Seattle U started its season Saturday with an exhibition game against Central Washington at Connolly Center. The Redhawks made its debut with three new starters to replace graduated seniors in F Kacie Sowell, G Sylvia Shephard and F Ashley Ward.
SU’s young lineup of sophomore PGs Kaylee Best and Alexis Montgomery, freshman wing Jacinta Beckley, sophomore F Wilma Afunugo and junior C Taelor Ross took some time to find a groove before winning 64-51. The Redhawks missed its first four shots and only led 29-26 at the break.
CWU junior F Jasmine Parker’s dump pass in transition to junior F Alexis Berrysmith pulled the Wildcats within 37-35 early in the second half. But Montgomery, the steady hand in the game, was able to immediately respond to ignite a 15-0 Redhawks run. Montgomery finished with 11 points and seven assists, but also had five of the team’s 20 overall turnovers.
Afunugo, who started 10 games last season, was a spark inside and finished with a game-high 20 points while Ross had 15. The post duo combined for 10 rebounds.
SU plays another exhibition game on Wednesday at Connolly Center before its season-opener on Nov. 14 at Long Beach State.
“We are definitely a work in progress,” Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini said. “It wasn’t necessarily pretty all the time but I thought we made significant improvements between the first and second halves. Wilma played a very, very good game as well as Taelor and Alexis. We need to improve defensively and on our rebounding, but I liked our intensity and our hustle and, with a lot of young kids, we’re going to continue to get better.”
GALDEIRA SHINES: Junior G Lia Galdeira scored 26 points in Washington State’s 71-56 exhibition win Sunday against Central Methodist University (Mo.) at Beasley Coliseum.
WSU scored 23 points off 28 CMU turnovers and produced a 27-9 advantage in second-chance points as 11 Cougars scored. Senior G Tia Presley finished with 10 points and four steals, Galdeira added five steals and junior G Dawnyelle Awa had eight assists.
Washington State used a 10-0 run to build an early lead. Galdeira caught fire late in the first half, scoring nine straight points as the Cougars built a 41-18 advantage with 2:19 remaining. The Cougars led 41-20 at the break.
Central Methodist traded baskets with WSU for much of the second half, hitting five three-pointers and holding WSU to 33 percent shooting to keep the game within reach. Washington State answered each CMU scoring spurt, however, and took advantage of its size to score 18 second-chance points in the second half to get the win.
WSU opens its regular-season on Nov. 14 against No. 22 Dayton at Beasley Coliseum.
NEW ERA FOR ZAGS: The Lisa Fortier head coaching era began with a 92-44 exhibition win Sunday over Eastern Oregon at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags shot 49 percent from the field and limited EOU to 17 made field goals on 48 attempts, forcing 25 turnovers.
“I thought our team did a good job of pushing the tempo,” said Fortier, a longtime GU assistant hired to replace Kelly Graves. “It was good to see us back out there with our fans, and not picking up where we left off, but on our way to it.”
Senior G Lindsay Sherbert led five Bulldogs in double-digit scoring with 16 points.
Here are highlights from the game: