Big First Half Leads No. 10 Bears to McWilliams Classic Title

Big First Half Leads No. 10 Bears to McWilliams Classic Title

St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 22, 2014 – The No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team shot nearly 47 percent from the field and outscored Southwestern University (Texas) 23-8 in points off turnovers to win the 14th Annual McWilliams Classic Championship 88-55 Saturday evening.

Senior forward Melissa Gilkey was named the Jacqueline Bickel Schapp Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. She was joined on the McWilliams Classic All-Tournament team by senior guard Maddy Scheppers, Southwestern's Annie Bourne and Jordan Owens, Denison University's Jordan Holmes, and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's Carrie Morris.

Washington U. made five of its first nine baskets in the game, including back-to-back threes by Scheppers, to jump out to a quick 12-4 lead and force a timeout by the Pirates at the 15:51 mark. The Bears extended the lead to 24-8 with 12 minutes remaining after back-to-back three-pointers by sophomore Ereka Hunt and a layup by junior Amanda Martinez.

Eight straight points by Gilkey pushed the lead to 32-10 with 6:54 left in the half before Southwestern ended its nearly four-and-a-half minute scoreless drought with a basket. After the Pirates got to within 35-15 with a three-pointer, Washington U. finished the half with a 19-4 run to take a 54-19 lead into the locker room. The Bears scored the first six points of the second half to build their largest lead of the game at 60-21 with 18:20 remaining.

Washington U. shot 46.8 percent (29-of-62) from the field in the game, including 52.8 percent (19-of-36) in the first half. The Bears were also 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) from three-point range in the game. Southwestern shot 30.6 percent (19-of-62) from the field, and was just 3-of-23 (13.0 percent) from beyond the arc. The Bears also finished with a 49-33 rebounding advantage in the game.

Gilkey recorded her second double-double of the season with 21 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high four steals. Sophomore Claire Thomas scored 10 points off the bench in the second half, including 5-of-6 at the free-throw line, and added four rebounds. Martinez added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, four rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench. Scheppers added eight points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, while junior Katybeth Biewen finished with eight points, two rebounds and three assists. Senior Steph Vukotic also finished with eight points and four rebounds off the bench.

Washington U. improved to 3-0 with the win. The Bears return to action at the Midwest Challenge Saturday-Sunday, Nov. 29-30, in Jacksonville, Ill. Washington U. takes on host Illinois College at 4 p.m. Saturday. Illinois Wesleyan University and No. 9 DePauw University are the other two teams in the tournament.  

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Southwestern 4-0 … Gilkey has scored in double figures in 70 career games, including each of the last 25 in a row … The Bears' bench players outscored Southwestern's 49-9 … Washington U. had 13 different individuals score in the game … It was Gilkey's 16th 20-plus point effort of her career.