March 7, 2014

Defense Keys No. 5 Bears to 64-47 Win Over Northwestern-St. Paul in NCAA First Round

Oshkosh, Wis., March 7, 2014 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team limited the University of Northwestern-St. Paul to 26.9 percent shooting from the field in the second half as the Bears pulled away for a 64-47 win in the NCAA Division III First Round Friday evening at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Washington U. improved to 24-2 on the season with the win, while Northwestern-St. Paul finished its season at 20-8. The Bears advanced to the NCAA Second Round to face the winner of No. 12 UW-Oshkosh and No. 19 Saint Mary's University (Minn.) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

After leading by four at halftime, Washington U. stretched its lead to seven on a pair of baskets by junior forward Melissa Gilkey. The Eagles cut the lead to 42-38 on a three-point play with 15:13 remaining. A three-pointer by junior guard Alyssa Johanson sparked a 9-0 run for the Bears that also included a basket by Gilkey and back-to-back buckets by senior forward Kristin Anda that pushed the lead to 51-38 with 11:18 left in the game. The Eagles cut the deficit to 51-43, but Gilkey made back-to-back layups to regain a double-digit lead. Senior guard Lucy Montgomery's third three-pointer of the game pushed the lead to 60-47, and baskets by Anda and sophomore guard Amanda Martinez finished the scoring as the Bears finished with the 17-point win.

Northwestern-St. Paul hit a pair of three-pointers in the opening five minutes of the game to help them jump out to a 10-5 lead. After two baskets by senior forward Jordan Rettig and a steal and layup by Johanson got the Bears to within 12-11, the Eagles went on a 5-0 run to take their largest lead of the half at 17-11 with 12:39 remaining in the first half. Anda hit back-to-back baskets, but the Eagles answered with a bucket to maintain a 19-15 lead.

A free throw by Gilkey, followed by back-to-back three-pointers by Montgomery, capped the 11-2 run that gave Washington U. the lead back at 22-19. Northwestern-St. Paul answered with a basket and a pair of free throws to regain the lead (23-22), before a jumper by junior guard Maddy Scheppers and a three by senior guard Jessy Rosen gave Washington U. the lead for good at 27-23 at the under-4:00 media timeout. The Eagles hit two more three-pointers in the half to get as close as 30-29, but Johanson made a fastbreak layup after a steal by sophomore guard Katybeth Biewen, and a free throw by Anda put the Bears ahead 33-29 at halftime.

Washington U. shot 40.9 percent (27-66) from the field in the game, including 6-of-16 (37.5 percent) from three-point range. Northwestern-St. Paul shot 36.2 percent (17-47) from the field and 6-of-26 (23.1 percent) in the game, but was just 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) from the field in the second half. The Bears recorded 16 steals on 20 turnovers by the Eagles, finishing with a 16-5 advantage in points off turnovers. Washington U. also finished with a 38-32 rebounding advantage, and allowed the Eagles to grab just three offensive rebounds in the game.

Anda and Gilkey paced the Bears with 15 points each, while combining to shoot 14-of-20 from the field. Gilkey also had a team-high eight rebounds and four steals, while Anda finished with six rebounds. Montgomery chipped in with nine points on 3-of-5 from three-point range, while also dishing out three assists. Rettig added eight points, while Johanson had seven points and six rebounds. Biewen tallied a team-high five assists, four rebounds and a career-high four steals.

Bear Notebook: It was the first-ever meeting between Washington U. and Northwestern-St. Paul … The Bears improved to 22-0 this season when leading at halftime … Washington U. has outrebounded 23 of 26 opponents this season and is 22-1 in those games … Washington University has an NCAA Division III-leading 63 wins all-time in the NCAA Tournament (63-22) … Northwestern-St. Paul entered the game ranked fourth in NCAA Division III averaging 9.3 three-pointers made per game … Montgomery's three three-pointers brought her career total to 91, which is tied for 10th on Washington U.'s all-time career leaderboard with Jill Brandt (2005-09) … Gilkey passed Kathryn Berger (2007-11) for eighth on the Bears' all-time scoring list with 1,152 points … Anda scored in double figures for the 30th time in her career and the 11th time this season … Gilkey has scored in double figures in 25 games this season, including each of the last 21.