Women’s hoops falls to third in UAA standings after loss
On Friday, No. 12-ranked Wash. U. recovered from an early deficit against No. 20 Emory University and dominated in the second half en route to a 65-54 victory, but the weekend ended on a sour note with a 93-74 blowout defeat in the team’s second loss of the season to Rochester University.
Against Emory, the Bears managed only 10 points through the first 14:53 of the game and trailed 22-10, but a corner three-pointer by junior Lucy Montgomery sparked a 19-4 Wash. U. run and sent the home team into the halftime break with the lead.
The Red and Green never trailed in the second half, leading by at least eight points for the last 12:24 and building the margin to as much as 15.
“Emory played great defense…and we had to settle in and play our style; we got caught into their style,” head coach Nancy Fahey said. “And fortunately we got it close enough and ended up getting ahead at halftime, which was huge.”
Sophomore Alyssa Johanson, mired in a month-long shooting slump, led the Bears with 16 points on seven-of-12 shooting. With leading scorer Melissa Gilkey hampered by foul trouble—she played only 15 minutes—Johanson’s offensive efficiency played a key role in the Bears’ win.
“I had a bit of a slump the past couple games,” Johanson said, “but I knew this was a huge game for us. We needed to beat Emory if we want a shot at winning [the UAA].”
“We kind of slowed the ball down more, a bit more passing,” she added about the team’s offensive turnaround in the middle of the game. “I feel like a lot of times we go down the court, one pass, shoot it; nobody is rebounding. We’ve got [to] pass the ball around, having confidence that our teammates are going to be there for the rebound.”
Against Rochester, though, that shooting prowess was absent for large segments. The Bears shot only 27.9 percent from the field, their second sub-30 mark of the season—with both against the Yellowjackets.
The Yellowjackets jumped to a 38-25 halftime lead, torching both man and zone defensive looks with their three-point shooting. The Red and Green’s defensive struggles carried over to the second half, when Rochester scored 55 points and took advantage of numerous open looks.
Entering the game with a 29.7 three-point percentage on the season, making only 5.9 per game, Rochester hit 11-19 (57.9 percent) against Wash. U. on Sunday, and every time the Bears seemed to cut into the lead, another Yellowjacket three-pointer stopped the run.
“After our first half, we needed to up the pressure,” freshman Jordan Thompson said, “so we decided to press, and then with pressing you get some open looks, and the way that they were shooting tonight, they hit those open looks.”
Gilkey led the Bears with 24 points—20 in the second half—but Wash. U. tallied only 14 points in the paint, missing a number of layups and struggling to establish any offensive consistency. The large deficit forced the Red and Green to hoist three-pointers, taking them out of their comfort zone and contributing to the low shooting percentage.
Fitting for an ugly game from the home team’s perspective—the 19-point margin is the largest in a Wash. U. home loss since a 22-point defeat against Millikin University on Jan. 9, 1996—the second half was a disjointed affair, marred by 34 fouls and 54 free-throw attempts.
The Bears (8-3 in conference) now sit a game back in the conference standings with three contests remaining, meaning they need losses by both Emory and Rochester to have even a chance at winning the UAA. But while that goal may be difficult to attain, the team’s season-long goal remains the same: “We want to be playing our best basketball [now],” Fahey said after the win against Emory. “That’s our goal.”