REDHAWKS WIN: Bump the cheerleaders, Heck and Kerfoot gathered their team at halfcourt — in the middle of a dancing cheer squad — to celebrate the Redhawks’ first win of the season. The impressive 66-56 finish was the best Bonvicini said her team has played since being hired last year. How good? Well, for starters SU shot 51.7 percent in the second half. “That’s a first!” Kerfoot blurted in postgame interviews. Even better was that the team had 11 assist on 15 made FGs in the second half, Kerfoot and Brown leading with three apiece. Dickerson and Kerfoot led in scoring, each totaling 11 of their game-high 16 points after the break. Butcher and Heck had eight points while Brown was everywhere with her seven points, seven boards, and four assists. Although she did have three turnovers. SU will play Bowling Green on Saturday for the Thanksgiving Tournament title (does a drumstick come with that?). The Falcons, which reached the Sweet 16 in 2007 and are six-time defending MAC champions, are more solid offensively. But if SU plays the type of defense it did on Friday to get that easy transition offense rolling, the Redhawks have a chance. In the half-court, SU was good, shooting 24-of-63 from the field. “Against their zone, we had a lot of open looks around the perimeter,” said Kerfoot, who still wants to improve upon her 3-for-11 showing from three-point range. “We have to keep shooting in order to spread out that zone. As we kept building on the lead, we continued to make shots.” For now, there’s still another hour to enjoy the first win. “It’s amazing what happens when you start winning,” Bonvicini said. “You feel tight when you lose, so this is something that we’ve got to build on. We have a big challenge in front of us (Saturday), but I like the way we played (Friday). I thought we played a complete game.”
TIME!: Bonvicini is looking a little disgusted. What was dazzling play to build a 10-point lead, turned into a little too much moxie. Brown had a wicked pick, but got too jazzy with an assist that turned into a turnover. MSU grabbed a rebound on another missed offensive possession for SU and the four points off the miscues made the score 50-44. Bonvicini called time to get her team back.
WHO’S THAT TEAM?: Wow. Seattle U. is looking like a championship team. OK, that’s taking it a little far. Still, Butcher’s ripping the ball from MSU and passing it ahead to Brown who fed Dickerson in the paint for a score was eye-popping. The Redhawks are up 48-40 with 7:19 remaining. The Bobcats, shooting 50 percent in the second half, have spurts of good play, but SU wants this game. Freshman Sylvia Shephard is the only Redhawk who hasn’t scored.
STEAMY: Seattle U. is 7-for-13 from the field for 53.8 percent in the second half, reason for their 41-35 lead with 11 minutes on the clock. Now the question is whether the team can finish — it was a big problem on the road and Bonvicini wanted the trend stopped Friday.
LOOKING CONFIDENT: SU is getting solid production from all areas and Brown is starting to look confident on the floor, sinking reverse layins and three-pointers to help the Redhawks stay up 36-31 with 13:10 remaining in the game. The speed is fast and MSU looks better in the running game, but giving up points in transition.
ALLEN FINE: Allen appeared to sprain her right ankle and will not return to Friday’s game, but a spokesman for the team anticipated her being able to play on Saturday.
HALFTIME: The Redhawks had an impressive finish to regain control of the game with a 24-19 lead at the break. The stretch included a three-pointer by Julee Chrisitianson then an inside feed from Heck to Sowell, who was fouled on a layin. She made the ensuing FT to finish the scoring. It’s a low-scoring game (duh), but SU’s defense is full of life and moxie. The Redhawks are also using their athleticism to their advantage, just as coach Joan Bonvicini wanted her team to do. But you figure leading scorer, Seidensticker, won’t be contained all night. She and Bussey are the Bobcat’s leading scorers, averaging 16.5 and 15.0 points, respectively. But they are a combined 3 of 15 from the field in the opening half. Banis leads MSU with five points while Balian has seven boards. SU is 9-for-34 from the field, Dickerson and Kerfoot leading with five points apiece. The Redhawks have outscored the Bobcats 13-3 in second-chance points and 5-0 off turnovers. SU forced nine turnovers overall. If either team can improve on shooting, they’ll win the game.
ALLEN HURT?: Allen left the game with an apparent right ankle injury. It looked like a SU player stepped on her foot. Allen was helped to the Bobcats bench and is being evaluated now.
SPEEDY PLAY: The Bobcats clearly don’t like to run. The Redhawks are pushing the ball and playing aggressive to remain in the game despite poor shooting. A nice Brown putback off a missed three-pointer by Kerfoot gave SU a 18-17 lead with 3:20 remaining in the half.
ICE COLD: Did another cold front move in? Yeah, cause SU is 1 of 10 from the field since making its opening four shots. Redhawks is tied 14-14 with 6:43 left in the half. Seidensticker is still quiet, 0-for-3 from the field.
TIE GAME: C Chelsea Bains, a freshman, nailed a turnaround hook-shot to tie the score at 12 apiece with 10 minutes left in the first half. SU has stopped hitting and getting the rebounds, but is doing a good job muffling MSU leading scorer Seidensticker and got a a shot-clock violation.
BUTCHER IN: F Carley Butcher and Heck connected for a nice play inside the paint to keep the Redhawks up. But the Bobcats are looking like they may be settling into the pace of the game. Emily Allen hit a three-pointer while Banis sank two FTs to make the score 12-8 with 11:45 on the clock.
FIRST THREE: The Bobcats stopped a 10-0 run with a three-pointer from Bussey with 14:02 remaining in the opening half. But it hardly got MSU going offensively. The Bobcats are 1 of 13 from the field (1 of 7 from three) while SU is a respectable 4 of 13.
GOOD START: SU has forced turnovers and Kerfoot made a three-pointer to put the team up 4-0 with 16:31 remaining in the opening half. Bussey missed two three-point attempts for Montana State.
Seattle University’s annual Thanksgiving Tournament is under way with Bowling Green defeating University of Arkansas-Little Rock 56-47 in the first game Friday evening. Despite the low score, it was an entertaining matchup that came down to some late three-point shooting by G Laura Prochaska to seal the win.
The senior was an impressive 15-of-15 from the FT line and her two three pointers were all that was needed of her six attempts. Prochaska finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and one turnover to delight the small cluster of fans in orange who made the trip to support the team.
The Falcons (5-1) advance to the championship game on Saturday at 8 p.m. at Connolly Center. UALR (2-2), which surprised some with its win against Louisiana Tech on Nov. 19, plays at 6 p.m. against either SU or Montana State.
The Bobcats (2-2) are a great three-point shooting team with solid, big play inside. The Redhawks (0-4) are still getting adjusted and trying to shake off the losing stretches of yesteryear.
Seattle U. will have to be sound defensively and improve on its 32.5 shooting percentage from the field in order to have a chance in this game. And hopefully there’s not a slow start after feasting on pounds of turkey to celebrate the holiday on Thursday.
But there’s only one way to tell, playing the game.
Let’s get you started with your starting lineups:
F Lyndi Seidensticker
F Rachel Semansky
C Sarah Balian
G Ally Schmitt
G Katie Bussey
F Tatiana Heck
F Salena Dickerson
C Kacie Sowell
G Elle Keerfoot
G Daidra Brown
Tonight’s officials are John Weeks, Tyler Trimble, and Ashley Gilpin.