Bears avenge loss in weekend sweep at home

| Sports Reporter

After falling 61-53 at the University of Rochester for their first conference loss of the season, the Washington University women’s basketball team was back home this weekend—and they had little trouble returning the favor.

In both of the weekend’s games, the Bears grabbed control early on and never gave up the lead. Junior Alex Hoover’s 15 points paced the Bears as they routed the Rochester Yellowjackets 68-40 on Friday night at the Wash. U. Field House. They followed up with another big win against the Emory Eagles with a score of 61-47 on Sunday.

“It’s really beneficial when you’re not worrying about playing catch-up with the team,” senior co-captain Janice Evans said. “It makes you feel good about how you’re playing.”

The wins improved the Bears to 18-2 overall and 8-1 in conference as they maintained their lead over the rest of the University Athletic Association.

The majority of the first half consisted of the two teams trading blows, with an early Wash. U. run being countered by Rochester. This gave the Bears a slim 16-15 lead before Evans stole the momentum from the Yellowjackets. Evans made a jumper and then stole the ball and passed it to Hoover, who dished it right into sophomore Bethany Morrison’s hands for a three-pointer.

That sequence was the beginning of a 15-1 Bears run that senior co-captain Zoë Unruh  capped off with another three-pointer. The Red and Green took a 32-18 lead into the half, with Hoover’s 11 first-half points leading the way.

“Coach [Nancy] Fahey had talked to me before the game about how I needed to be more of a threat on offense,” Hoover said. “So I took that to heart and tried to be more aggressive, and it worked out well.”

The Bears extended their lead even farther out after halftime, as Unruh pitched in eight more points while Evans and graduate student Jaimie McFarlin both added five more. The team shot 44 percent from the field and was extremely efficient from three-point range, hitting eight of 13 shots.

With the win, the Bears successfully avenged their only conference loss of the season, which had taken place a week earlier on Rochester’s home court.

“There was for sure some extra fire,” Evans said. “We didn’t like losing. It was an ugly loss we had at their place, so to come back and do what we did was great.”

The Bears’ winning ways continued against Emory on Sunday, when the they pulled away right from the beginning. The Eagles put up no points until almost halfway through the first half, while the Red and Green dashed to a 13-0 lead. A 36-10 halftime margin gave the Bears all of the cushion they needed for the rest of the game.

McFarlin led the team with 11 points, all of which came in the first half as several of the team’s regulars sat out most of the second. The team defense was the highlight for the Bears, as eight different players recorded steals and held the Eagles to 34 percent shooting from the field. Wash. U. also forced 19 turnovers and converted 21 points.

“We take a lot of pride in trying to stop people defensively,” head coach Nancy Fahey said. “We had to adjust against Emory and we did a pretty good job.”

Wash. U. is back on the road for their next two games, as the Bears head to the Northeast for the weekend. They face Brandeis University on Friday in Waltham, Mass., followed by a contest at New York University on Sunday.