St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 21, 2014 – The No. 5-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team held off a hot-shooting Case Western Reserve University team for an 80-67 win over the Spartans Friday night to claim the Bears' 20th University Athletic Association (UAA) championship.
Washington U. improved to 21-2 overall and 11-1 in the UAA with the win, while Case dropped to 9-14 overall and 3-9 in conference play. The University of Chicago, who entered the night two games behind Washington U. in the UAA standings, suffered an 84-77 loss to Carnegie Mellon University to give Washington U. the outright league title. The Bears host Carnegie Mellon (12-11, 3-9 UAA) on Senior Day at Noon Sunday, Feb. 23.
The Bears made four of their first five field goals to jump out to an 8-3 lead, and maintained the lead through the remainder of the first half. After a basket by the Spartans cut the lead to 8-5, Washington U. went on an 8-0 run over the next 2:25, including four points by junior guard Alyssa Johanson and a three-point play by senior forward Kristin Anda, to make it 16-5 with 13:47 left in the half. Case pulled to within six twice over the next six minutes, but back-to-back baskets by senior forward Jordan Rettig made it 28-18 in favor of the Bears with 7:03 remaining in the half. Washington U. continued to extend its lead, taking its largest of the half (46-28) on a steal and layup by Johanson with 1:14 to play, before heading to the locker room with a 47-31 halftime lead.
Washington U. got off to a slow start offensively in the second half as Case cut the Bears' lead to 50-42 with 14:58 remaining in the game. Junior forward Melissa Gilkey and Johanson combined to score the next 11 points for Washington U. as the Bears extended their lead to double-digits (61-48) with 10:27 to play. The Spartans' ninth three-pointer of the game brought them to within 65-58 with 6:22 left. Washington U. went on a 7-1 run to make it a double-digit lead again (72-59) with 3:56 on the clock. A fastbreak layup by Case made it 76-67 in favor of Washington U. with 1:26 left. Johanson made a basket late in the shot clock, then sunk both free throws after a steal by junior guard Maddy Scheppers, to seal the win for the Bears.
Washington U. shot 42.9 percent (27-63) from the field, and was 4-of-15 from three-point range in the game. The Bears also finished 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) from the free-throw line. Case shot 44.4 percent (24-54) in the game, including 10-of-22 from three-point range. The Spartans finished 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) at the free-throw line. Washington U. finished with a 42-34 rebounding advantage, and turned 17 offensive boards into a 22-3 advantage in second-chance points.
Gilkey scored 17 of her team-high 24 points in the second half, and pulled down 14 rebounds for her second straight double-double. With the 14 rebounds, Gilkey moved into Washington U.'s all-time career top-10, and ranks ninth with 596 boards. Johanson added 18 points, including 12 in the second half, and tied her career-high with three steals. Anda also scored in double figures with 12 points, while Rettig finished with 11 points, five rebounds and a career-high five assists. Senior guards Lucy Montgomery and Jessy Rosen each made a pair of three-pointers to finish with six points apiece, while Scheppers tallied seven rebounds and sophomore guard Jordan Thompson dished out seven assists.
Bear Notebook: The Bears' UAA championship is their conference-leading 20th all-time and first since 2009-10 … Washington U. leads the all-time series against Case 41-1, and has won every meeting between the two teams at the WU Field House … WUSTL is 355-34 (.913) all-time at the WU Field House, including a 174-10 (.946) record in UAA home games … The Bears improved to 19-0 this season when leading at halftime … Washington U. has outrebounded 20 of 23 opponents this season and is 19-1 in those games … Gilkey moved into 10th on the Bears' all-time scoring list with her 24 points (1,103), passing Hallie Hutchens (1,090) and Zoe Unruh (1,096) … Montgomery now has 87 career three-pointers and is four makes shy of entering WUSTL's career top-10 list.