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Friday, February 8, 2013 - Page updated at 10:30 p.m.

Seattle U women return from tough road trip, win 63-53

By Jayda Evans
Seattle Times staff reporter

It wasn't crisp, but the Seattle University women's basketball team gutted out a 63-53 win against Denver on Thursday at Connolly Center.

The Redhawks needed a 19-4 run midway through the opening half to build their first lead (29-22). Another run, 22-5 to open the second half, was enough to win.

"We needed to gain back our confidence," Seattle coach Joan Bonvicini said of losing back-to-back road games last week. "We didn't start (Thursday's) game real strong. They started hitting some threes and we were down eight. We (started) switching defenses quite a bit and I thought we confused them. Then we started rolling."

The Redhawks (12-9, 9-3 Western Athletic Conference) swept the Pioneers (11-12, 6-6) this season.

Junior guard Sylvia Shephard led the Redhawks with 15 points Thursday.

Seattle U played its first home game since a 1-3 finish on a four-game road trip through the WAC. Its past two losses dropped the team to second in conference standings.

SU has six regular-season games remaining, four at home.

"Having two weeks on the road is hard, especially with school," said Shephard, whose team is in the midst of its first affiliated conference season. "We had two days of classes and then we have to get back on the road. It wears on our bodies."

Seattle U hosts New Mexico State (9-13, 3-9) on Saturday at Connolly Center.

NMSU is on an eight-game losing streak that began with a 60-54 loss to SU in January.

"Do I think we can be sharper? Yes," Bonvicini said of her team giving up 14 points on 15 turnovers against Denver. "But I think this is a good game to build on."

Note

• SU held a moment of silence before the game for Cal State Fullerton assistant coach Monica Quan and her fiancé Keith Lawrence. The couple was found shot to death in their car on Sunday and the killer is believed to be former LAPD officer Christopher Jordan Dorner. Quan's father represented Dorner in front of a disciplinary board when Dorner lost his job.

"We sent down a card and a (care package)," said Bonvicini, who lost a player while she was head coach at Arizona. "It's just tragic."

SEATTLE 63, DENVER 53

DENVER (11-12) — Michel 5-7 1-4 11, Janecek 3-7 0-0 8, Van Riper-Rose 0-11 0-0 0, Smith 3-8 5-5 11, Edwards 3-8 0-0 7, Noonan 1-3 0-0 2, Johnston 2-5 2-4 7, Neuhaus 0-6 3-4 3, Wirth 1-1 0-0 2, Hunter 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 19-58 11-17 53.

SEATTLE (12-9) — Ward 3-9 3-4 11, McCarthy 1-2 0-0 2, Sowell 5-9 1-6 11, Adhiambo 3-9 0-0 6, Shephard 6-11 2-3 15, Perez 1-1 0-0 2, Brown 4-9 4-4 12, Ross 2-2 0-1 4, Stoffel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-53 10-18 63.

Halftime — Seattle 31-27. Three-point goals — Denver 4-22 (Janecek 2-3, Van Riper-Rose 0-6, Smith 0-3, Edwards 1-3, Noonan 0-1, Johnston 1-3, Neuhaus 0-3), Seattle 3-7 (Ward 2-3, McCarthy 0-1, Shephard 1-2, Brown 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Denver 38 (Michel 13), Seattle 37 (Sowell 7). Assists — Denver 10 (Smith 4), Seattle 15 (Ward, Shephard 4). Total fouls — Denver 17, Seattle 16. A — 310.

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