St. Louis, Mo., March 4, 2017 – Sophomore Madeline Homoly scored 16 of her game-high 26 points in the second half to lead the No. 6-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team to an 83-74 victory over No. 24 Wheaton College (Ill.) Saturday in the second round of the 2017 NCAA Division III.
WashU improved to 25-2 with its 13th-straight win, while Wheaton concludes its season with a 24-5 mark. The Bears take on the winner No. 13 University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh on Friday, March 10, in the Sectional Semifinals at a site to be determined.
"What a fantastic game. That's what you expect at this round, and it's only going to get tougher and tougher," said WashU head coach Nancy Fahey, who recorded her 15th season of 25 wins. "Wheaton came out on fire, I thought they shot the ball extremely well. Our players made plays and that's what's exciting about this time of year."
Homoly was 8-of-13 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free-throw line as she scored in double figures for the 13th-straight game. Homoly also dished out a career-high five assists.
WashU jumped ahead 9-2 in the opening four minutes of play, scoring six of its nine points on second-chance points. Sophomore Stephanie Botkin converted off an offensive rebound by senior Zoe Vernon as the Bears continued to lead 16-11.
WashU took a 22-16 lead after the first quarter as the Bears shot 47.4 percent (9-19) from the field. The Bears had a 10-0 advantage in second-chance points.
The Bears took their largest lead of the half at 31-22 with 5:54 left before half after a three-pointer from the corner by sophomore Rachael Sondag.
Chantal Meacham got hot for Wheaton hitting 3-of-4 from three-point range in the second quarter to keep it close. She buried back to back triples to trim the advantage to 35-33. Ellie Zenner hit a three-pointer from the corner to trim the WashU halftime lead to 41-38.
Homoly led the Bears with 10 points, while Meacham had 14 points. WashU shot 48.5 percent (16-33) in the first half, and hit all six of its free-throws. The Bears had a 12-0 advantage in second-chance points and outrebounded Wheaton 21-9.
Wheaton took its first lead of the game with 6:01 to play in the third after a free-throw by Katie McDaniels. WashU answered right back with a 13-4 run, highlighted by a three-pointer by Sondag from the wing.
"We have resilience. I think the UAA and all the tough play we had this year has really prepared this team very well," Fahey added. It's one of the toughest schedule a team at WashU has played. I think they have a good understanding of runs and how to respond to them."
Following Sondag's three, Homoly and Vernon combined for 13-straight points to the get lead up to 71-58.
"I really think it's about confidence," Vernon said. "The whole season I've been confident in my shot but keeping that up and eventually I was able to shoot well."
WashU shot 48.3 percent (29-60) from the field and hit 8-of-17 from beyond the arc. The Bears also shot a season-high 89.5 percent (17-19) from the foul line and outrebounded Wheaton 43-26.
Meacham led Wheaton with 17 points, while Devin Kyler (15 points) and McDaniels (14 points, four assists, four steals) also scored in double figures.
BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU is 7-0 all-time against Wheaton, and the teams met for the first time since 2002 … The victory for WashU was its 70 all-time in the NCAA Tournament … The Bears are 14-0 at home this season and remain unbeaten (18-0) on the Edwards-Fahey Court … Wheaton is 6-12 all-time in NCAA Tournament play … WashU is 23-0 when its outrebounds its opponents … Vernon went over 500 points for her career … This marks the 18th time in program history WashU has advanced to the Sweet 16, and the fourth time in the last five years … The Bears are 5-1 against ranked teams.