Women’s basketball defeats Carnegie Mellon on Senior Day

| Senior Sports Editor

The Washington University women’s basketball team got back to its winning ways over the weekend with home victories over Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University.

On Sunday afternoon, the team’s Senior Day, the Bears defeated Carnegie Mellon 86-74. Prior to the game, the crowd recognized senior team manager Emma Liss and senior players Dani Hoover, Brianne Monahan, Bethany Morrison and Claire Schaeperkoetter. The seniors went out with a bang as the Red and Green played its most complete game of the season.

Hoover finished with 10 points and nine rebounds, and Monahan added a career-high 16 points and six rebounds. Morrison shredded the Tartan zone defense with a career-high 11 assists and no turnovers while Schaeperkoetter contributed 10 points and a career-high six assists.

“I don’t know what to say,” Monahan said. “I think we were all just feeling our shots today.”

Both teams were red-hot in the first half—each led by as many as six, and Wash. U. went into the break with a 36-33 lead. The Bears shot a blistering 53.6 percent from the floor only to be outdone by Carnegie Mellon, which shot 59.3 percent.

Carnegie Mellon went to a zone defense early in the game, but Schaeperkoetter and freshman Melissa Gilkey sliced it apart. Gilkey finished the first half with 13 points and six rebounds while Schaeperkoetter had four points and five assists.

“We knew that Carnegie was going to play a 1-3-1 switching zone, so we had been practicing where the weaknesses were in their zone,” Monahan said. “We were just taking our open shots.”

The Bears came out of the break on fire as Monahan scored seven points during a 20-2 run that pushed the Wash. U. lead to 21, 56-35. From there, the Red and Green coasted to the finish behind Gilkey’s 20 points and seven rebounds.

On Friday night, the Bears overcame an early deficit to defeat Case Western 59-50 thanks to strong play from their quartet of freshmen and Hoover.

Freshman Maddy Scheppers got a surprise visit from her father, Colonel Scott Scheppers of the United States Air Force, prior to the game. Col. Scheppers returned to the States from Afghanistan on Friday morning and travelled to watch Scheppers play, and she responded with a strong performance.

Scheppers scored 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds in her fifth start of the season.

“I just wanted to execute better and make the easy layups that were given to me and free throws,” Scheppers said.

Gilkey recorded her second double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman Alyssa Johanson added 11 points, and freshman Alexandra Keane recorded five assists.

Hoover scored 11 points but made a bigger impact on the defensive end, where she recorded three steals.

The teams traded baskets early in the first half before the Spartans began to pull away, and with six minutes to play, Case pushed its lead to nine. Going into the half, Wash. U. trailed by seven, 27-20, after shooting just 29.2 percent from the field.

“We basically had to play with a greater mode of intensity,” head coach Nancy Fahey said. “I felt that when they decided to elevate their play, we tried to play smarter basketball, and we responded. I think Dani Hoover gave us a boost with her defensive play, and that’s what we’ve got to learn—how to play at a defensive level right from the start.”

Coming out of the break, Hoover scored six quick points to pull the Bears within one, and with 12:40 to play, Monahan hit a layup to give Wash. U. a 35-34 lead. After a Spartan jumper gave them back the lead, the Red and Green went on a 16-4 run, including nine points by Johanson, to extend its lead to 51-38.

“We needed to extend the defense at that point. We were allowing them to do too much in the half-court set,” Fahey said. “So we wanted to expand it and give them less time to work on the clock in the half-court set, and I think [playing the freshmen] just put a little more pressure on Case [Western] to hit some shots. In the first half we were just letting them come down, and [the freshmen] were doing a good job of slowing Case [Western] down.”

The Bears’ final eight points came from the free-throw line, where they shot 80 percent in the final three minutes.

During halftime of the men’s basketball game, Fahey was recognized for her induction into the Washington University Sports Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2011.

“It’s just an honor. Basically, it all goes back to the players that I’ve coached here over the last 26 years,” Fahey said. “It’s a special environment, and I feel very lucky.”

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