First-Half Run Propels No. 9 Women’s Hoops to Win Over Brandeis

First-Half Run Propels No. 9 Women’s Hoops to Win Over Brandeis

St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 22, 2015 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team used a 17-0 run in the first half to take control of the game en route to a 64-51 win over Brandeis University in University Athletic Association (UAA) play Sunday afternoon at the WU Field House.

WashU improved to 22-2 overall and 11-2 in the UAA with the win, while Brandeis dropped to 13-11 overall and 5-8 in conference play. The Bears are one game behind the University of Chicago (18-6, 12-1 UAA) in the conference standings. WashU hosts Chicago at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, for Senior Day at the WU Field House. The Bears gave the Maroons their only conference loss, a 65-52 victory for WashU Jan. 10 in Chicago.

Brandeis made four of its first five shots from the field to take an early 10-4 lead with 17:03 left in the first half. The Judges stretched their lead to 15-9 with 15:54 remaining in the half. WashU's defense held Brandeis scoreless as the Judges went 0-of-20 from the field over the next 10 minutes. During that stretch, the Bears went on a 17-0 run, including nine points by senior Melissa Gilkey and back-to-back three-pointers by senior Maddy Scheppers, to turn the deficit into a 24-15 lead with 5:58 left in the half.

Brandeis got to within seven (26-19), but a three-point play by junior Jordan Thompson and a jumper by Gilkey gave the Bears their largest lead of the half at 31-19 with 3:11 left. The Judges made both ends of a bonus free-throw opportunity to trim the lead to single digits (32-23) with less than a minute to play, before a driving layup by Thompson made it 34-23 in favor of WashU at halftime.

The Bears opened the second half with a 10-2 run to extend the lead to its largest of the game at 44-25 on a three-point play by junior Katybeth Biewen with 16:27 left in the game. The teams traded buckets and a jumper by senior Alyssa Johanson made it 56-39 with 7:31 to play. Brandeis scored six unanswered points to get to within 12 at 56-44 and force a WashU timeout with 5:43 left. Scheppers and Johanson hit back-to-back baskets to stretch the lead back to 60-44, before finishing the Bears finished with the 13-point win.

WashU shot 33.9 percent (20-59) from the field in the win, while Brandeis shot 33.3 percent (20-60). The Bears were 21-of-27 at the free-throw line, and finished with a 47-39 rebounding advantage.

Gilkey led all players with 23 points, including 11-of-12 at the free-throw line, while also grabbing eight rebounds. Scheppers tallied 12 points and nine rebounds, including five on the offensive glass, while also finishing with four steals. Thompson also finished in double figures with 10 points and seven of the Bears' 14 assists. Senior Steph Vukotic added five points and equaled her career-high with eight rebounds off the bench, while junior Amanda Martinez added seven rebounds. 

Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 51-3 all-time against Brandeis, and has won the last 15 meetings between the two teams … The Bears are 20-0 this season when leading at halftime … WashU is 11-0 at home this season and 350-29 in head coach Nancy Fahey's 29 seasons … WashU has outrebounded 20 of its 24 opponents this season and is 79-7 since 2011-12 when winning the rebounding battle … Gilkey brought her season point total to 457, which is ninth on the Bears' all-time top-10 list … She also had two blocked shots, which moved her into a tie for fourth with Kelly Manning (2002-06) on WashU's all-time career leaderboard with 138, and a tie for eighth on the single-season list with 39 … Biewen's two steals moved her into a tie with Angie Logan (1987-88) for 10th on the Bears' single-season top-10 list with 63.