Ballard’s Career-High Propels WashU to Ninth Straight Win

Photo by Kevin Lanke
Photo by Kevin Lanke

Pittsburgh, Pa., Feb. 1, 2019 – The No. 25-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team posted its ninth straight win, emerging victorious over Carnegie Mellon University, 61-58, on the road during a tightly contested University Athletic Association (UAA) contest Friday evening.

WashU improved to 14-5 overall, including 8-0 during UAA play, while CMU dropped its fourth straight game with a 10-9 overall mark and is 1-7 in the UAA. The Bears capitalized on second chance points outscoring the Tartans 17-7 in the category while holding a 44-38 edge in rebounds.

Senior guard Caroline Ballard totaled a career-high 20 points while matching a personal-best five three-pointers. Senior forward Madeline Homoly was the lone other Bear to reach double figures in scoring 13 points.

Senior guard Becca Clark-Callender recorded eight assists, her sixth straight game with seven or more assists. In the process she broke a tie with Carolyn Royce (316: 1989-93) and bypassed Shanna-Lei Dacanay (317:2005-09) for all-time in career assists. Clark-Callender has amassed 324 in her career.

With less than two minutes left to play and the game tied at 58-58, CMU fouled senior guard Rachael Sondag on a three-point attempt. She converted two free-throws to push the Bears ahead. On the following possession CMU missed its first shot attempt but gathered the offensive rebound beforejunior center Kristina Schmelter denied the second shot. Homoly grabbed the defensive board before getting fouled.

Homoly converted the second free-throw attempt to increase the Bears lead to three points, 61-58. With WashU under the foul limit, Clark-Callender committed her second of the game giving the Tartans just one second left to inbound the ball and get a three-point attempt off. CMU was unable to manage a shot attempt after inbounding the ball as the Bears secured their 53rd straight win over the Tartans.

CMU scored the initial basket of the game but WashU retaliated with an 8-0 run, including four free-throws by Ballard and Schmelter. Both Schmelter and Ballard also hit shots to put the Bears up by seven points but CMU closed out the first quarter with a jumper to keep the game within five points, 15-10.

Clark-Callender inbounded a ball to freshman guard Hayley Semple under the basket for a quick two points with 5:10 to go in the second quarter. The basket gave WashU a 24-16 advantage which caused a Tartans timeout.

CMU responded by holding the Bears to just two points in the final five minutes while scoring a 12-2 run including a closing seconds three-pointer by Leah Weslock. The Tartans led 28-26 at the half while Ballard led WashU with eight points and Schmelter added six.

Homoly immediately tied the game in the third quarter with an opening possession basket. Moments after CMU retook the lead, Ballard nailed a three-pointer after Homoly ended up with a steal on the defensive end. WashU fought to take a six-point lead in the third after Ballard drained three free-throws after getting fouled during a shot from beyond the arc. However, the Tartans rallied back and the fourth quarter began with a neutral 40-40 score.

Ballard hit back-to-back treys in the fourth quarter to give WashU a four point cushion, but the teams traded leads over the course of the next several minutes. With a one-point advantage and less than two minutes to play, head coach Randi Henderson called a timeout. The Bears ran the shot clock down to single digits before Clark-Callender found Schmelter under the basket for a tightly contested layup.

The Tartans called a timeout after falling behind by three points and responded with an equalizing triple, 58-58 before free-throws by Sondag and Homoly secured the Bears 60th win over CMU in 63 games played.

Weslock and Laurel Pereira finished with 16 points apiece for the Tartans while Caitlyn Clendenin added 11 points.

Up next on WashU's road trip is a rematch with Case Western Reserve University Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET). Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.