Women’s basketball: Bears play great defense, sweep weekend on road

| Senior Sports Editor

Junior Kathryn Berger scored 15 points to lead the Bears to a 58-50 victory over New York University on Sunday. (Cedric Xia | Student Life)

Washington University’s women’s basketball team may be known for its many offensive threats, but it was their defensive efforts that punctuated this weekend’s sweep.

The Bears (20-2, 10-1 UAA) defeated New York University 58-50 on Sunday and Brandeis Univesity 50-37 on Friday to maintain their one-game lead in the University Athletic Association standings over the University of Chicago. A sweep of the upcoming weekend guarantees a share of the UAA title.

Wash. U. 58, NYU 50

The Red and Green fought a tenacious battle with the Violets throughout the 40 minutes of play. Trailing 19-13 with only 3:21 left in the half, the Bears rallied behind junior Kathryn Berger. Berger made five of Wash. U.’s final seven points of the half to give Wash. U. a slim 20-19 advantage at the end of the first period. “People work very hard on this team from all different roles,” head coach Nancy Fahey said. “Both Berger and [Claire] Schaeperkoetter gave us big shots. It was a key time that they hit big shots. It had a huge impact.”

The Bears’ momentum was unabated as they scored another seven unanswered points to open the second half. Senior co-captain Janice Evans answered with a three-pointer soon after New York’s Chelsea Blake ended the Violets’ seven-minute scoring drought. NYU shot just 32 percent from the field.

Berger led the Bears with a season high of 15 points, including a 7-for-7 performance from the free-throw line. Sophomore Claire Schaeperkoetter recorded a career high of 14, and Evans chipped in 12.

Wash. U. 50, Brandeis 37

Wash. U. limited the UAA’s leading scorer, Jessica Chapin, to 13 points just a game before Chapin scored a school-record 36 points against Carnegie Mellon on Sunday. The Bears’ defense kept the Judges in check, limiting them to six for 24 from the field in the first half, as Wash. U. claimed a 22-13 lead at the end of the half. According to Fahey, junior Alex Hoover had the primary responsibility for guarding Chapin, but a team effort was needed to contain the offensive threat.

The Red and Green ran out of the locker room and extended their lead to a 19 off a jumper by Berger, never letting the Judges get within single digits.

On the offensive side, senior Zoë Unruh notched her second double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while Evans scored 12.

Prior to Friday’s game, Wash. U. plans to honor seniors Unruh, Evans and Stacey Niese. “It’s a body of work that is recognized on Senior Night, not only from the wins and losses, but their impact on the team on and off the court,” Fahey said. “We challenge our seniors to be special. I think this group has done a great job.”

Several student groups have planned auxiliary activities throughout the weekend’s action. As part of George Washington Week, free shirts will be given out at the women’s game. Friday’s action is also part of EnWeek and Greek Weekend. Sorority and fraternity chapters present by halftime at the women’s game against Case Western Reserve University will be able to select representatives to compete in various halftime contests. Greek organizations are also being challenged to have the highest attendance at the Friday women’s game and the Sunday men’s game.

The Red and Green return to the Field House for the last time this season with a game against Case Western University at 6 p.m. on Friday and Carnegie Mellon University at 1 p.m. on Sunday. “From our standpoint, every game we have to come out and be sharp,” Fahey said. “We don’t have any wiggle room.”

Players could not be reached for comment.