Seattle University won a hard-fought senior night contest over Grand Canyon, 46-43 on Saturday night.
Going into the game, the Lopes were ranked one position higher in the WAC regular season standings in 4th, but Seattle U didn’t let that get in their way.
Both fourth year student-athletes Makenna Clark and Renee Dillard-Brown were recognized for their collective achievements. Dillard-Brown posted her first career double-double as she finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The game didn’t begin smoothly though, as a slow shooting start for both teams led to a meager 18-17 at halftime, GCU ahead.
“It was not a good shooting night, particularly in the first half,” Seattle U Head Coach Joan Bonvicini said, noting that her team only shot 20 percent from the field in the first period. She also said that her half time speech was deliberately short in order to allow her team to get a longer warm up before the second half.
When play started again, Seattle U started to hit some key shots and found a little cushion.
Dillard-Brown nabbed a steal around midcourt and finished with a strong lay up three minutes into the second half, which was then followed by a Kaylee Best three-pointer that put the Redhawks ahead 25-23. From that point the game started to build steam, and a three-point play by Jazmine Johnson as well as another key three from Best established that Seattle U was ready to take the game into their own hands.
As the game winded down, Seattle U hit the shots they needed to distance themselves from GCU, who were coming at the Redhawks with tenacious defense that led to a couple key turnovers. Crystal Allen hit a deep jumper pushing the lead to 44-38 with only a few minutes to go, and a vital free throw made by Best inside the final minute ensured that Seattle U would head into the WAC tournament on a high.
“This is a momentum builder. Grand Canyon has really played well as of late; they won four out of five,” Bonvicini said. “We just needed to really buckle down and get a win and it was the kind of thing [we did]. We made mistakes down the stretch again, but we just focused when we needed to. This was not a pretty win but a gutty win.”
Dillard-Brown felt very fortunate to attend Seattle U since she went to high school just down the road at Garfield High.
“[Playing at Seattle U] was definitely a privilege, I consider myself very lucky to be able to play at home in front of all my friends and family,” Dillard-Brown said. She will also hope to extend her final season by making a run in the WAC tournament.
“[We want to] keep the ball rolling. We want to make it to Saturday in Vegas,” she added.
The Redhawks will fly to Las Vegas Monday evening, where they will prepare to face Utah Valley on Wednesday March 11.
This is Bianca Sewake's fourth and final year at The Spectator, where she is the Online Content Editor and Managing Editor. She is equal parts excited and terrified that she is graduating with a BA in Journalism this spring. Unlike her hair color, Bianca's love for ice cream will never change.