St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 13, 2014 – Senior Melissa Gilkey scored 29 of her season-high 31 points in the second half to lead the No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team to a 76-65 win over Millikin University Saturday afternoon at the WU Field House.
Washington U. battled to a 34-31 lead at halftime, before Gilkey scored a pair of baskets to start the second half and quickly make it 38-31 in favor of the Bears. Millikin made it a two-point game (44-42) with a driving layup with 14:02 to play in the game, but Gilkey got an offensive rebound and converted a three-point play on the Bears' next possession and made a shot on the baseline 25 seconds later to extend the lead to 49-42. After Millikin converted a free throw, Washington U. went on a 13-4 run over the next five minutes to build a 15-point lead at 62-47 on a pair of free throws by senior Steph Vukotic.
Millikin made back-to-back second-chance baskets to get to within 11, before freshman Natalie Orr drained a three and senior Alyssa Johanson made a pair of free throws to give the Bears their largest lead of the game at 67-51 with 4:46 left. The Big Blue made their seventh three-pointer of the game to get to within 10 at 69-59 with 3:37 left, but Gilkey answered with a three on Washington U.'s next possession, and the Bears maintained the double-digit lead to earn the 11-point win.
Millikin built an early 4-1 lead to start the game as the Bears missed their first six field goals before a three-pointer by senior Alexandra Keane tied it at 4-4 with 16:15 left in the half. After Washington U. took a 10-6 lead, the Big Blue scored a pair of baskets to tie the game again with 12:15 to play in the first period. Senior Maddy Scheppers hit a three-pointer to give the Bears the lead back, and a free throw by Vukotic and driving layup by Scheppers gave Washington U. its largest lead of the half at 16-10 with 8:45 remaining.
The Big Blue chipped away at the Bears' lead with three three-pointers and four made free throws to get to within 26-25 before Scheppers made her third triple of the half to make it 29-25 with 3:16 left. Millikin continued to respond, and a layup gave the Big Blue the lead at 31-30 with 1:42 to play in the opening half. Washington U. answered with a basket by junior Katybeth Biewen and a layup by junior Paige Naig made it 34-31 in favor of the Bears at halftime.
Washington U. shot 43.6 percent (24-55) from the field, while limiting Millikin to 39.7 percent (25-63) field-goal shooting. Both teams made seven three-pointers, and Millikin finished with a 40-38 rebounding advantage. After making just 8-of-16 free-throw attempts in the first half, the Bears made all 13 from the foul line in the second half to finish with a free-throw percentage of 72.4. Millikin was 8-of-15 at the free-throw line, including just 4-of-9 in the second half.
Gilkey had her fifth double-double of the season with 31 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. Scheppers added 18 points, including three three-pointers, four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Johanson added eight points, while Orr equaled her season-high with five points and three rebounds off the bench. Keane dished out a season-high five assists for the Bears.
Washington U. improved to 8-0 with the win, while Millikin had its six-game win streak ended and dropped to 6-2 on the season. The Bears finish their home non-conference schedule by hosting Fontbonne University Thursday, Dec. 18. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the WU Field House.
Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Millikin 12-9 … Millikin entered the game ranked first in NCAA Division III with a 49.9 field-goal percentage … The Bears had a 24-8 advantage in points off turnovers … It was Gilkey's second 30-point game of her career and the 15th by a Washingotn U. women's basketball player since the 2000-01 season … Gilkey made her 90th consecutive start for the Bears … Scheppers' three three-pointers brought her career total to 95, moving her past Lucy Montgomery (2010-14) for 10th on Washington U.'s all-time career leaderboard … Gilkey increased her career rebounding total to 700, passing Karen Hermann (1987-91) for seventh on the Bears' all-time rebounding list … Gilkey has scored in double figures in 75 career games, including each of the last 30 in a row.