Crestview Hills, Ky., March 11, 2016 – Junior Jenn Dynis and senior Jordan Thompson combined to score eight straight points in a span of less than two minutes late in the fourth quarter as the No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team overcame a seven-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 25 Carnegie Mellon University 75-69 in the NCAA Sectional Semifinal Friday night.
WashU improved to 23-5 on the season with the win, while Carnegie Mellon ended its season with a 21-7 record. With the win, the Bears advanced to the Elite Eight for the 12th time in school history and the first time since 2011. WashU will face host and top-ranked Thomas More College at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday for a chance to advance to the Final Four. The Saints earned a 75-46 win over No. 18 Maryville College (Tenn.) in Friday's second game.
With WashU hanging on to a 48-46 lead after three quarters, Carnegie Mellon scored the first three points of the fourth to regain the lead. The teams traded baskets until the Tartans were whistled for an offensive foul and Dynis made a jumper on the Bears' ensuing possession to give WashU a 60-57 lead. Carnegie Mellon converted two free throws after the media timeout with 4:16 left in the game. Dynis made a wide open layup, then got a steal and layup to push WashU's lead to 64-61. The Bears got a stop on defense and forced a Carnegie Mellon timeout with 3:06 to play.
After the timeout, Thompson hit a pullup jumper, then Dynis got a tie-up on the defensive end to get the ball back for the Bears. She then made another layup off an assist from Thompson that pushed the lead to 68-61 and forced another timeout by the Tartans. Carnegie Mellon made its first three-pointer of the game to trim the lead to four, but Thompson drove and scooped for a layup with the shot clock winding down. Carnegie Mellon went on a 5-1 run to make it a two-point game with less than 29 seconds left. The Bears were able to pass the ball around to shave 16 seconds off the clock before being fouled. Freshman Rachael Sondag made both free throws to make it a four-point game and Thompson grabbed the defensive rebound off Carnegie Mellon's missed three-point attempt, then made both of her free throws to give the Bears the six-point win.
The Bears struggled to find their offensive rhythm in the first half. Meanwhile, Carnegie Mellon shot 56.5 percent (13-23) from the field in the opening half of play and built a lead of as many as 11 points (33-22 with 1:45 to play in the second quarter. Freshman Stephanie Botkin made a layup and Thompson nailed a pullup jumper at the end of the quarter to make it 33-26 in favor of Carnegie Mellon at halftime.
WashU outscored the Tartans 14-4 in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Senior Amanda Martinez drove the baseline for a reverse layup and converted the free throw for the three-point play to tie the score at 37-37, before junior Zoe Vernon buried a three from the wing to give WashU its first lead since the 3:44 mark of the first quarter. After the media timeout, Carnegie Mellon went on a 7-2 run to regain a 44-42 advantage, but junior Lily Sarros hit a pair of free throws then made a layup after a big steal by Thompson. A turnaround jumper by Botkin made it 48-44 in favor of the Bears, but Carnegie Mellon made a basket on its final possession of the quarter to head to the fourth quarter with WashU leading by two.
WashU finished with 46.3 percent (31-67) field-goal shooting in the game, including 66.7 percent (20-30) in the second half. Carnegie Mellon shot 49.1 percent (26-53) from the field. The Bears finished with a 32-29 edge in rebounding, and had just six turnovers in the game, including just one in the second half.
Vernon led four players in double figures for the Bears with 16 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Thompson added 12 points, six assists and four rebounds, while Martinez and Dynis had 11 points each. Dynis scored nine of her 11 points in the final 4:50 of the game. Sarros chipped in with eight points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Sondag added seven points and a career-high four assists off the bench.
Bear Notebook: WashU leads the all-time series against Carnegie Mellon 53-3, and the Bears have won 47 straight games in the series … WashU defeated Carnegie Mellon twice during the regular season (63-50 Jan. 17 in Pittsburgh, 57-54 Feb. 14 in St. Louis) … The Bears shot a season-high 90.9 percent (10-11) at the free-throw line … WashU improved to 68-24 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … It was just the sixth time this season the Bears trailed at halftime, and they improved to 4-2 in those games … It was the third time in school history WashU has faced a fellow University Athletic Association (UAA) team in the NCAA Tournament, and the Bears improved to 3-0 in those games … WashU is 5-2 against ranked teams this season … Senior Katybeth Biewen increased her career steals total to 187, tying Alia Fischer (1996-2000) for fourth on WashU's all-time leaderboard.