Late Rally Falls Short For No. 7 Women's Basketball at Rochester

Late Rally Falls Short For No. 7 Women's Basketball at Rochester

Rochester, N.Y., Feb. 15, 2015 – The No. 7-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team put together a furious rally after trailing by nine with 2:38 to play but fell short in a 76-75 loss at the University of Rochester Sunday.

Washington U. dropped to 20-2, 9-2 in the University Athletic Association (UAA), while Rochester improved to 13-9, 5-6 in the UAA. The Bears are tied for second in the conference standings with New York University, one game behind first-place University of Chicago with three games remaining.

Senior Maddy Scheppers scored 20 points to lead Washington U., while junior Jordan Thompson added a season-high 17 points and six assists. Senior Melissa Gilkey had 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while junior Katybeth Biewen added a season-high 10 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Senior Alyssa Johanson added nine points and equaled her career-high with nine boards.

Washington U. shot 35.8 percent (29-of-81) from the field, and hit 9-of-21 from three-point range. Rochester had the 50-43 advantage in rebounds, just the fourth time this season the Bears have been outrebounded.

Washington U. started slow from the field, hitting just 5-of-15 field goals, but three straight buckets from Gilkey gave the Bears an 11-8 lead with 13:06 left in the first half. Alexandra Leslie scored nine of the first 11 points for Rochester, and three free throws by Brynn Lauer gave Rochester its first lead at 14-11.

A free throw and a put back by senior Steph Vukotic tied the contest at 24-24 with 4:55 to play, but the Bears missed their final six shots of the half, and Rochester used an 11-0 run to take a 35-24 lead at the break. 

After hitting just two threes in the opening half, Washington U. relied on its three-point shooting to get back into the contest. Thompson had eight of the first 16 points of the second half for the Bears, including a pair of threes, as they trimmed the lead to four (42-38) with 14:15 to play.

Johanson ignited an 8-2 run with a pair of buckets, which cut the lead to two (48-46) with less than 10 minutes left. The seniors continued to lead the way as Scheppers canned a three from the wing, and then hit three free throws to tie the game at 52-52. Johanson gave the Bears their first lead since 11-10 with a corner jumper to make it 54-52 with 6:11 to play.

Rochester went on a 10-2 run to build a nine-point advantage with 2:38 to play. Scheppers drained a three and added a driving layup to make it a five-point deficit at 70-65. The senior class scored 27 straight points for the Bears during a 10-minute span in the second half.

Thompson drilled a three-pointer from the wing with 23.8 seconds left to cut the lead to one, but Lauren Deming hit two free throws with 19 seconds left to make it 75-72. Thompson missed a game-tying three with seven seconds left.

Deming (21 points), Leslie (21 points, 14 rebounds) and Lauer (14) all scored in double figures for Rochester, who hit 23-of-33 from the free-throw line in the win. The Yellowjackets also outscored Washington U. 30-3 in bench points.

Washington U. returns home for its final three games of the regular season. The Bears host No. 12 New York University at 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 20, followed by a meeting with Brandeis University at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the WU Field House.

Bear Notebook: Washington U. leads the all-time series against Rochester, 42-15, and the Bears and Yellowjackets have split the season series seven of the last eight years … The Bears are 2-2 this season when trailing at the half … Gilkey passed Kelly Manning (2002-06) for third on the all-time scoring list with 1,591 points … Thompson moved into a tie for eighth place with Debby Braun (1983-86) in career assists with 300.