Women’s basketball closes regular season with 65-48 senior day win over Chicago

Danny Schwartz | Sports Reporter

Sahil Patel | Student Life

Sophomore Alyssa Johanson drives to the hoop in the second half of the Washington University women’s basketball team’s 65-48 win over the University of Chicago. Johanson scored eight points in the victory.

After two recent disappointing defeats, the No. 22 Washington University women’s basketball team needed another win. On Senior Day, the team’s regular season finale, it got just that as it beat the University of Chicago in a 65-48 wire-to-wire victory.

With the win, the Bears finished the regular season with a 20-5 overall record and a 10-4 University Athletic Association conference record. This marks the fifth straight year that the team has amassed at least 20 wins and the 22nd time accomplishing this feat in head coach Nancy Fahey’s 27 years coaching the Bears.

The Wash. U. women started the game with a 12-0 run, preventing the Maroons from scoring for eight minutes. The Bears did not relinquish their lead, responding to small runs by Chicago that were mainly fueled by three-pointers.

“Chicago really responded well…they shot very well from three,” Fahey said, “but the biggest thing I liked today is that they made runs and we responded to them. You could feel us get to nine, but the past couple games we haven’t been able to hold that lead, and that’s what I was really pleased with.”

While Wash. U. had been struggling to find its rhythm and consistency offensively in recent losses to the University of Rochester and New York University, the team did not need to score at an incendiary rate to beat Chicago. The Bears clamped down defensively, holding the Maroons to 37.3 percent shooting and forcing 21 turnovers, including 14 in the first half.

“I think defensively we were very sound; we worked a lot on it this week,” Fahey said.

The Red and Green may have struggled slightly offensively, shooting 39.7 percent from the field and only 20 percent from behind the three-point arc, but the team remained aggressive, tallying 30 points in the paint to Chicago’s 14 and hitting 17 free throws to Chicago’s measly two. Sophomore forward Melissa Gilkey’s 19 points and 12 rebounds, her sixth double-double of the season, led the strong Wash. U. effort. The Bears also let their defense fuel their offense, scoring 22 points off of turnovers compared to Chicago’s 13.

As the matchup with Chicago was the last regular season home game for the Bears, seniors Kristin Anda and Nishi Tavernier were honored in pre-game Senior Day festivities.

“My parents are here,” Anda said, “and it’s just exciting how after four years we have one final game at home, and because Chicago’s here, there are a lot of alumni in town.”

Anda and Tavernier’s overall record in their four years is 95-19, but with the possibility of making the postseason looming, they are definitely looking to add a few more victories to their already stellar resumes.

“We’re excited; we’re hopeful,” Anda said. “We kind of have to wait and see, and if we get in, we’re going to try our best to win.”

The Bears will find out if they’ve made the postseason, who they will face, where and when they play during Monday’s selection show at 1:30 p.m.