Second-Half Comeback Falls Short for No. 5 Bears in 72-66 Loss at No. 12 UW-Oshkosh in NCAA Second Round

Oshkosh, Wis., March 8, 2014 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball saw its season come to an end with a 72-66 loss to a hot-shooting No. 12-ranked University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh team in the NCAA Second Round Saturday evening.

UW-Oshkosh shot 56.4 percent (22-39) from the field in the game, including 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) from three-point range. Washington U. shot 42.6 percent (26-61) from the field and finished 5-of-12 (41.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the game. The Titans also finished 19-of-23 from the free-throw line, including 10-of-12 in the second half, while Washington U. was 9-of-12 at the foul line and 2-of-3 in the second half.

After trailing by 10 at halftime, Washington U. chipped away at the lead before a basket and a three-pointer by junior forward Melissa Gilkey brought the Bears to within 46-43 with 12:48 remaining in the game. UW-Oshkosh answered with its sixth three-pointer of the game on its next possession. After another bucket by the Titans gave them a 51-43 lead, Washington U. scored the next seven points, including Gilkey's second three of the half, to cut the lead to 51-50 with 10:00 left. UW-Oshkosh hit back-to-back threes to regain a seven-point lead before baskets by senior forward Jordan Rettig and Gilkey brought the Bears to within 57-54 with 6:41 on the clock.

The Titans hit another three-pointer and a layup to regain a 62-54 lead before Gilkey drained her third three of the game to bring the Bears to within five. Rettig fouled out after being whistled for two fouls in the span of three seconds on the ensuing possession for UW-Oshkosh. A layup by sophomore guard Jordan Thompson pulled Washington U. to within 63-59 with 2:19 remaining. The Titans went 7-of-8 at the free-throw line over the next 1:31 to stretch the lead to 11 with 48 seconds left, before a layup by Thompson and a three by senior guard Lucy Montgomery made the final score 72-66.

Wisconsin-Oshkosh took an early 6-2 lead with a pair of free throws with 17:17 on the clock in the first half. The Bears scored the next eight points to take a 10-6 lead on a pullup jumper by junior guard Alyssa Johanson with 14:10 left in the half. A basket by Thompson gave the Bears a 13-11 lead, but the Titans made a pair of free throws and their first three-pointer of the night to take a 16-13 lead. Johanson made two free throws to bring the Bears to within 18-17 with 9:00 remaining in the half, but the UW-Oshkosh offense caught fire and the Titans went on a 17-2 run over the next seven minutes to build their largest lead of the half at 35-19 with their fourth three of the half. Gilkey and Thompson both made two bonus free throws, and Thompson hit a pullup jumper in the lane in the final minute to cut the Titans' lead to 35-25 at halftime.

Washington U. was outrebounded for just the third time this season as UW-Oshkosh finished with a 31-27 advantage on the boards. The Bears took advantage of 10 offensive rebounds, however, to outscore the Titans 17-2 in second-chance points. Washington U. also finished with 12 steals on 20 turnovers by the Titans, turning them into a 24-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

Gilkey led all scorers with 21 points, including 17 in the second half. She was 3-of-4 from three-point range in the game, and also finished with nine rebounds, three steals and two assists. Rettig tallied 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and 1-of-3 from the free-throw line, while pulling down three rebounds. Thompson also scored in double figures, finishing with 10 points. Graduate student forward Kristin Anda tallied six points, two assists, two blocks and a season-high four steals, while Montgomery and Johanson each added six points as well. Junior guard Maddy Scheppers dished out a team-high four assists for the Bears.

Washington U. ended its season with a 24-3 overall record. The Bears advanced to the NCAA Second Round for the 17th consecutive season.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against UW-Oshkosh 4-3 … It was the fifth time the two teams have played in the NCAA Tournament and the first time since 2000 … Washington U.'s Class of 2014 – Montgomery, Rettig and senior guard Jessy Rosen – finished their careers with a 92-21 (.814) overall record … Gilkey finished the season with 450 points, which ranks ninth on Washington U.'s single-season top-10 list … Montgomery finished her career with 93 three-pointers made, which ranks 10th on WUSTL's all-time leaderboard … Johanson finished the season with a .833 free-throw percentage (45-54), which ties for seventh on Washington U.'s single-season top-10 list … Gilkey's season free-throw percentage of .821 (115-140) ranks 10th on the list … Gilkey scored in double figures in 26 games this season, including each of the last 22 … It was the sixth 20-plus point performance for Gilkey this season and the 16th of her career … Rettig scored in double figures for the 10th times this season and 30th time in her career.