St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 12, 2017 – The No. 9 Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team persevered in a back-and-forth game with University Athletic Association (UAA) foe University of Rochester Sunday afternoon, emerging with an 80-77 win in the WU Field House.
WashU improved to 20-2 overall and 9-2 within the UAA while Rochester fell to 15-7 and 6-5 in UAA. The win for the Bears gave head coach Nancy Fahey her 27th 20-win season in 31 years at WashU, including the ninth 20-win season in a row.
The Bears and Yellowjackets both worked their way to the free throw line more than 20 times apiece with WashU making 21-of-25 (84%) in comparison to Rochester's 14-of-21 (66.7%). Sophomore Becca Clark-Callender finished the game with new career-highs in points (18) and free throws (13-13).
Rochester shot 11-of-22 from three-point range to challenge the Bears multiple times late in the game for the lead. The biggest advantage for the Bears came in bench points, WashU's second unit outscored Rochester's 45-16.
Clark-Callender and sophomore Madeline Homoly led WashU in scoring with 18 and 17 points respectively. Senior Lily Sarros also scored in double-figures with 15, her second most points in a single effort this season. The senior forward shot 7-of-8 from the field while also leading the Bears with eight rebounds.
Senior Zoe Vernon scored the game's opening basket but Rochester took control of the first quarter by sinking multiple shots from beyond the arc on its next two possessions. WashU tied it at the six-minute mark, 6-all on a jumper by sophomore Claudia Smith. However, the Yellowjackets worked their way to a 15-12 lead heading into the second quarter.
The Bears found themselves down by 10 points in the first two minutes of the second quarter after a 9-2 Rochester run. WashU responded with a 17-7 run to even things up at 31 apiece. Homoly and Clark-Callender combined for 12 points on the run and Vernon provided the equalizer at 3:17.
Homoly momentarily put the Bears ahead with a layup but Rochester's Alexandra Leslie evened things back up on the next possession. WashU again took a slim lead following two good free throws by sophomore Stephanie Botkin only to be tied by Rochester. Homoly found senior Ereka Hunt in the corner for a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down. The final score of the first half gave the Bears a 38-35 halftime advantage.
WashU began the third quarter with a 12-5 run which built a 10-point lead for the Bears. Seniors Jenn Dynis, Sarros and Vernon were key to the Bears run with multiple baskets which included a three by sophomore Rachael Sondag.
However, the Yellowjackets mounted a furious comeback with around three minutes to go in the quarter as Rochester hit four three pointers on four consecutive possessions. WashU found themselves tied once again with 47 seconds left to go in the third before Vernon found Sarros under the basket for a layup and two-point lead, 58-56.
Clark-Callender set a new career-high in points when she nailed a three pointer in the fourth quarter that put WashU ahead 65-58. Rochester rallied to pull within two points in the final minute on a three ball by Lauren Deming. The Bears led 76-74 when Clark-Callender drove to the basket with the shot clock nearly out of time before getting fouled in the process. She sank both free-throws to put the Bears ahead 78-74 but the Yellowjackets answered with a three point play the hard way to pull within one.
The Bears called a timeout clinging to a one-point advantage before Rochester fouled Clark-Callender prior to the inbound pass. She once again sank both free throws to give WashU a three-point lead. On Rochester's following possession Clark-Callender stole the ball before Sarros was fouled. The ensuing free throws were missed but Rochester's last chance to tie the game was missed and Clark-Callender grabbed the defensive rebound before dribbling out the final seconds.
The final road trip of the season is up next for WashU. The Bears will travel to New York University on Friday, Feb. 17 with tipoff set for 7 p.m. (ET). The second game of the road trip will be at Brandeis University on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. (ET).
WashU and University of Chicago remain locked in a tie for first place within the UAA. Both programs possess a 9-2 conference record. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.