St. Louis, Mo., Dec. 4, 2015 – The No. 11-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team used an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 56-47 win over Rhodes College on the first day of the 15th Annual McWilliams Classic Friday night.
WashU improved to 5-1 with the win, while Rhodes dropped to 3-5. The Bears advanced to the McWilliams Classic championship game to face Simpson College (4-3) at 7 p.m. Saturday. Rhodes will take on Wisconsin Lutheran College (4-2) in the consolation game at 5 p.m. Simpson defeated Wisconsin Lutheran 62-60 in Friday's first game.
After playing to a 37-37 tie through three quarters, Rhodes scored the first two points of the fourth quarter with a pair of free throws with 9:06 remaining. Senior Amanda Martinez made a jumper to tie the game and spark an 8-0 run for the Bears over the next 2:25 to give WashU a 45-39 lead with 6:05 remaining. The Lynx hit a three to cut the deficit in half, but senior Jordan Thompson made a layup off a feed from Martinez and junior Lily Sarros got a layup to push the lead back to seven. After a basket by Rhodes, the Bears scored five straight points to take their largest lead of the game at 54-44 with 47 seconds left. Rhodes made another three-pointer, but Thompson sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 34 seconds left.
Rhodes made the first basket of the game with a three-pointer on its first possession. WashU held the Lynx without a field goal for the next 8:37 as the Bears took an 11-5 lead on a three-pointer by sophomore Natalie Orr. Rhodes scored the next five points to cut the lead to one, before a basket by Sarros made it 13-10 in favor of the Bears at the end of the first quarter.
Rhodes scored the first five points of the second quarter before a basket by junior Jenn Dynis and a three-pointer by senior Alexandra Keane regained an 18-15 advantage with 6:02 left in the quarter. After a basket by the Lynx, Orr drained her second three of the game to make it a four-point lead for WashU. A pair of three-pointers by junior Zoe Vernon and Thompson pushed WashU's lead to eight at 27-19 with 2:41 left in the half, but Rhodes answered with a pair of threes to trim the lead to 27-25 at the break.
WashU stretched its lead to 34-28 on a three-pointer by Orr with 4:36 to play in the third quarter. The Lynx went on a 7-0 run over the next three minutes to turn the deficit into a 35-34 lead, before Vernon tied it with a free throw. Rhodes regained the lead with a basket on its next possession, but Vernon hit a jumper on the baseline to tie the score at 37-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
WashU shot 32.8 percent (21-64) from the field in the game, but was 6-of-11 (54.5 percent) in the fourth quarter. Rhodes shot a season-best 44.7 percent (17-38) from the field, including 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) from three-point range. In the fourth quarter, WashU limited the Lynx to 33.3 percent (3-of-9) shooting. The Bears forced 24 turnovers in the game, outscoring Rhodes 24-12 in points off turnovers. WashU also dominated the glass, finishing with a 38-26 rebounding advantage, and turned 22 offensive boards into an 18-3 advantage in second-chance points.
Vernon led WashU with a game-high 14 points and four rebounds Thompson and Orr added nine points and three assists each. Martinez finished with six points, 10 rebounds and three steals, and Dynis added six points and three steals off the bench, while Sarros had five points and nine rebounds.
Bear Notebook: WashU leads the all-time series against Rhodes 7-3 … It was the 20th straight home win for the Bears, dating to the 2013-14 season … WashU is 27-2 all-time in the McWilliams Classic, and advanced to the championship game for the 14th time … The Bears had 13 steals in the game, their fourth contest this season with double-digit steals … Keane equaled her career-high with four steals in 10 minutes of action off the bench.