Waverly, Iowa, Dec. 30, 2018 – The Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team was led by senior guard Becca Clark-Callender and senior forwards Madeline Homoly and Stephanie Botkin as both Bears' forwards exceeded 20 points and Clark-Callender tallied 11 assists in WashU's 78-66 win over North Central College in the consolation game of the Wartburg Holiday Tournament Sunday afternoon in the Levick Arena.
With the win WashU improved to 6-5 on the year while dropping the Cardinals to 3-10. Despite the Bears giving up a season-high 13 three-pointers, WashU minimized its turnovers to 11 and forced 18 while holding a 23-15 advantage in assists. The Red & Green also finished edges in rebounds (48-43) and free-throws made (15-5).
Clark-Callender finished with a career-best 11 assists. She is the first Bear to reach double figures in assists since Jordan Thompson did on March 4, 2016 against Greenville.
Homoly scored a team-high 26 points, connecting on 11-of-19 shots from the field and corralled a season-high 13 rebounds for her fifth double-double of the year. Botkin set a career-high with 23 points on 7-of-13 shooting. The combination of two players reaching 20 points or more in a single game is the first time since Feb. 10, 2017 when Homoly and Rachael Sondag combined for 44 points in a Bears victory over Emory.
Botkin helped the Bears to the lead with four points in the final minute of the first quarter. She sank a pair of free-throws to give WashU a 17-16 lead and then raced down the court on a feed from Clark-Callender for a last second layup to increase the Bears advantage to 19-16.
The Cardinals rallied to take a 33-29 second quarter lead but the Bears scored the final six points of the quarter for a 35-33 halftime lead. Freshman forward Samantha Weaver hit a put-back layup in before assisting on Homoly's jumper in the paint. Clark-Callender raced up the court for the final basket of the half as she drove down the center lane.
Homoly led the Bears with 11 first half points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field while Weaver added six off the bench. Homoly also had a team-leading six rebounds at the break and Weaver added five. Clark-Callender tallied five assists while pacing the Bears to a 40.5-shooting percentage (15-37) at the end of 20 minutes played.
North Central tied it up on its first possession of the second half but Homoly gave the Bears back to lead with a jumper assisted by senior guard Rachael Sondag. A three-pointer from Botkin with 4:21 to go in the third quarter helped WashU increase its lead to a game-high nine points, 48-39.
Clark-Callender drove into the paint before the Cardinal defense collapsed in on her with a double team. She kicked the ball out to an open Botkin for the triple. Botkin added two free-throws to push the Bears point total to a half century, 50-39. The Red & Green pushed their lead to 56-43 by the end of the quarter.
WashU stretched its lead to as many as 18 points twice including a converted layup by Weaver with 6:22 left to play but North Central mounted a furious comeback by sinking five three-pointers. The Bears lead fell to 10 points following the fifth three-pointer, 76-66, but WashU held the Cardinals scoreless in the final 44 seconds while Clark-Callender sank two free-throws for the final points of the game.
North Central's Alanna Newsome finished with a game-high 27 points. Allison Pearson also reached double figures in scoring with 14 points.
The Bears next game is against No. 8 University of Chicago on the road during WashU's University Athletic Association (UAA) opener on Saturday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.