Seattle U (15-9, 12-3 Western Athletic Conference) has three games remaining to conclude its regular-season. SU holds a half-game lead against Utah State (14-11, 11-3) for the regular-season conference title and top-seed in the upcoming WAC tournament in Las Vegas from March 12-16.
The Redhawks host Texas State (9-16, 3-11) on Thursday and Texas-San Antonio (14-11, 8-6) on Saturday. The three-game home stand at Connolly Center concludes with a rematch against Idaho (12-14, 9-6) on March 9. If SU finishes strong and wins the conference tournament, they are pegged as a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament, playing nationally ranked No. 4 Stanford.
Seattle U is rejuvenated. It had a week between games, completing a two-game sweep on the road Valentine’s Day weekend. The Redhawks are on a four-game win streak overall.
SU coach Joan Bonvicini used the time to give the players some rest and perfect game plans.
“I think it was good rest and we had good practiced today (Monday),” Bonvicini said. “Our team is focused and it’s just about staying fresh. Everyone picks up the intensity, takes it up another notch at this point in the season. But we’re in position. We control our own destiny.”
This is the Redhawks’ first year of NCAA-tournament eligibility. Due to lack of schedule strength, the WAC typically only gets its one automatic NCAA berth, the champion of its conference tournament, into the field of 64. SU advanced to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) last season, losing 68-64 to Northern Iowa in the semifinal round.
Seattle U will host its annual banquet on March 18 at the Space Needle. Fans are encouraged to attend the reception that begins at 6:30pm followed by a dinner program at 7pm. Bonvicini plans to announce any postseason berths at the function.
VEGAS BOUND: Gonzaga is also headed to Vegas for the West Coast Conference tournament from March 6-11. The Zags (24-5, 14-1 WCC) will conclude its regular-season at home on Thursday against Portland (10-17, 4-9). The Zags clinched its ninth-consecutive WCC regular-season title last week with a road win against BYU (19-8, 10-4).
It’ll be senior night at McCarthey Athletic Center. The program graduates two in guards Meghan Winters and Taelor Karr, who transferred to the program as a junior. They’ll be recognized prior to the game and address the crowd.
Both said on the team’s website they’ll try not to get wrapped up in the emotion of the night. Although the regular-season title is sealed, GU is playing for seeding in the NCAA tournament. It’s currently pegged as a No. 12 seed playing Iowa State in the Spokane Regional. It would be the Zags’ fifth consecutive berth.
“We understand that it’s important to keep that legacy going,” Karr said on the team’s website. She’s Gonzaga’s second-leading scorer (11 points) “But at the same time, Coach (Kelly Graves) tells us we shouldn’t feel pressure about it; it should be a fun thing for us to go out and compete. I think most of us embrace it and feel like it’s going to make us play harder and play better.”
The WCC is projected to have just one berth this season. The Cougars are part of the first eight teams out of consideration.