Women’s basketball: Bench comes up big in Chi-Town victory

| Sports Reporter
Junior Kelsey Robb goes for a layup against Rhodes College. Robb scored in double figures in both contests this weekend. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

Junior Kelsey Robb goes for a layup against Rhodes College. Robb scored in double figures in both contests this weekend. (Matt Mitgang | Student Life)

The No. 5 Washington University women’s basketball team continued its strong start to the 2009-10 campaign with a 77-60 victory over the Elmhurst College Blue Jays on Saturday in Chicago.

Coming off the bench, junior Kathryn Berger led the Bears with 15 points in 17 minutes. Junior Kelsey Robb recorded a team-high seven rebounds to go along with 14 points.

Three of the Bears’ starters—seniors Zoë Unruh and Janice Evans and graduate student Jaimie McFarlin—added 11 points each. Unruh and Evans both shot 4 for 6 from the field, while Evans matched Robb with seven rebounds.

“We tried to pound the ball inside more, and that was working with us,” junior guard Alex Hoover said.

With 77 points, the team put on its second-best offensive performance of the young season, and its 58.8 percent shooting was its best of the season to date.

“We executed really well,” Berger said. “They were shading out to the shooters, so we drove the ball inside, which worked out.”

After falling behind 2-0 on the first basket, the Red and Green scored nine straight points to jump out to an early lead. Elmhurst fought back and tied the game at 14, but six straight points, including two free throws each from McFarlin and Evans, put the Bears ahead with a lead that they would never relinquish.

Elmhurst, however, kept fighting. Thanks to a strong performance from senior forward Lyndsie Long, who scored the most of any opposing player yet this season with 24 points, the Blue Jays kept the game close through the entire first half. The Bears brought a 36-29 lead to the locker room but came out firing after the break, shooting 16 for 23 (69.6 percent). A 12-6 run to start the half, fueled by eight points from Unruh that included a pair of threes, forced Elmhurst to take a timeout. Four more points for the Bears out of the timeout created a 52-35 advantage and put them well on their way to the victory.

“It was an interesting game. It felt like a close game the whole time,” Hoover said. “They were a tough team. It wasn’t an easy win.”

Despite allowing the most points and highest field goal percentage (40 percent) that they have yet to an opposing team this season, the Bears were happy with their level of defensive play. “Overall I think we did well in doubling down because they have some really good players on their team,” Berger said. “We did the little things that make the game a lot better. It was all about gametime adjustments.”

The Bears’ win put them at a 6-1 mark for the year. The Red and Green face Fontbonne University on Wednesday, Dec. 9, with tip-off at 7 p.m. in Fontbonne’s gym.