February 7, 2014

Second-Half Comeback Falls Short as No. 2 Women's Basketball Falls to Rochester 72-68

St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 7, 2014 – The No. 2-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team erased a 13-point halftime deficit, but had two potentially game-tying three-pointers in the final minute bounce off the rim as the University of Rochester held on for a 72-68 win over the Bears Friday evening in University Athletic Association (UAA) play.

After trailing by 13 at halftime, Washington U. opened the second half with an 8-0 run to pull to within 38-33 with 17:38 left in the game. A driving layup by junior guard Alyssa Johanson got the Bears to within 44-41 with 14:17 to play, but Rochester went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:47 to extend its lead to 53-41. A three-pointer by junior forward Melissa Gilkey ended the scoring drought for the Bears and sparked a 14-0 run that gave Washington U. its first lead since the 11:55 mark in the first half. Gilkey had seven points and sophomore guard Jordan Thompson had five during the run that gave the Bears the lead at 55-53 with 8:26 left in the game.

The Yellowjackets scored the next four points to regain the lead, but senior forward Jordan Rettig grabbed an offensive rebound and a baseline jumper by Johanson tied the game again at 57-57 with 6:03 to play. Rochester regained the lead and held a 66-63 advantage with 2:59 remaining before junior guard Maddy Scheppers drained her second three-pointer of the game to tie it again with 2:42 left. The Yellowjackets answered with a three, then made a pair of bonus free throws to make it a five-point lead. The Bears again pulled to within three (71-68) on a putback by Rettig with 1:39 left. Gilkey got a steal on Rochester's next possession, but a pair of three-point attempts by the Bears bounced off the rim and Rochester made a free throw after an offensive rebound with 11 seconds left to seal the win.

Both teams started slowly in the first half. Rochester took a 4-0 lead in the opening four minutes as the Bears missed their first six shots. A three-pointer from the baseline by Scheppers made it 4-3, the Bears took their first lead of the game after Thompson got a steal and made both free throws after being fouled on the layup. Six points by Gilkey pushed Washington U.'s lead to 11-6, and a fast-break layup by senior forward Kristin Anda made it 13-8 and forced a timeout by Rochester with 13:11 remaining in the opening half.

After the timeout, the Yellowjackets went on a 20-4 run to build a 28-17 lead with 4:59 left in the half. The Bears got to within nine (34-25) on a second-chance basket by Scheppers with 1:12 to play in the first half, but Rochester scored the final four points of the half to take a 13-point lead into the break.

Washington U. shot just 27.3 percent (9-33) from the field in the first half, but was 17-of-38 (44.7 percent) in the second half. Rochester shot 47.4 percent (27-57) from the field in the game, including 50 percent (15-30) in the first half. Both teams made four three-pointers. The Yellowjackets were 14-of-17 at the free-throw line, while Washington U. finished 12-of-13 at the charity stripe. Washington U. finished with a 39-38 rebounding advantage, including 21 offensive rebounds. The Bears also turned 12 Rochester turnovers into a 13-4 advantage in points off turnovers.

Gilkey led five players in double figures for Washington U. with 18 points and nine rebounds. She scored 12 of her 18 points in the second half, including a pair of three-pointers, after playing just nine minutes in the first half. Anda recorded the third double-double of her career with 12 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Anda also had four assists and a blocked shot. Scheppers also finished with 12 points, a team-high five assists and two steals. Johanson and Thompson also scored in double figures, finishing with 10 points each. Thompson added four assists and two steals, while Johanson recorded four rebounds and two steals.

Washington U. (17-2, 7-1 UAA) finishes the weekend by hosting No. 20 Emory University (15-4, 4-4 UAA) at 2 p.m. Sunday. Emory lost 85-76 at the University of Chicago Friday night. The Bears earned a 69-61 win over the Eagles in Atlanta last Sunday.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Rochester 41-14 … The loss snapped a 13-game win streak for the Bears, and was their first home defeat this season … WUSTL has outrebounded 41 of its last 47 opponents, including 17 out of 19 this season … Gilkey recorded the 87th blocked shot of her career to move into seventh on WUSTL's all-time leaderboard … Gilkey has scored in double figures in each of the last 14 games, while Johanson has reached double figures in six straight games.