LARAMIE, Wyo. (March 16) – Seattle University women’s basketball fell, 68-52, at Wyoming in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday night. The Redhawks’ season ended with a 15-18 record as SU outperformed expectations throughout the year.
“Wyoming is such a disciplined team, said first-year Coach Suzy Barcomb. “On our end, I thought Kamira was extra-special tonight."
At the Arena-Auditorium Thursday, Seattle U battled, but fell behind in the second half, and the Cowgirls came away with a postseason victory. Kamira Sanders scored 17 points, while Kaylee Best set the SU career three-point record.
"For us, the only reason we're standing here is because of our senior class," said Barcomb."Tonight is not indicative of what they've done for this team. They willed us to win some games this year."
In the first half, Wyoming grabbed a lead early in each quarter, only to see the Redhawks rally late in the frame. The Cowgirls went ahead 10-0 after 4:12 in the first period, but Sanders made two free throws to get SU on the board. A Wilma Afunugo lay-in made it a six-point difference and then Best made a steal and then drained a three from the left corner at the 4:25 mark. The trey was the 194th of Best’s career, surpassing Elle Kerfoot for the Redhawks’ career three-pointer record.
The senior continued her stellar half with a pair of free throws to get Seattle U within a point. After another Best steal, Jacinta Beckley scored to give the Redhawks an 11-10 edge with 1:59 to play. The hosts regained the lead, but Ashlyn Lewey hit a jumper to put SU back on top. A late Wyoming hoop gave the home side a 14-13 lead after one frame.
After a Alexis Montgomery bucket on SU’s first second-quarter possession, the Cowgirls tried to run away again. A three-point play made it 25-15 with 5:37 remaining in the half, but Seattle U was ready to answer again. Lewey finished a Montgomery assist to start a rally. Best grabbed a steal and Sanders scored on the other end, making it 25-19 with 2:33 left. The freshman scored again in the lane, this time while being fouled. She hit the ensuing foul shot to push the Redhawks closer. After a Wyoming free throw, Lewey sank a long two-pointer from the corner, pulling SU within 26-24 at the 1:12 mark. The home team scored to close the half, though, as the Cowgirls took a 28-24 advantage into halftime.
Wyoming stretched its lead again in the third period, as the hosts took a 42-27 advantage at the 4:39 mark. A Beckley jumper and two Sanders free throws got SU back in it. Montgomery hit a jump shot with 2:06 left and then Sanders made a layup. After a Cowgirl hoop, Lewey sneaked in for a putback with five seconds left in the quarter, sending the Redhawks into the final 10 minutes down 47-37.
In the fourth, Wyoming had another solid start to the quarter, and this time, SU was unable to muster a comeback. Best hit a late trey as all six Redhawk seniors saw time in the closing minutes.
Sanders hit 5-12 field goals, along with 7-7 free throw shooting, on her way to 17 points. Best recorded eight points and a season-high seven steals. She finishes her Seattle U career with 195 made threes. Lewey added eight points, while Beckley scored eight in her first action after missing over a month with a hand injury.
SU has now made three Division I postseason appearances, including two in the WNIT. After being picked to finish seventh in the WAC preseason polls, the Redhawks took second in the regular-season standings and advanced to the WAC Championship game.