St. Louis, Mo., Nov. 29, 2015 – The No. 9-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team outscored DePauw University 20-6 in the third quarter as the Bears earned a 47-41 win over the No. 19 Tigers in the championship game of the Midwest Challenge Sunday afternoon at the WU Field House.
After a defensive struggle in the first half saw the teams play to a 17-17 tie, WashU broke the game open in the third quarter. The Bears scored the first eight points of the second half to build a 25-17 lead in the first two minutes of the period. After WashU forced four turnovers by the Tigers during the opening two minutes, DePauw finally got on the scoreboard with a basket with 6:45 to play in the third quarter. Seniors Alexandra Keane and Jordan Thompson made back-to-back three-pointers as part of a 9-0 run for the Bears that pushed the lead to 34-19 with 3:33 left in the third.
A second-chance basket by junior Lily Sarros and a baseline drive by Amanda Martinez gave WashU its largest lead of the game at 41-24 with 8:38 remaining in the game. DePauw put together a 9-0 run over the next five minutes to pull to within eight before junior Zoe Vernon buried a three to make it 44-33 in favor of WashU. The Tigers made it a two-possession game with six straight points, before Martinez sealed the win by hitting three free throws in the final minute.
WashU took a 6-4 lead in the opening three minutes of the game, before both teams stalled offensively. The Tigers got a free throw with two minutes left in the first quarter, before Martinez drove to the hoop for a basket to give WashU an 8-5 lead after one quarter. The score remained 8-5 for nearly four minutes into the second quarter, before DePauw made back-to-back baskets to take its first lead of the game at 9-8 with 5:03 left. Thompson ended the scoring drought for the Bears with a driving layup and junior Ereka Hunt drained a three to put WashU ahead 13-9 with 3:44 remaining in the second quarter. After DePauw tied the score, freshman Sarah Greene drove down the left side of the lane for a basket to give WashU a two-point advantage with 37 seconds left. DePauw answered with a layup in the final five seconds of the half to send head to halftime with the score knotted at 17-17.
WashU finished with 32.7 percent (18-55) shooting from the field in the game. DePauw also shot 32.7 percent (16-49) from the field. The Bears made five three pointers, compared with just one for the Tigers. Martinez led the Bears with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists. Sarros added eight points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Vernon also finished with eight points and Thompson chipped in with seven.
The Bears improved to 4-1 on the season with the win, while DePauw dropped to 3-2. WashU returns to action when it hosts the 15th Annual McWilliams Classic Friday-Saturday, Dec. 4-5, at the WU Field House. The Bears face Rhodes College at 7 p.m. Friday. Simpson College and Wisconsin Lutheran College square off in the first game of the tournament at 5.
Bear Notebook: WashU improved to 19-8 all-time against DePauw … The Tigers had won the past four meetings between the two teams … The Bears improved to 355-29 at the WU Field House under head coach Nancy Fahey, winning their 19th straight home contest.