After an historic season and postseason run for the Seattle University women's basketball team, their season came to an end one game shy of the championship game, as the University of Northern Iowa came away with the win in the Women's Basketball Invitational semifinals, 68-64. Despite the loss, this team will be remembered as one of the greatest in Seattle U women's basketball history.
"I am extremely proud of our team and staff for reaching and exceeding our goals this season," said head coach Joan Bonvicini. "This has been a special team from the moment we began workouts in the fall. Each player bought in to our vision of success and sacrificed to help our team win in postseason play. I appreciate all the support of our administrators, staff and fans at Seattle U and look forward to continued postseason success in the future."
By every measure, the season was a success. Among their catalogue of accomplishments, the team notched the first 20-win season as an NCAA Division I program. The Redhawks also reached their first NCAA Division I postseason and the first postseason appearance for any Seattle U team since the school began the NCAA Division I reclassification process during the 2008-09 school year.
The team more than doubled, and nearly tripled, their win total from a season ago, finishing 20-12 after finishing 8-22 during the 2010-11 season. They finished 14-6 on their home court, winning 12 of their last 15 home contests. Sophomore Kacie Sowell (pictured above) was named to the WBI All-Tournament Team and was also named Independent Women's Basketball Player of the Year.
Bonvicini was named Independent Women's Basketball Coach of the Year. With a 646-352 overall career record, she will coach her 1,000th career game in the Redhawks' second game of the season next year.
College Sports Madness named a Seattle U player the Independent Player of the Week 10 times over the season (Sowell six times, senior Talisa Rhea three times, and sophomore Sylvia Shephard once). Sowell recorded 18 double-doubles over the season and finished as the team's leading scorer. She averaged a double-double for the season, averaging 14.3 points per game and 10.2 rebounds per game. Rhea finished as the team's second leading scorer, averaging 14.1 points per game and 4.5 rebounds per game. Rhea also led the team with 165 assists. Sophomore Ashley Ward also finished the season averaging in double figures, averaging 10.3 points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game.
Nationally, Sowell tied for ninth in the NCAA Division I in double-doubles (18), finished fifth in the nation in field goal percentage (56.6 percent), Ward finished 26th in NCAA Division I free-throw percentage (84.9 percent), and Rhea finished 26th in the country in assists per game (5.2). Senior Elle Kerfoot became Seattle U's all-time leader in made three-pointers (finishing with 193) and became the 11th player in program history to pass the 1,000 career point mark, finishing with 1,077 total career points.
Congratulations to the Seattle U women's basketball team on a very successful season and for the positive way they represented Seattle University.