Balanced Offensive Attack Lifts No. 8 Bears Past Illinois College

Balanced Offensive Attack Lifts No. 8 Bears Past Illinois College

Jacksonville, Ill., Nov. 29, 2014 – Fourteen different individuals scored for the No. 8-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team and the Bears shot a season-best 50.8 percent from the field to earn a 79-52 win at Illinois College Saturday afternoon in the Midwest Challenge.

Washington U. improved to 4-0 on the season with the win. The Bears will take on No. 22 Illinois Wesleyan University (4-1) in the championship game of the Midwest Challenge at 4 p.m. Sunday. Illinois Wesleyan defeated No. 9 DePauw University 79-75 in Saturday's first game. Illinois College (3-1) takes on DePauw (3-1) in the consolation game at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Illinois College scored the first basket of the game, but Washington U. answered with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes to build an 11-2 lead. The run included five points by senior Alyssa Johanson and four by junior Katybeth Biewen. The Lady Blues got to within three at 15-12 after a three-pointer, but a three by senior Melissa Gilkey and back-to-back baskets by junior Amanda Martinez quickly made it a 22-12 lead for the Bears.

The teams traded buckets until a basket by Illinois College made it 29-20 in favor of Washington U. with 4:15 left in the first half. Sophomore Ereka Hunt hit back-to-back threes to spark a 10-0 run for the Bears that gave them their largest lead of the half at 39-20 with 1:57 remaining. A steal and layup by Martinez made it 41-22, but Illinois College made the front end of a one-and-one to make it 41-23 in favor of the Bears at halftime.

Gilkey scored eight of Washington U.'s first 12 points of the second half as the Bears extended the lead to 53-29 with 15:58 to play. The Lady Blues got to within 20 at 68-48 with 3:36 remaining, but an 11-4 run to end the game gave Washington U. the 27-point victory.

Washington U. shot a season-high 50.8 percent (32-of-63) from the field in the game, while Illinois College finished with 36.5 percent (19-of-52) shooting. The Bears were 7-of-17 from three-point range, compared with 4-of-17 for the Lady Blues. Washington U. also converted 8-of-11 free-throw attempts, while Illinois College was 10-of-19. The Bears finished with a 43-31 rebounding advantage in the game, and turned 18 Illinois College turnovers into a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

Gilkey led the Bears with 17 points, six rebounds and a career-high four assists. Martinez had career-highs of 10 points, four rebounds and four steals off the bench, while shooting 5-of-6 from the field. Johanson added nine points and seven rebounds, while Hunt also finished with a career-high nine points on 3-of-5 from three-point range. Biewen finished with eight points and season-highs of five assists and four steals, while junior Paige Naig pulled down a career-high five rebounds to go with her three points off the bench

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Illinois College 13-0, and it was the first meeting between the two teams since 2002 … The Bears' bench outscored Illinois College's 41-5 … Washington U. has outrebounded all four of its opponents this season by an average of 13 per game … The Bears have won all four of their games this season by a margin of at least 24 points … Martinez became the fifth different player on the team to score in double figures this season.