Women’s basketball beats Loras in final minutes of play

| Sports Reporter

The tenth-ranked Washington University women’s basketball team (7-1) defeated Loras College 55-50 on Friday evening behind some strong bench play.

After sophomore Jordan Rettig scored the first basket for the Bears, Loras responded with a 9-0 run to take a 7-point lead. With 7:56 left in the half, the Bears stepped up to get within three points with a jumper by captain senior Dani Hoover.

“It was an ugly game. They were a scrappy team and had a lot of energy,” Hoover said. “We weren’t hitting a lot of shots in the beginning. It was one of those games when we just had to keep fighting.”

The Duhawks extended their lead back to seven, but back-to-back baskets by junior Kristin Anda once again made it a three-point game. With a layup by freshman Melissa Gilkey, the Bears cut the Duhawks’ lead to one point, 24-23, with 1:33 remaining. However, Loras ended the first period with five straight points to stretch the lead to 29-23.

“We tried to focus in on making easy baskets in the second half. We never want to miss layups and free throws,” Hoover said.

When Loras pushed its lead to 38-29 at the beginning of the second half, head coach Nancy Fahey decided to go in a new direction. Fahey subbed in five new players with 14:48 to play, and the Bears went on a 12-0 run to turn the score and gain a 41-38 lead. The two teams traded points for the rest of the game over a six-minute period.

“We had some reserves come in at the [14]-minute mark who hit a bunch of threes that got us going,” Hoover said. “It’s nice to have a deep team that gave us fresh legs and a spark.”

Wash. U. took the lead for good at 51-50 on a shot by captain senior Claire Schaeperkoetter with 2:10 left. Junior Annie Sayers scored a basket to make it 53-50. Schaeperkoetter made both bonus free throws with 12 seconds left to give the Bears the five-point lead and the win.

“We held them to under 60 points, which is always great defensively, but we need to make sure we are always focusing and taking advantage of the opportunities they give us and knock down shots when we have them,” Hoover said.

Sayers had a season-high 12 points to lead Wash. U., while Schaeperkoetter added 11 points and Anda finished with 10 points and four steals. Schaeperkoetter and Sayers combined to score the final 19 points.

Freshman Alexandra Keane tied or set five career highs in the game. She had a team-high six assists and also added five points, three rebounds and two steals.

The Bears will take the court again with their final home game of the semester against Webster University at 1 p.m. on Dec. 17.

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