Kevin Stiner, Assistant Sports Information Director
ST. LOUIS – The Washington University in St. Louis women’s basketball team overcame a second half deficit of 11 points to defeat Case Western Reserve University. 82-79, in Sunday afternoon’s University Athletic Association (UAA) action in the WU Field House and extend its season-long win streak to eight games.
WashU improved to 13-5 overall, including a 7-0 UAA record halfway through conference play. CWRU dropped its second straight contest, falling to 12-6 overall with a 4-3 UAA record. The game proved to be a tale of two halves as the Spartans shot 50 percent from the field in the first half before the Bears defense held CWRU to 35.9 percent in the second half; and likewise WashU opened the first half hitting 38.9 percent of its shots before closing out the game shooting 52 percent in the second half.
Senior guard Rachael Sondag converted a season-high six three-pointers for a team-high 18 points. Her fourth three-pointer pushed her ahead of Kelly Manning (2002-06) for the Bears all-time three-pointers field goals made. Sondag has 195 career three-pointers to her credit.
Senior guard Caroline Ballard recorded her first career double-double scoring 10 points and securing a game- and career-high 11 rebounds as the Bears outrebounded CWRU 45-36. In total, five Bears reached double figures in scoring including senior forward Madeline Homoly (15), junior center Kristina Schmelter (15) and senior guard Becca Clark-Callender (14).
Clark-Callender dished out seven assists and moved into a tie for sixth all-time in career assists on her 316th with Carolyn Royce (1989-93). Ballard also recorded a career-high six assists, aiding WashU’s 20-17 advantage in assists.
Sondag hit a momentum changing three-pointer in the final seconds of the third quarter. The triple helped the Bears outscore CWRU 19-18 in the quarter and WashU utilized the momentum in the fourth.
The Red & Green started the fourth quarter with an 8-0 run behind a jumper by Schmelter and back-to-back threes by senior forward Stephanie Botkin and Ballard. With the run, WashU took a 64-62 lead on a corner trey by Ballard assisted by Clark-Callender.
The Spartans evened the score at 64-all before Clark-Callender found Sondag for another trey in the corner. Clark-Callender extended the Bears to a two possession lead when she sank a pair of free-throws with 69-64. Sondag and Ballard hit multiple shots from beyond the arc to keep the Bears ahead by more than four points. The Spartans only closed the gap on a last second layup for the final score in favor of the Bears, 82-79.
In the first quarter, the Bears started 6-of-7 from the field but only held a one point advantage following a jumper by Homoly. WashU was up 14-13 but hit a cold spell the final six minutes of the quarter.
CWRU came out firing in the first quarter and led 24-18 after 10 minutes of play. The Spartans forced five turnovers from the Bears while shooting 50 percent from the field (8-16). Homoly led the Bears with six points on 3-of-3 shooting from the field.
Ballard led the Bears to back-to-back successful possessions, helping WashU to keep the score within seven points at the break. Ballard stepped in front of a Spartan pass and raced down the court before feeding freshman Isabelle Hren for a fast break layup. She followed with a closing second jumper in the lane, as the Bears trailed 44-37 at the half.
Sondag ignited the offense in the third quarter and helped the Bears within six points after WashU trailed by 11 points. She hit a pair of three-pointers which tied her for the all-time record and then found Homoly in the paint for a lay-in, 51-45, after Clark-Callender stole the ball on the other end. Sondag clinched the record with her 193rd career triple to close out the third quarter, WashU down by six, 62-56.
Hillary Hellman led the Spartans with 21 points as Kendall McConico (20), Emma Cain (15) and Kara Hageman (11) also scored in double figures.
WashU travels to Carnegie Mellon University on Friday, Feb. 1 for a 6 p.m. (ET) tip off. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.