Greencastle, Ind., Nov. 30, 2013 - Junior forward Melissa Gilkey and junior guard Alyssa Johanson combined for 26 second-half points as the No. 2-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team used a big second half to pull away for an 80-63 win over Illinois Wesleyan University Saturday afternoon in the Midwest Challenge hosted by DePauw University.
Washington U. improved to 4-0 with the win, while Illinois Wesleyan dropped to 3-3. The Bears take on the winner of No. 1 DePauw vs. Illinois College for the Midwest Challenge championship at 4 p.m. (ET) Sunday.
After leading by eight at halftime, the Bears took control of the game with an 8-0 run to open the second half, including six points by Gilkey, to extend their lead to 45-29. Illinois Wesleyan got to within 13 (55-42) with 11:43 remaining in the game, but a 12-0 run by Washington U., including seven points by Johanson, put the game out of reach with 8:11 to play. The Bears gained their largest lead of the game at 78-61 on a baseline jumper by sophomore forward Tori Knollmeyer with 5:22 remaining. The Titans finished the game with a 12-2 run as Washington U. finished with the 17-point win.
Illinois Wesleyan jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first four minutes of play, but a pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Gilkey tied the score at 8-8. The Titans regained the lead with a free throw with 13:59 left in the half. Washington U. answered with a 12-0 run, including seven points by senior forward Kristin Anda, to build a 20-9 lead with 9:18 remaining in the first half. Illinois Wesleyan scored its first field goal in nearly eight minutes to end the Bears' run, but senior Lucy Montgomery's second three-pointer of the half made it 23-11 in favor of Washington U. with 7:38 left in the half.
The Bears pushed their lead to 14 at 30-16 following a putback by Anda and a free throw by Montgomery, but the Titans went on a 12-4 run over the next 3:29 to pull to within 34-28. Washington U. scored three points from the free-throw line and Illinois Wesleyan added a free throw to make the score 37-29 at halftime.
Washington U. shot 48.3 percent (14-29) from the field in the second half to finish 25-of-62 (40.3 percent) from the field in the game. The Bears were 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from three-point range, and converted 27-of-43 (62.8 percent) from the free-throw line in the game. Illinois Wesleyan finished with 30.9 percent (21-68) shooting from the field, including 7-of-23 (30.4 percent) from beyond the arc, and was 14-of-20 (70 percent) from the free-throw line. Washington U. finished with a 48-41 rebounding advantage and forced 24 turnovers by the Titans.
Gilkey equaled her season-high and led all scorers with 22 points, including 15 in the second half, while Johanson scored 11 of her 13 points in the second half. Anda added 11 points, including nine in the first half, and team-highs of eight rebounds and five assists. Junior guard Maddy Scheppers also finished with 11 points, including a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Illinois Wesleyan 18-5 … It was the fourth straight game Washington U. has had more than 10 players score … Gilkey has now scored in double figures in 45 career games … Gilkey is two points shy of 800 for her career.