With last year’s leading scorer, Hailee Bennett, now graduated, Seattle Pacific University’s women’s basketball team needed a new leader to step up, and they seem to have found one. Junior Ashley Alter eclipsed the 20 point mark in both games the Falcons played against Saint Martin’s University last weekend and was named GNAC women’s basketball player of the week.
The Falcons opened game two of their season on Friday, Jan. 15 fighting back and forth with Saint Martin’s, but the opposition began to gain more control in the middle of the second quarter. Eight second-quarter Falcon turnovers gave the Saints a nine point halftime advantage. The Falcons battled back, but every time they would get close, the Saints would hit a big three or important free throws.
Lauryn Morris, Ta’Kerya Legette and Janealle Sutterlict hit threes in the fourth quarter, and the Falcons lost by six, 72-66. The big second quarter for the Saints and an advantage in points scored off turnovers proved to be a big difference.
Mallory Vivola scored 19 points off the bench, hitting five threes. Claire Dingus had 12 points and nine rebounds.
For the Falcons, Alter had 25 points, a career high, making nine of her 15 shots. Junior Natalie Hoff recorded her first collegiate double double, scoring eleven points and collecting ten rebounds.
“It means a lot to me to contribute to my team in any way I can,” Hoff said in an email. “I was excited when I heard I had recorded my first double double, but it was definitely disappointing that we didn’t get the win on Friday.”
The two teams squared off again the next day in a game that was supposed to be played at Saint Martin’s, but was moved back to Royal Brougham due to power issues. Alter had another impressive game, as she shot the ball 23 times and made nine shots in the win, collecting twenty points and four assists along the way.
“Just attacking the hoop and staying confident in my personal strengths on offense was key to my success,” Alter said. “I felt that my teammates were very efficient at attacking and being able to find me for the shot. They created a lot of opportunities for me that fueled my scoring.”
The first half was again a fight, as the two teams went into the locker room tied at 32, with Alter scoring 14 points. The Falcons came back onto the court, and while Alter’s scoring pace slowed, so did the Saints. They only hit six shots the rest of the way, and just two in the third quarter.
Sophomore Kayla Brundidge scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds in the second half to lead the Falcons to a 61-50 victory. Seniors Rachel Berg and Kaprice Boston had ten points and six rebounds and eight points and eight rebounds respectively.
“I was super proud of my team for coming back less than 24 hours later and beating SMU on Saturday. It’s not only hard to play the following day after a game, but it’s especially hard to play the same team twice,” Hoff said.
Vivola again led the Saints in scoring with 14 points.
Next weekend, Lewis and Clark State College heads into Royal Brougham to face off against the Falcons. No matter whether the team wins or loses, Alter is excited to be able to play the game she loves once again.
“Basketball has always been a stress reliever for me, so being able to play games with everything going on in the world has been a gift. Being a part of a team that I am so close with is something that I will always be grateful for, especially during these hard times,” Alter said.