WU continues second half dominance with win
The Washington University women’s basketball team continued its second half dominance in routs of Emory and Case Western Reserve universities this past weekend. The women extended their winning streak to seven and have won 14 of their last 15 games.
Both weekend wins had margins of at least 30 points, and the Bears outscored the Eagles and Spartans by a combined 50 points in the second half. After a strong weekend, the Bears moved up one spot to No. 12 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll.
“For the past couple weekends, we kind of come out and just focus on our level of play, and we’ve really been making defense a priority and trying to come out and establish our defense first and letting our offense just kind of flow,” said Halsey Ward, a senior and co-captain.
Emory held the lead for just 19 seconds last Friday at 13-12, but the depth of the Bears was too much for the Eagles to handle. Sophomore Kathryn Berger recorded her second double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play, while juniors Zoë Unruh and Janice Evans added 17 and 15 to lead the starters. Thirteen players scored in the 91-55 blowout victory.
Wash. U. shot just under 54 percent for the game, while the Eagles shot just under 39 percent from the field. More impressively, the Bears took 23 more shots than the Eagles.
Sunday’s contest against Case Western Reserve proved to be just as lopsided, as the Bears held the Spartans to 25 percent shooting from the floor in a 70-40 victory. After two brief 1-point leads held by the Spartans to open the game, the Red and Green took the lead for good with 15:51 left in the first half.
“We’ve just upped the level of our defensive performance. During our road trip to New York and Boston, we had the best defensive weekend that we’d had all year, and it was just realizing that that is how we can play defense,” Ward said.
Ward and freshman Dani Hoover led the attack with 16 and 10 points off of the bench, respectively, while Evans led all starters with 8 points. Wash. U. also did not allow a single Spartan to score in double digits.
The Bears were also helped by the No. 2 University of Rochester Yellowjackets, who lost their second conference game to Brandeis 52-50 on Sunday. The loss gives Wash. U. a one-game lead in conference play with three games remaining for each team. A win against Rochester on Sunday, any Wash. U. win coupled with any Rochester loss or three more wins by the Bears will give Wash. U. its 18th UAA title and 21st NCAA Division III Tournament berth.
“Our goal since the beginning of the year has been to win the UAA…It would be sweet if we could clinch it on Sunday with a win against Rochester. They were our only loss [in conference] so we’ve been fired up, ready for them to come into our house,” Ward said.
The Bears square off against Carnegie Mellon University in the annual Think Pink game this Friday at 6 p.m. before battling No. 5 Rochester at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. On Friday, Rochester will face the University of Chicago, which already defeated the Yellowjackets earlier this season.