St. Louis, Mo., Feb. 23, 2019 – The No. 25 Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a 67-52 senior day win beating No. 22 University of Chicago in the WU Field House during University Athletic Association (UAA) play.
WashU improved to 19-6 overall, with a 13-1 UAA mark while dropping Chicago to 19-6 with a 10-4 conference record. The Bears drastically cut their turnovers down in the second half outscoring the Maroons 17-15 in points off turnovers. WashU also held a 22-9 advantage in points off the bench.
Senior Madeline Homoly recorded a game-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, while senior guard Rachael Sondag was the lone other Bear to reach double figures with 12 points. Senior guard Caroline Ballard totaled nine points and nine rebounds.
The senior class of 2019 including Ballard, senior forward Stephanie Botkin, senior guard Becca Clark-Callender, Claussner, Homoly and Sondag helped the Bears to their 24th UAA title last weekend. WashU finished the season with the top conference record at 13-1 and earned the UAA's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Chicago jumped out to an early lead with the first two baskets of the game but a layup from Homoly and three-pointer by Sondag quickly put the Bears ahead. Another triple by Sondag stretched WashU's lead to four points before a jumper by junior center Kristina Schmelter gave the Bears its largest lead of the first quarter, 14-8 with 2:36 remaining. Chicago closed out the quarter with a 6-2 run.
The Maroons once again scored the first series of baskets in the second quarter and moved ahead with a 21-16 lead before Ballard ended the run with a three-pointer. WashU retook the lead on multiple baskets by Hren. She converted both of her shots in the second quarter to help WashU hold onto the first half lead, 28-26.
The Bears outscored Chicago 11-5 in bench points while the Maroons held a 13-5 advantage in points off of turnovers. WashU made 12-of-25 shots (48%) while holding the Maroons to 33.3 percent of their shots from the field (10-30).
WashU went on a 6-0 run late in the third quarter to push its lead to double digits. Freshman forward Samantha Weaver started the run with a layup before Hren added one following a steal by Clark-Callender and finally a put-back basket by Ballard forced a Chicago timeout with the Bears leading 44-33. WashU held a 50-38 edge heading into the fourth quarter.
Both teams strong defensive efforts limited scoring opportunities in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. WashU outscored the Maroons 4-3 in that span. A three-pointer by Chicago's Taylor Lake trimmed the Bears lead to eight points with 4:25 to play, 54-46. WashU responded with a 13-6 run in the remaining time for the 67-52 victory.
The senior class has compiled an overall record of 87-23 in its four seasons, including a 45-11 mark in the UAA. The seniors have helped lead the Bears to the 2016, 2017 and 2019 UAA Championships, and four NCAA Tournament appearances.
The Bears will await the NCAA Selection Show on Monday, Feb. 25 at 1:30 p.m. (CT) to find out the location of its next game as WashU earned its 30th consecutive trip to the tournament. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.