No. 22 WashU Storms Past No. 8 George Fox to Sweet Sixteen

Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos
Photo by Danny Reise/WUSTL Photos
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St. Louis, Mo., March 2, 2019 – The No. 22 Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team shot 55.6-percent from the field as it secured an NCAA Division III Second Round victory over No. 8 George Fox, 86-78, in the WU Field House Saturday evening.

WashU improved its season record to 21-6 while George Fox season concluded with a 25-4 mark. The Bears hit 32-of-57 shots from the field while outscoring the Bruins 48-32 in the paint.

WashU advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the 19th time in program history. The Red & Green's third round opponent is No. 12 University of Mary Hardin Baylor (27-3) scheduled for Friday, March 8.

"George Fox on film and in real life are equally as scary," replied head coach Randi Henderson. "They're a really good team, well coached and really physical. We knew we were going to need to take care of the ball and to make sure we defended and boxed out to do well."

WashU limited its turnovers to 18 against the Bruins who averaged DIII's fifth most forced turnovers (26.7) per game. The Bears also secured a 40-29 advantage in rebounds.

"Our job was to control the runs," said senior guard Becca Clark-Callender. "You don't walk into the game expecting to have zero turnovers, that's just not realistic. Manage your emotions and getting back on defense that's what we talked about at halftime."

The Bears executed in the second half, limiting their turnovers to seven after 11 in the first half. Senior forward Madeline Homoly led the Bears with 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

"I owe a ton of credit to the guards because if they hadn't gotten through that press there would be no points for me to have," said Homoly. "I got a lot of kickouts from people driving and I think that's where I got a lot of my points."

The Bruins made the first basket of the game but WashU answered with five straight points including a three-pointer by Clark-Callender. The Bears scored six consecutive points on three straight possessions to take an 11-5 lead. WashU maintained a six point advantage with a 25-19 advantage after the first quarter. Homoly led the Bears with eight points and three offensive rebounds.

WashU pushed its lead to 12 points with six straight points to open the second quarter. Senior forward Stephanie Botkin converted a basket with 8:26 to go in the frame and the Bears led 31-19. George Fox cut into the Bears lead multiple times and eventually drew even with 3:53 left in the half, 40-40. WashU closed out the quarter with a 10-3 run and held a 50-43 edge including three jumpers by junior center Kristina Schmelter.

Homoly led the Bears with 14 first half points. Schmelter helped neutralize the Bruins 16 bench points with 11 herself as WashU held a 26-16 edge in points in the paint. WashU shot 55.9 percent from the field (19-34) and doubled George Fox's rebounding total with 22.

The Bruins cut the Bears lead to two points following a three-pointer with 2:29 to go in the third quarter but WashU senior guard Caroline Ballard and Schmelter converted baskets to end the quarter. WashU led 65-59 heading into the fourth quarter.

George Fox outscored WashU 14-9 with 3:44 left in the game and trailed by a single point before a media timeout. Homoly responded by sinking multiple contested layups to put the Bears up by five, 78-73.

A pair of clutch free-throws from Clark-Callender with less than a minute remaining helped keep the game out of reach for George Fox. The Bruins were unable to trim their deficit down to less than seven points in the final minute.

The Bears had three additional players reach double figures in scoring to Homoly's 23 points. Clark-Callender had the second highest figure with 16, while Schmelter added 13 off the bench and Botkin contributed 10. Homoly also led WashU with 11 rebounds with her second consecutive double-double. Clark-Callender (7) and Ballard (5) led the team in assists while senior guard Rachael Sondag (3) led the team in steals.

George Fox was led in scoring by Emily Holder with 19 points. Tavin Headings contributed 17 points off the bench and Hailey Hartney added 10.