St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 14, 2016 – The No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team erased a 14-point deficit with a 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to earn a 57-54 University Athletic Association (UAA) win over Carnegie Mellon University on Senior Day Sunday afternoon.
WashU improved to 18-4 overall and 9-2 in the UAA with the win, and remained in sole possession of first place in the conference standings. Carnegie Mellon dropped to 16-6 overall and 5-6 in the UAA. The Bears begin a three-game road trip to finish the regular season when they travel to Brandeis University and No. 14 New York University next weekend. WashU takes on Brandeis at 6 p.m. (ET) Friday, Feb. 19.
Holding an 11-point lead after three quarters, Carnegie Mellon drilled a three-pointer to take its largest lead at 52-38 with 8:50 remaining in the game. The Bears' defense came up big the rest of the game, limiting the Tartans to 1-of-7 from the field and forcing nine fourth-quarter turnovers. Senior Katybeth Biewen answered the Tartans' three with a fastbreak layup that sparked a 17-0 run for the Bears over the next seven minutes. After a pair of free throws by freshman Steph Botkin, senior Jordan Thompson scored five straight points to bring the Bears within 52-47 and force a Carnegie Mellon timeout with 3:32 to play.
Senior Amanda Martinez made a pair of free throws to pull to within three 2:38 left, then got a defensive rebound on the Tartans' next possession. Junior Zoe Vernon then buried the game-tying three-pointer from the wing with 2:16 remaining. Botkin got a steal on CMU's next possession, and Vernon drained another three to put the Bears back on top 55-52.
The Tartans cut the lead to 55-54 with a basket in the paint by Liza Otto. She missed a layup on the Tartans' with 13 seconds left, but the ball went off a WashU player out of bounds. On the Tartans' in-bounds play, Lisa Murphy fouled out after being whistled for an offensive foul. Otto then fouled out and Vernon made both free throws to extend the lead to 57-54, and the Bears got the rebound off a missed three-point attempt by Carnegie Mellon to end the game.
Both teams started slow offensively, but WashU took an 11-8 lead into the second quarter. The Tartans started the second quarter with a 10-0 run, and led by as many as eight points before a layup by Martinez and a pullup jumper by Thompson made it 27-23 in favor of Carnegie Mellon heading to halftime. The Bears started the third quarter with a 7-1 run, and a three by sophomore Natalie Orr gave WashU a 30-28 lead with 7:59 left in the period. Carnegie Mellon scored the next 10 points before Vernon hit a layup to end the Bears' nearly five-minute scoring drought. The teams traded baskets to end the quarter, but Carnegie Mellon hit three three-pointers to build a 49-38 lead heading into the fourth.
WashU finished with 32.8 percent (21-64) shooting from the field, while Carnegie Mellon shot 42.9 percent (21-46). The Tartans outrebounded WashU 43-29, but the Bears forced 28 turnovers to finish with a 28-8 advantage in points off turnovers. The Bears were also 11-of-14 at the free-throw line, while Carnegie Mellon was 6-of-14.
Martinez led the Bears with 12 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Vernon added 10 points off the bench, including eight points in the final 2:16 of the game. Thompson added nine points, three assists and two steals, while Botkin finished with eight points off the bench. Biewen finished with six points, five rebounds, three assists and a team-high six steals.
Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 53-3 all-time against Carnegie Mellon, and the Bears have won 46 straight games in the series … WashU had a season-high 18 steals in the game … Prior to the game, WashU recognized its senior class – Biewen, Tori Knollmeyer, Martinez, Paige Naig, Thompson, Liz Yucknut and manager Nicole McAmis, along with graduate student Alexandra Keane … The Bears' Class of 2016 has helped WashU to an 89-16 record in the past four seasons … Biewen's six steals brought her career total to 175, moving her into a tie for seventh on WashU's all-time list with Jaimie McFarlin (2005-10) … Martinez increased her season steals total to 70, which is eighth on the Bears' all-time single-season leaderboard … Martinez scored in double-figures for the 16th time this season and seventh game in a row … Otto finished with a game-high 25 points for Carnegie Mellon … Murphy entered the game leading the UAA averaging 23.3 points per game, but was limited to a season-low eight points … The 28 turnovers for Carnegie Mellon was a season-high.