at 5:48 to regain the lead for the Lions, a lead they took into the halftime break, and they re-extended the lead to as many as seven, 35-28, with 1:40 left in the first half, following a three by Ramirez.
Shephard made a free throw at 1:21 and Alexis Montgomery (Beaverton, Ore.) hit a clutch three with six seconds remaining before halftime to bring the Redhawks within two, 35-33, at the break.
The Redhawks opened up the second half with a 6-0 run to take a 39-35 lead over the first 30 seconds as Ward made both free throws, fouled just eight seconds into the half. Montgomery drove in a layup and added a pair of free throws of her own just nine second later.
Emily Ben-Jumbo hit back-to-back jumpers to tie the game at 39 at the 18:44 mark and the Lions regained the lead for less than a minute before the teams again traded the lead. Ross hit a jumper at 15:16 to put the Redhawks ahead by one, 48-47, and back-to-back layups by Kacie Sowell (Ventura, Calif.) put SU ahead by as many as six, 54-48.
A Lucero three-pointer put LMU back within three, 54-51, at 12:20 but Kaylee Best (Seattle, Wash.) went 1-for-2 at the line to pad the Redhawk lead over the scoreless next minute and a half.
At 10:38, Ward put Seattle U ahead by five, 58-53, on a three, but Alexis Love would sink a jumper at 9:35 to bring LMU back within one, 58-57.
Makenna Clark (Lake Tapps, Wash.) hit a pair of free throws and drove in a layup to extend the Redhawk lead back to five, 62-57, with 8:43 remaining but LMU would go on a 11-0 run over the next three minutes to lead, 68-62.
Ward regained the lead, 69-68, on a pair of free throws following a Montgomery three-pointer as the catalyst for a 7-0 SU run.
At 1:40, Ramirez drove in a layup to put LMU ahead, 70-69, but Shephard regained the Redhawk lead for good with a pair of free throws at the 48 second mark. Montgomery went 1-for-2 at the line with three seconds remaining as Seattle U came away with the 72-70 win.
As a team, the Redhawks outshot the Lions, 49.0 to 43.1 percent, shooting 24-for-49 from the field. SU also led from behind the three-point line (46.2 percent to 41.2 percent), but narrowly trailed from the free throw line (76.5 percent to 75.0 percent). LMU outrebounded SU, 38-28, but SU led in steals, 20-10.
Montgomery led Seattle U with 14 points and six rebounds, while Ward (12 pts) and Ross (10 pts) also scored in double figures for the Redhawks. LMU’s Ramirez led all players with 15 points while Mackenzie Kerins grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.
Seattle U concludes their pre-Christmas road trip in Southern California facing Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m.