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Women’s basketball blows 14-point lead, loses to NYU

Josh Davis | Contributing Reporter

This past weekend, the Washington University women’s basketball team set out on the road to take on two tough opponents in Brandeis and New York Universities. Riding momentum built from their three-game winning streak, the women set a single game and UAA record, making 16 three-pointers Friday night—although their playoff hopes may have slipped through their fingers Sunday afternoon with an overtime loss in New York.

After losing to Brandeis at home in their last meeting, the Bears were able to get revenge, winning 90-54. The game was lopsided, with all players on the Bears roster receiving some playing time.

Junior Katie Claussner dribbles the ball against University of Rochester Feb. 2. The Bears defeated Brandeis this weekend but fell to New York University, meaning that their post-season hopes likely depend upon whether or not they win their final three games of the season.Grace Bruton | Student Life

Junior Katie Claussner dribbles the ball against University of Rochester Feb. 2. The Bears defeated Brandeis this weekend but fell to New York University, meaning that their post-season hopes likely depend upon whether or not they win their final three games of the season.

Junior forward Stephanie Botkin had a career-high 21 points off of the bench, shooting 5-for-7 from the arc and 8-for-10 overall. Notably, Botkin was able to set her career mark without attempting a single free throw.

Botkin has been surprisingly more efficient away from the Field House, shooting 53.8 percent from the field on the road but just 45.5 percent at home. That pattern has held true from long range as well, where Botkin has made 40.0 percent at home but a sensational 56.0 percent on the road.

She has also settled in comfortably to her new role—after starting the season as a starter, Botkin has come off the bench in the last 10 games. In February, she’s averaging 11.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and an assist per game, up from January’s 8.1-2.6-0.3.

Senior guard Natalie Orr was right behind Botkin, also shooting 5-of-7 from three-point range. Orr barely missed a double, with 19 points and nine rebounds. Junior forward Madeline Homoly chipped in as well, coming away with 16 points and 5 rebounds.

At the end of the first quarter, Wash. U. held a double digit lead, 22-12. They jumped on Brandeis early going on a 15-point unanswered run and held the Judges scoreless for almost five minutes. Botkin and Orr each made three-pointers during this run, along with junior point guard Becca Clark-Callender. Wash. U. made four three-pointers in the first quarter alone.

Madeline Homoly, a junior, shoots the ball in the Bears’ game against University of Rochester. Homoly was named UAA Athlete of the Week twice during the 2017-2018 season.Grace Bruton | Student Life

Madeline Homoly, a junior, shoots the ball in the Bears’ game against University of Rochester. Homoly was named UAA Athlete of the Week twice during the 2017-2018 season.

In the second quarter, the Bears continued their hot shooting, increasing the lead to 42-25. Orr added to her first quarter total of two three-pointers, making another two in the second. Junior Rachael Sondag also made two threes in the half. Wash. U. played great team defense in the first half, holding Brandeis to just 23 percent from the field.

The second half of the game saw more dominance from Wash. U., and the Bears opened up the third quarter with an 11-4 run. Senior guard Shelby Mann controlled the pace of the game and drew in the defense. She finished with a career-high seven assists. Camila Casaneuva stood out for Brandeis, finishing with 12 points.

Sunday did not go as well for the Bears as Friday, as they took a loss to NYU in overtime, falling 82-79 despite holding a 14-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

With this loss, the Bears now only hold a one-game lead on NYU in the conference standings. New York went to 13-9 and 6-5 in conference play, while Wash. U. fell to 16-6 and 7-4 in the UAA.

Homoly led Wash. U. in scoring with 20 points, and Sondag scored 17 as well. Clark-Callender provided a great spark off the bench, scoring in the double digits. She finished with 13 points, nine of them coming in a row during the third quarter.

Botkin had another solid performance with 10 points and eight rebounds. Wash. U. shot efficiently from the field (49.1 percent). However, they were careless with the ball, turning it over 20 times.

After overwhelming the Bears to force overtime, NYU took control in the extra period. Kayla Patterson took over the game for NYU in crunch time, scoring seven points in overtime. With just under a minute remaining and Wash. U. up 79-78, it looked like the Bears were going to finish their road trip 2-0. But the Violets’ Olivia Linebarger completed a three-point play to provide NYU with an 81-79 lead.

After Botkin missed a three on the next Wash. U. possession, the Bears were handed a lifeline. Wash. U. was forced to foul to keep time on the clock, and New York’s Kayla Patterson missed one of her free throws—giving the Bears a chance to force a second overtime with a three. Callender created some space with a ball fake, and she had a good look at the game-tying shot, but her jumper was just short, and the Bears lost 82-79.

The Bears, now 16-6 and outside of the national top 25, look to bounce back from the tough loss next weekend. They will take on Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University at home, knowing that they will have to win all three remaining games this season to keep the program’s streak of 29-straight NCAA tournament appearances alive.