The Seattle University women’s basketball team didn’t find much success at home last week so the Redhawks hope that the road is kinder.
Seattle U heads to California for a pair of games, beginning with a 2 p.m. meeting today at UC Riverside. Seattle will also play San Diego at 2 p.m. Sunday.
The Redhawks (0-2) are coming off of home losses to Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton to open the season, though they showed marked improvement – especially defensively – in the loss to Fullerton after getting handled fairly easily in the loss to Poly.
One thing Seattle U saw in the two losses was that it has the makings of a very solid frontcourt. Tatiana Heck – a returning all-Independent pick – is averaging 10.5 points on 50 percent shooting to go with 5.5 rebound. Washington State transfer Salena Dickerson averages 12.5 points and 8.0 rebounds and true freshman Kacie Sowell has come off the bench to average 8.5 points and 10 rebounds.
The problem has been the play of the backcourt. While Arizona transfer Amani Butler is averaging 11 points, she’s shooting just 31.8 percent. But that’s positively scorching compared to Elle Kerfoot and Daidra Brown, who are both shooting 18.8 percent. As a team, SU is shooting 30.9 percent while allowing opponents to shoot 49 percent. The Redhawks are just 3-for-22 on 3-pointers.
Fortunately for Seattle U, UC Riverside (1-1) is having some of the same issues. The Highlanders are shooting just 31.9 percent, though they’ve made 34 percent of their 3-pointers. Riverside averages only 49.5 points and is being outrebounded by 11. But the Highlanders are playing solid defense, holding their first two foes – Montana and Arizona State – to 28.7 percent shooting and have created 43 turnovers in two games. In particular, Riverside has been solid against outside shooting.
That may be because the Highlanders have some size, especially in the starting lineup, where their shortest player is 5-foot-10 senior guard Alyssa Morris, who is also a returning first-team all-Big West conference player. Also in the starting lineup are sisters Rheya and Rhaya Neabors, who played for Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini at Arizona before transferring to Riverside after Bonvicini was fired. Rhaya Neabors was second-team all-Big West last year and Rheya Neabors ranked second in the league in assists. The height and athleticism could make offense tough to generate for Seattle U, which must get in transition and not get stuck trying to work a half-court game against a team that has played solid half-court defense.
What: Seattle University women’s basketball (0-2) at UC Riverside (1-1)
When: 2 p.m. today
Where: UC Riverside Student Recreation Center
Broadcast: Available at www.goseattleu.com.
Coaches: Seattle University: Joan Bonvicini, second season (6-26 at Seattle U, 612-296 overall); UC Riverside: John Margaritis, seventh season (103-83 at UC Riverside, 213-163 overall).
Projected starting lineup
F. Salena Dickerson 5-11 Sr. Federal Way: Top scorer and second-leading rebounder on the team.
F. Tatiana Heck 6-1 Sr. Lynnwood: Got more involved in offense in second game.
G. Elle Kerfoot 5-7 Jr. Surrey, British Columbia: Played better in second game but must shoot better.
G. Daidra Brown 5-7 So. Seattle: College of Southern Idaho transfer moved into starting lineup last game.
G. Amani Butler 5-7 So. Corona, Calif.: One of three Arizona transfers starting between the two teams.
F. Rheya Neabors 6-0 Sr. Pomona, Calif.: Played for Joan Bonvicini at Arizona and was second in assists in Big West last year.
F. Nicole Anderson 5-11 Sr. San Jose, Calif.: Transfer from Cal Poly redshirted last season.
F. Rhaya Neabors 5-11 Sr. Pomona, Calif.: Like sister, played for Joan Bonvicini at Arizona and was second-team all-Big West last year.
C. Natasha Hadley 6-3 R-Fr. Perris, Calif.: Missed all of last season with knee injury.
G. Alyssa Morris 5-10 Sr. Fresno: First-team all-Big West last season has played most games in program history.