Women’s basketball routs No. 11 Rochester, sweeps season series with Emory

Rohan Gupta and Jon Lewis | Senior Sports Editors

The Washington University women’s basketball team pulled out its biggest win of the season Friday, beating No. 11 University of Rochester at the Wash. U. Field House for its highest-ranked victory of the year.

The Bears suppressed the Yellowjackets in one of their most impressive defensive showings to date. In holding Rochester to 52 points, the Red and Green were dominant around the perimeter, allowing just one of 22 threes to fall.

Junior Rachael Sondag drives toward the basket in the Bears’ win against Rochester at the Field House Friday. The women’s basketball team beat Emory University by a score of 75-63 Saturday, building up a three-game winning streak that they will look to continue next Friday.Grace Bruton | Student Life

Junior Rachael Sondag drives toward the basket in the Bears’ win against Rochester at the Field House Friday. The women’s basketball team beat Emory University by a score of 75-63 Saturday, building up a three-game winning streak that they will look to continue next Friday.

From the get-go, Wash. U. stifled the Yellowjackets, getting off to a 9-0 start before allowing the first Rochester bucket over three minutes into the game. Rochester picked up the pace for the rest of the first quarter, but the Bears maintained a healthy advantage, closing the quarter up 23-14 as they made 10 trips to the free-throw line and the Yellowjackets missed all five three-point attempts.

The second quarter was more of the same, with even more suffocation by the Bears. While they didn’t make it back to the charity stripe—and only took two more attempts the rest of the game—Wash. U. simply didn’t allow Rochester to possess the ball, out-rebounding their foes 15 to six. Wash. U.’s control over the clock led Rochester to just seven points in the frame, and a 35-21 deficit by halftime.

Rochester didn’t let boards be their downfall coming out of the locker room, beating the Bears on the glass, 11-5, in the third quarter. Yellowjacket junior guard Emma Michaels made sure that was the case, pulling down four of her own in just four minutes. But it didn’t matter; the Red and Green found another advantage. While Rochester again went 0-for-5, the Bears hit four from downtown to add another seven points to their now-21-point lead.

The Bears eased up defensively in the final frame, but ultimately came away with a 19-point win over a team that had narrowly defeated them a week earlier. Junior forward Stephanie Botkin had her strongest performance since moving to the bench, delivering 13 points in 12 minutes.

Exactly seven days after Wash. U. downed Emory University by 14 in Atlanta, the Bears and Eagles ran it Sunday afternoon back in St. Louis, very nearly replicating the result. A week later and 500 miles away, Wash. U.’s margin this time was 12, 75-63.

After giving up a layup on the first possession of the game, the Bears showed some of the same defense that stifled Rochester two days before. Over the next five minutes, Wash. U. did not allow a single point, forcing five missed shots and a turnover.

Junior Stephanie Botkin shoots the ball in the Bears’ 71-52 victory against the No. 11-ranked University of Rochester. The Bears take to the road as they continue their conference play with a game against Brandeis University next Friday.Grace Bruton | Student Life

Junior Stephanie Botkin shoots the ball in the Bears’ 71-52 victory against the No. 11-ranked University of Rochester. The Bears take to the road as they continue their conference play with a game against Brandeis University next Friday.

At the same time, the Red and Green offense kicked into gear. Almost all the starters got in on the action early, as juniors Rachael Sondag, Natalie Orr, Madeline Homoly and sophomore Kristina Schmelter all registered points in the opening minutes. By the time Emory head coach Misha Jackson called a 30-second timeout to regroup, her team was in an 11-2 hole.

The Bears lead grew to as many as 16 points, when junior guard Katie Claussner hit a layup to make the score 22-6, but the dormant Emory offense finally got going as the first quarter drew to a close, scoring eight unanswered points in the final minute of the first quarter.

The Eagles came as close as six points to Wash. U. early in the second, but the Bears managed to pull away, largely thanks to the shooting of Orr. She scored nine points in the quarter, including 4-5 shooting. Her first two buckets of the quarter restored the double digit advantage for Wash. U. and set the tone for the rest of the period, in which the Bears outscored Emory by nine and took a commanding 41-24 lead.

The third quarter was a bit more shaky for the Bears. After holding Emory to just 30.5 percent shooting from the field in the first half, the Wash. U. defense gave way in the third quarter. The Eagles shot 50 percent, 7-for-14, for the quarter, and managed to cut a 17 point Wash. U. lead down to just eight as the game entered the fourth quarter.

Wash. U. retook control of the game at the start of the fourth, however, as Sondag found fellow Junior Becca Clark-Callender in the left corner. Clark-Callender’s catch-and-release three found nothing but net, and put the Bears back up by 11.

As the Wash. U. regained momentum, it was Homoly—perhaps the team’s biggest star and a preseason All-American—who proved most pivotal. She was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field, a perfect 2-for-2 from the free throw line and grabbed four rebounds to boot. Homoly’s eight points in the quarter, part of her 18 total on the afternoon, helped ease the Bears to a 75-63 win, their second over Emory and their third on the trot.

The Red and Green now have a chance to ride this three-game winning streak down the stretch. Next week, they look for more revenge at Brandeis University, then aim to sweep New York University before a final homestand and regular season finale at No. 16 University of Chicago.