Everything was a blur for about 10 minutes.
“It caught us off guard how fast the game was going to go,” Seattle U senior Kacie Sowell admitted after a 105-100 loss to Oregon on Wednesday. “But it was a fun game once we got used to it and really settled in.”
The Ducks lead the nation in scoring (98.3 points) and coach Paul Westhead’s running style barely gave the Redhawks a chance to put a thumbprint on the ball early. UO was up 31-8 after a three-point play by freshman Chrishae Rowe with 11:39 remaining in the first half.
When the Redhawks could finally focus, they used their signature defense and runs of 13-6 in the first half and 13-5 in the second half to finally work its way to a 66-65 lead to treat the sparse KeyArena crowd of 648 to a show.
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SU perimeter players Sylvia Shephard, Kaylee Best and Masha Shtikel traded three-pointers with Oregon and found Sowell inside to seesaw the score until Rowe took over, again.
The California native scored five points in a 10-0 run to put the Ducks back up 98-90 following a three-pointer by Idaho transfer Katelyn Loper with 2:37 left in the game. SU closed within three points after a layin by Sowell with six seconds remaining.
Fouled on the play, Sowell missed the free throw and couldn’t grasp the rebound to end SU’s chances of regaining the lead. The Redhawks were outrebounded 49-38 overall, giving up 11 offensive rebounds in the second half alone for 10 Oregon second-chance points.
“They didn’t crack even though Seattle made a terrific run,” said Westhead of his team.
The Redhawks’ 100 points is a school record, Sowell pacing the team with 25 points and seven rebounds. Teammate Sylvia Shephard added 23 points and eight rebounds and eight assists in her first game off the bench.
But Rowe scored 41 points on 14 of 25 shooting from the field, a Oregon school record and most SU has allowed an opponent in its program-history.
“I’m not big into moral victories at all,” SU coach Joan Bonvicini said. “But we gained a lot of confidence and we became a better team. … Chrishae Rowe, I don’t if I remember anyone on any team I’ve coached have 41. I don’t think so, but she’s a good player and they have a good team.”
Seattle U plays at San Diego on Sunday.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @JaydaEvans