In women’s basketball in particular, a dominant post player can make all the difference. Look at what Lauren Jackson has done for the Seattle Storm.
And while Louelle Tomlinson may not be Jackson, there are similarities. She’s tall (6-foot-4), she’s Australian and, as Seattle University found out Tuesday night, she’s really good.
Tomlinson had a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks, along with five assists, to lead St. Mary’s to an 80-64 win over the Redhawks in front of 250 fans in Moraga, Calif.
Tomlinson, the NCAA career leader in blocked shots, upper that total to 583 with a dominant performance. She now has 71 this season 0 averaging 5.5 a game – and is on pace to break her own national record of 195 blocks in a season. It would be the fourth season in a row the senior has broken the national record for blocks in a season.
Tomlinson’s defense helped hold Seattle U (4-9) to 29 percent shooting, including 26 percent in the first half when St. Mary’s (6-7) took a 46-29 lead. The Redhawks were also outrebounded 47-38 and the only time SU had any real offensive success was when it got in transition. Seattle forced 28 turnovers which led to 28 points. St. Mary’s was also 25-for-29 from the foul line.
“I thought we played a much better second half,” Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini said. “We were much more together as a team and played better defense. It was a tough montain to overcome. …We need to stop foulling and it was a tough game, as far as some of the calls.”
Freshman guard Sylvia Shephard was about Seattle’s only bright spot offensively and continues to show that she may be the Redhawks’ most talented player. In 26 minutes off the bench, Shephard was 8-for-16 – the only SU player to make half of her shots – for 19 points to go with seven rebounds and five steals. The rest of the SU team shot 23 percent for the game.
St. Mary’s jumped out to a 10-3 lead but the Redhawks closed it to 11-9 on an Amani Butler layup before the Gaels went on an 11-0 run to take control.
In the second half, Seattle was able to cut a 19-point St. Mary’s lead to 9 but the Gaels put the game away with a 16-point run that the Redhawks could not recover from.
Seattle leading scorer Elle Kerfoot had 14 points but was 4-for-15 from the field, including 2-for-9 on 3-pointers. Salena Dickerson, the No. 2 scorer on the team, had eight points but shot 2-for-8 while Tatiana Heck, who was the leading returning scorer from last season, had her second-straight scoreless game, going 0-for-3 and failing to get to the free throw line.
Kate Gaze and Jasmine Smith each scored 17 points for St. Mary’s.
The Redhawks will next be in action Dec. 29-30 in the State Farm Holiday Hoops Classic at KeyArena. The Redhawks will play Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount, while Notre Dame will also play in the event.