Seattle U Women’s Basketball Anticipates Competitive Season


Peiran Liu

Junior Peyton Howard tries to put a shot up under heavy defense

The Seattle University women’s 2021-2022 basketball season is proof that the Redhawks not only have what it takes to succeed this season, but that they have the potential to make another appearance in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament. 

Despite acquiring 19 losses last season, the Redhawks are seeded ninth out of 10 teams in the conference. Last year, the team traveled to the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Nev., where they lost to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) 61-71 in the first round of the WAC tournament, March 8. Last season marked Seattle U’s third WAC appearance since the 2018 championship and their debut at the NCAA tournament. 

When asked if she believed the women’s team could reappear at the NCAA tournament, Head Coach Suzy Barcomb said that it is too early to say. However, she is excited about the upcoming season. 

“I see us building a championship culture,” Barcomb said. “I do believe we will surprise some people around [the] league if everyone continues to grow the way we’ve been growing.”

Prior to joining the women’s program in April 2016, Coach Barcomb coached at California State University, East Bay (CSUEB) and the University of the Puget Sound. She led both teams to many conference championships and aided in CSUEB’s first California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) championship. Since her arrival to Seattle U, Barcomb has led the Redhawks to one Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT), five WAC tournaments and one NCAA tournament. Barcomb is one of only two NCAA coaches who led a Division I, II and III school to the NCAA tournament.

In preparation for their foreign-tour in Greece, the Redhawks returned to the court mid-July. During their eight-day stay, the team played three international opponents while touring Athens, Corinth and Glyfada Beach, Aug. 20-28. The tour served as a way for the team to put in more practice and get acquainted with their teammates. Junior Peyton Howard expressed how much the team has grown together over the summer and their eagerness to play this season. 

“I think we are going to come in super aggressive and ready because we have been scrimmaging each other for the last [few] months, [and] we are just bored of that,” Howard said. “So I think we got a lot packed away [and] ready.”

This season, Seattle U welcomed six freshmen and two transfer students to the team, including some from out of the country. Freshmen Asta Blauenfeldt and Lisa Michaelsen hail from Denmark and Sophomore Kari Kyrkjebo and Senior Madeline Phillips transferred from Norway and Australia respectively. The other freshmen newcomers to the Seattle U family are Noemie Bariteau, Sheridan Liggett, Makayla Moore and Mya Moore.

Head Coach Suzy Barcomb talks with players during a timeout. (Peiran Liu)

The Redhawks played their first exhibition game of the year at Redhawk Center, where they faced off against Saint Martin’s University Saints. Within the first 12 seconds of the game, Michaelson scored a layup, putting the Redhawks on the scoreboard. Sophomore Julianna Walker and Blauenfeldt recorded three and two steals respectively, causing 18 turnovers for the Saints. By halftime, the Redhawks were up 32-21. 

The team lost their momentum in the second half, allowing the Saints to close in within four points. However, Howard warded off any attempts the Saints made to surpass them by scoring several free throws in the last quarter. Moore also assisted Howard by rebounding seven loose balls. The Redhawks finished the game, triumphing over the Saints 58-50.

After Saturday’s game, the Redhawks have 29 games to go before finding out their placement in the WAC tournament. This month, Seattle U is scheduled to play three Pac-12 universities: the University of Oregon, Oregon State University (OSU) and the University of Washington. There will also be a rematch against UTRGV in Edinburg, Texas Dec. 31. Krykjebo believes that her team is ready to take on their upcoming opponents and build each other up as a team.

“I am really excited for this season,” Kyrkjebo said. “We have a lot of talent on the team. We just need to grow throughout the season and get ready with each other on the court.”

The Redhawks play OSU in Corvallis, Ore., Nov. 10 at 6 p.m.. The next home game will be Nov. 17, where the team will go up against the Portland State Vikings.