SEATTLE – (Feb. 24) Seattle University women’s basketball took down first-place CSU Bakersfield, 64-56, Saturday afternoon. The Redhawks used a 19-0 third-quarter run to overwhelm the ‘Runners in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) contest at the Connolly Complex.
With the win, SU improved to 14-14 overall and 8-5 in the WAC. It is tied for third place with Grand Canyon with one game left in the regular season. Next Saturday, the Redhawks need a win over Utah Valley and a Grand Canyon loss at CSUB to claim the third seed in the WAC Championship. Any other combination of results on March 3 will see Seattle U land the fourth spot in the postseason tournament.
“We mixed our defenses better in the second half,” said Coach Suzy Barcomb. “They are so quick and athletic. We played with energy and passion and it was great to see that today. Joana gave us great minutes off the bench.”
CSUB (16-11, 10-3 WAC) entered the game on an eight-game winning streak and looked like the top team in the WAC in the first half, taking a 32-24 halftime lead. It hit a three-pointer for an 11-point lead to open the second half, but the Redhawks were about to wrestle control and turn the game on its head.
Kamira Sanders split two free throws on SU’s first trip of the third period. After a stop and a pair of offensive rebounds, Jacinta Beckley hit a three-pointer with 8:22 left. The hosts made two defensive stops and McKenzi Williams broke out for a layup to make it a five-point margin. Sanders secured a rebound and was fouled, following two made free throws to trim the deficit further.
Alexis Montgomery made a steal on the left wing and sprinted ahead for a transition lay-in, forcing a ‘Runner timeout with 5:52 remaining. The Redhawks earned another stop and Joana Alves finished a putback to give SU its first lead at 36-35. The spurt continued with a Beckley steal. The home side worked to grab two offensive boards and eventually, Beckley drove and found a cutting Montgomery for a reverse layup and a three-point advantage. Williams came up with a steal and was fouled, sinking two at the line with 3:42 showing on the clock.
The visitors committed another turnover and Sanders assisted on another Beckley triple as Seattle U took a 43-35 cushion. The 19-0 burst covered 6:43 of game action, but the SU defense was not done yet. Bakersfield closed the period with five foul shots, but it shot just 1-10 from the floor in the third quarter, missing its last nine shots and notching five turnovers in the stretch.
Ashlyn Lewey began fourth-quarter scoring with a deep three for a 48-40 lead. After two ‘Runner hoops, Kallin Spiller made a putback with 7:55 to go. The visitors scored again, but Montgomery was there to drive and connect, keeping the margin at six midway through the frame.
Sanders sank a 15-footer, and after a CSUB basket, Sanders found Montgomery in the left corner. The senior swished the three-ball, putting her side ahead, 57-49, at the 2:27 mark. SU converted its free throws to close out the game and snap the ‘Runners’ win streak.
Montgomery tallied her WAC-high 16th double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She added three assists and three steals. Beckley put up her first career double-double with 15 points and 11 boards. She hit three triples on the day. Sanders contributed nine points and six rebounds, while Williams added seven points and six boards. Spiller compiled five points, seven rebounds, and four blocks and Alves logged eight points and four boards.
Seattle U held CSUB to 32.2 field-goal shooting and outrebounded the visitors, 46-37, on the day. The Redhawks tied a season-best for fewest points allowed. They managed advantages in paint points (28-20), points off turnovers (16-8), second-chance points (19-9), and fast break points (13-6).
The ‘Runners took an early 4-0 lead, but Alves got SU on the board with a pair of foul shots. The sophomore followed with a nifty finish inside, making it 4-all with 6:45 left in the quarter.
A Montgomery jumper gave the Redhawks a one-point lead, but CSUB answered with 10 straight points. A Beckley corner trey got Seattle U within 16-10, as the visitors claimed a 17-10 advantage after a frame.
In the second period, Alves scored again and then Montgomery found Beckley ahead of the pack for a layup, cutting the deficit to 19-14 at the 8:06 mark. Montgomery then pulled down a rebound and took off, finishing a bucket on the other end while being fouled. Again, the ‘Runners replied, going up, 24-16, with 5:32 remaining in the half.
Madeline Dopplick dropped a pass off to Spiller for a layup to keep the Redhawks close and then Sanders converted a putback to make it 24-20 with 3:19 to play. CSUB pulled away, though, taking an 11-point lead. A Beckley lay-in and a Williams buzzer-beating jumper made it 32-24 at halftime.
SU will host Utah Valley on Saturday, March 3, for senior day. The Redhawks will recognize Beckley, Lewey, and Montgomery prior to tip-off at Connolly.