Bears suffer first UAA loss, split weekend
In the latter half of their four-game UAA road trip, the Bears suffered their second loss of the season, falling to the University of Rochester 63-51 on Friday in Rochester, N.Y. The loss was both the first for the Bears in conference play and the first loss since November.
The team did manage to split the weekend with a 70-60 win on Sunday at Emory University in Atlanta.
The results moved Wash. U. to 16-2 overall and 6-1 in UAA play. This marks the second straight year that a road game at Rochester (15-3, 5-2) has been the team’s first conference loss.
“They’re a well disciplined team, and they did a great job defensively,” head coach Nancy Fahey said. “Their defense forced the shots that we missed.”
Despite out-rebounding Rochester at the break 27-23, the Bears shot a paltry 6 of 32 from the field, were held scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game and had their lowest-scoring half of the season, as they found themselves in a 30-16 hole at the break.
“It doesn’t matter as much if we miss a shot usually because there are four other people crashing the boards,” senior Zoë Unruh said. “But that’s one thing they really took away from us.”
Despite posting significantly better numbers in the second half, scoring 35 points on 40 percent shooting, the Bears never got within 12 points of the Yellowjackets. Time ran out, and the Bears had suffered their first loss in the conference since over a year ago on the same court.
Despite the loss, the Red and Green received solid performances from the bench. Junior Hannah Cusworth set a career high with 12 points, and sophomore Claire Schaeperkoetter tied hers with 11 while shooting 3 of 4 from three-point range. Graduate student Jaimie McFarlin led the team with 10 rebounds.
The team bounced back in a close contest against Emory on Sunday. Though the contest opened up the same way as the previous Friday’s, with the Bears trailing by as much as 13 points in the first half, the team fought back and had the contest tied at the break. Unruh came alive just in time, with 15 of her career-high 25 points coming in the first half. She also grabbed 10 rebounds.
“Zoë’s such a capable shooter,” Fahey said. “I just think as a senior that day you could see in her eyes that she would keep her own confidence going.”
Unruh continued her surge with 10 more in the second half, while McFarlin chipped in 10 of her 12 points. They led the Bears on a 24-3 run that spanned nearly 10 minutes of the half and put the game away.
“One thing I felt was that we can’t lose twice in one weekend. That’s just not acceptable,” Unruh said. “Down 13, we decided this was not happening again. That loss from Rochester really gave us the fire we needed to win Sunday.”
Despite their first loss in over two months, the Bears aren’t too worried about their abilities, and they’ve got a chance at some much-desired payback this upcoming weekend.
“I think that this loss is really going to provide us with some momentum,” Unruh said. “The loss is still fresh in our minds and we’ll remember how we felt.”
The Red and Green get another shot at these same two teams, as they take on Rochester at 6 p.m. Friday at the Wash. U. Field House, followed by Emory at 1 p.m. Sunday.