Bears dismiss challenges to remain atop UAA
The Washington University women’s basketball team, fresh off home court poundings of New York University and Bradeis University, were in position this weekend to polish off UAA competition and further solidify their number one ranking.
The challenge? Beat the hungry University of Rochester Yellowjackets on Friday night and take down the feisty Tartans of Carnegie Mellon on Sunday. Check one and check two.
The Bears led off the men’s/women’s doubleheader on Friday. However, UR turned out to be good competition for WU, a team used to walking all over opponents. The first half looked familiar as the Bears brought their usual game, dropping in 45% of their shots and hitting 5 of 10 three pointers. The defense was in fine form as well, holding the Yellowjackets to just 29% percent shooting.
In the second half, WU outscored the Jackets 28-23 but struggled a bit, only shooting 30% from the field. The defense picked up the slack, allowing Rochester a paltry 19 shot attempts in the entire half. The Bears forced 26 turnovers while only turning it over 17 times themselves, and out-rebounded UR 42-34.
Forward Hallie Hutchens and shooting guard Laura Crowley led the scoring efforts with 16 and 14 points, respectively. Overall, the scoring was a team effort, with nine different players getting on the board.
Forward Jennifer Rudis and center Suzy Digby covered the boards, gathering in 7 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Of the Bears’ 42 rebounds, 19 came on the offensive glass, keeping the ball in the Bears’ court and giving them multiple scoring opportunities on every trip down court. Meanwhile, UR rarely received second chances and was forced to hit its shots when given a chance.
“We knew had to keep playing tough, we had to be ready in case they used their three point shooters to get back in the game,” said junior forward Meg Sullivan.
Rochester decided to forego the three point route, attempting only six trifectas in the entire game. But without an outside game, the Yellowjackets’ strategy of pounding the ball inside on the Bears encountered little success.
“They [Rochester] had just beaten Case Western and we knew they were very competitive,” said Digby. “To keep the top spot we needed to win. We also play them upcoming weekend and need to be confident when we go there. This gave us the opportunity to know their players better for this weekend’s game.”
The Bears went also went on to win this past Sunday, giving Carnegie Mellon a 71-44 pasting to move to 18-0, an incredible mark that has come to be expected of the team every season by its loyal fans. With nine minutes left in the first half WU held a 27-2 advantage (yes, 27-2). Suffice it to say that the Bears rolled from there.
These rousing victories should give Bears enough confidence to keep yet another perfect season alive when traveling into the frozen depths of northern New York state.
The women have seven contests left on the schedule, all seven games versus UAA opponents. Their next matchup is this Friday night against the same Carnegie Mellon team, this time facing off in Pittsburgh, where a Tartans victory might help ease the pain of the bitter Steelers’ defeat.
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