Fourth-Quarter Run Pushes No. 10 Bears Past UW-Whitewater Into Sectionals

Fourth-Quarter Run Pushes No. 10 Bears Past UW-Whitewater Into Sectionals

From Washington University Athletics

The No. 10-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team used a 13-1 run in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to pull away for a 62-45 win over the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Division III Championship Saturday night at the WU Field House.

WashU improved to 22-5 overall with the win, while UW-Whitewater finished its season with a 20-8 record. The Bears will face fellow University Athletic Association (UAA) foe Carnegie Mellon University in the Sectional Semifinal Friday, March 11, at a site to be determined. The site for the Sectional will be announced Sunday, March 6.

After holding a 39-34 lead at the end of three quarters, WashU turned up its defensive intensity in the fourth period. The Bears forced four turnovers and limited UW-Whitewater to 0-for-2 from the field as WashU put together a 9-0 run in the opening four minutes of the quarter. A three by junior Zoe Vernon forced a timeout by UW-Whitewater as the Bears extended their lead to 48-34. Junior Jenn Dynis hit a turnaround jumper in the lane and junior Lily Sarros made a layup to push the lead to 17 (52-35) with 4:47 to play. WashU extended the lead to as many as 21 points (60-39) on a pair of free throws by senior Amanda Martinez, before finishing with the 17-point win.

The Bears came out strong in the opening quarter, and a putback by Martinez made it 10-3 in favor of WashU with 4:40 to play in the first period. WashU limited UW-Whitewater to one field goal in the opening seven minutes of play. After a putback by the Warhawks made it 12-5, senior Katybeth Biewen and Martinez got back-to-back steals and layups to make it 16-5 and force a UW-Whitewater timeout. A three-pointer by freshman Rachael Sondag pushed the lead to 19-7 with 1:49 left in the first quarter, but Whitewater scored the final four points of the period to make it an eight-point game.

WashU used a 7-2 run in the opening 3:29 of the second quarter to take its largest lead of the half at 26-13 on a driving layup by freshman Claudia Smith. After missing its first six three-pointers of the game, UW-Whitewater hit a three to make it a 10-point game, but senior Jordan Thompson and freshman Steph Botkin made 3-of-4 free throws to regain a 13-point advantage with 3:53 left in the half. The Warhawks finished the half with a 10-2 run, including a second-chance three-pointer ahead of the halftime buzzer, to cut WashU's lead to 31-26 at the break. Both teams struggled offensively in the third quarter as WashU maintained a 39-34 lead at the end of the third.

WashU shot 46.7 percent (21-45) from the field in the game and was 17-of-25 at the free-throw line. UW-Whitewater finished with 25.9-percent (15-58) field-goal shooting, including 6-of-28 from three-point range, and was 9-of-12 at the foul line. The Bears finished with a 36-34 advantage on the boards, but UW-Whitewater had a 15-4 advantage in second-chance points. WashU finished with a 19-3 advantage in points off turnovers, including an 11-0 advantage in the second half.

Martinez finished with 12 points to lead a balanced scoring effort for WashU. Sarros just missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Thompson had eight points, four assists, four rebounds and two blocks, while Vernon also had eight points. Biewen accounted for six of WashU's 12 steals in the game, and also finished with four points and two assists.

Bear Notebook: It was the first-ever meeting between the two teams … This marks the 17th time in program history WashU has advanced to the Sectional Semifinal, and the third time in the last four years … WashU improved to 67-24 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and 24-6 in games played at the WU Field House … The Bears are 13-1 at home this season … Biewen's six steals brought her career total to 186, moving her past Kelly Manning (2002-06) for fifth on WashU's all-time leaderboard … Biewen also moved into ninth on WashU's all-time single-season steals list (69) … It was Martinez's 20th career double-digit scoring game … It was the 710th win for WashU head coach Nancy Fahey.