Waverly, Iowa, Dec. 29, 2016 – The No. 6 Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team raced to a 67-38 win over University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Thursday evening to secure a spot in the AmericInn Holiday Tournament Championship against tournament host No. 8 Wartburg College.
WashU improved to 9-0 with the victory while dropping the Eagles to a 5-5 record. Wartburg won the opening game of the tournament 85-41 over Hamline University, improving its record to 11-0 on the season. WashU and Wartburg are two of only 26 teams remaining with undefeated records throughout the country.
The Bears defense was stifling, holding UW-La Crosse to 23.0 percent shooting from the floor (14-61). WashU did not allow a single player on the Eagles to reach double figures in scoring while the Bears sophomore Stephanie Botkin and senior Jenn Dynis were the lone two of the game to exceed 10 points.
In total 17 Bears saw action in the contest while 12 added points. WashU's bench contributed 31 points to outpace UW-La Crosse's 19 bench points.
In the opening quarter Dynis drove towards the basket before a spin move attracted a second defender leading to a pass to sophomore Madeline Homoly. Homoly sank the open baseline jumper to give the Bears their first lead at 4-2 with eight minutes to go in the first.
One minute later UW-La Crosse took the lead with a banked in three pointer, 7-6. Sophomore guard Becca Clark-Callender evened the score at 12-12 with a pair of free throws in the final minute. Botkin put the Bears back ahead on a jumper inside the arc on the dish from senior Zoe Vernon. Vernon followed the assist with a second chance basket at the buzzer to help WashU to a 16-12 first quarter advantage.
Natalie Orr's offensive rebound led to the first basket of the second quarter. Orr snatched down a board on the offensive side before two passes found an open Dynis beyond the arc to snap a two-minute scoring drought for both teams.
WashU outscored the Eagles 18-6 in the second quarter to lead 34-18 at the half. Dynis and Vernon led the scorers at the half with seven points each.
The Bears held UW-La Crosse to less than 10 points for the third quarter as well, outscoring the Eagles 14-5. Sophomore Rachael Sondag closed the quarter with her first of three triples on the game, which put the Bears ahead 48-23.
WashU opened the final quarter with an 11-0 run including four points from Botkin and a three ball from Orr. Botkin finished the quarter with six of her team leading 12 points as WashU defeated the Eagles 67-38.
Dynis added 11 points for the Bears while Vernon and Sondag each finished the game with nine points apiece. Vernon led WashU with seven rebounds and three assists.
WashU and Wartburg will clash Friday, Dec. 30 at 3 p.m. in the AmericInn Holiday Tournament Championship. WashU holds a 3-1 advantage in previous meetings with Wartburg, which the two most recent games have come in Wartburg's Holiday Tournament Championships. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.