Fast Start Leads Washington University Past UW-Oshkosh in Sectional Semifinal

Fast Start Leads Washington University Past UW-Oshkosh in Sectional Semifinal

From Washington University Athletics

Sophomore Madeline Homoly scored 16 of her game high 20 points in the first half to lead the No. 6-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team to a 68-56 win over No. 13 Wisconsin-Oshkosh Friday in the 2017 NCAA Division III Sectional Semifinal at the WU Field House in St. Louis.

WashU improved to 26-2 with its 14th-straight win, while UW-Oshkosh concluded its season with a 26-4 mark. The Bears, who advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 13th time in school history, takes on No. 4 Tufts Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Sectional Championship game. Tufts defeated No. 17 Scranton 65-48 in the first game Friday.

"What a battle. We anticipated it would be a battle. We played Oshkosh four years ago at their place. We knew we it was going to be a game that we needed a big defensive effort," said WashU head coach Nancy Fahey. "We talked about coming out with a punch defensively."

Homoly, who four points in just seven minutes after picking up two fouls in the first half, was 8-of-13 from the field and hit 4-of-5 from the foul line. She also had six rebounds, three assists and a steal.

WashU opened the game by scoring the first 10 points, as UW-Oshkosh missed its first six shots from the field. Senior Zoe Vernon and sophomore Claudia Smith had threes in the first three minutes of the contest. Oshkosh answered with a 10-0 run to tie the score at 12-12 with 3:18 left in the quarter. 

Vernon nailed her second three-pointer of the game as the Bears ended the quarter by scoring the final five points to take a 17-12 lead.

Oshkosh trimmed the lead to 21-18 after the Titans scored nine of their first 18 points of the game off a WashU turnover.

Vernon nailed another three as the Bears ended the second quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 32-20 lead at half. Sophomore Rachael Sondag and junior Natalie Orr also had three-pointers during the run. Vernon led all scorers with 11 points as WashU shot 50 percent (13-26) from the field in the first half.

Oshkosh scored six-straight to open the third quarter to trim the lead to 32-26, but Homoly scored the next three buckets and Vernon canned a three to make it 41-30. The Bears took a 49-43 lead after Oshkosh outscored the Bears 23-17 in the third quarter. The Titans hit 11-of-18 fields goals in the quarter.

WashU led by six (55-49) with less than five minutes to play before Orr canned her second three-pointer of the game and then senior Lily Sarros followed with a bucket to get the lead back to double figures (61-49).

"Like coach said, we knew this would be a battle," Sarros said. "Our key was to give them one shot and done. Rebounding is all heart. I just wanted to go after the ball." 

Vernon had 14 points on 4-of-6 three-point shooting, while Sarros added eight points, 11 rebounds (10 defensive) and was 4-of-5 from the field.

WashU shot 47.3 percent (26-55) from the field and hit 8-of-14 from three-point range. The Bears went 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 42.3 seconds left after only attempting one free-throw in the first 39 minutes. WashU outrebounded Oshkosh 39-30, and limited the Titans to six second-chance points.

"They are a good three-point shooting team and we challenged our kids today," said Fahey, who's team limited UW-Oshkosh to 3-of-22 three-point shooting.

Taylor Schmidt had 14 points and nine assists, while Madeline Staples added 11 off the bench. Oshkosh was 7-of-12 from the free-throw line and shot 38.3 percent (23-60) from the field in the loss.

BEAR NOTEBOOK: WashU leads the all-time series with Oshkosh 5-3 and the teams met for the sixth time in the NCAA Tournament … The Bears are 15-0 at home this season and remain unbeaten (19-0) on the Edwards-Fahey Court … WashU is 24-0 when its outrebounds its opponents … The Bears are 6-1 against ranked teams this season … WashU won its 799th game in school history … The Bears have won 14-straight games on Fridays dating back to last season.