No. 18 WashU Falls to Hot-Shooting No. 12 IWU

Photo courtesy of Kevin Lanke/RHIT Athletics
Photo courtesy of Kevin Lanke/RHIT Athletics

Terre Haute, Ind., Nov. 25, 2018 – The No. 18-ranked Washington University in St. Louis women's basketball team fell to No. 12 Illinois Wesleyan University, 81-63, in the Midwest Challenge Championship game Sunday evening in Terre Haute, Ind.

The Bears fell to 2-2 overall in the young season, while IWU moved to 4-2. WashU is now 16-6 all-time in Midwest Challenge Championships, including 4-2 in six consecutive trips to the title game.

The Red & Green improved their shooting from the first to second half but IWU continued to shoot well, making 52.5-percent (32-61) of its shots from the field. WashU outrebounded the Titans 37-31 but IWU forced 15 turnovers and scored a 21-4 edge in points off turnovers to key the victory.

Freshman Samantha Weaver led WashU with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from the free-throw line. Several Bears had multiple baskets on the night, including sophomore center Mary Bryggman who finished with a career-high eight points.

Senior guard Katie Claussner finished with a team-high six rebounds, also setting a career-high, while senior forward Madeline Homoly posted a season-high four assists.

Weaver helped keep the Bears within single digits in the first half hitting 4-of-5 shots but the Titans went on a 12-2 run to close out the second quarter with a 47-29 lead. Junior center Kristina Schmelter added six points on a pair of jumpers and free-throws.

IWU outscored WashU 16-2 in points off turnovers in the first half, causing nine Bear turnovers compared to just five itself. The Titans shot 52.8-percent (19-36) from the field, while holding the Bears to a 34.4-percent (11-32) success rate.

Senior guard Rachael Sondag hit a three which was followed by a jumper in the wing by Schmelter on the find by Homoly to help cut IWU's lead to 15 early in the third quarter, 49-34. However, the Titans lead hovered around 20 points the rest of the quarter as the Bears trailed 63-43 heading into the fourth.

Three-pointers by sophomore forward Grace Fortmann and Claussner cut the deficit under 20 during the fourth quarter which WashU outscored IWU 20-18, but Classuner's triple with 6:17 to go brought the score the closest it would get in the final frame, 68-51. Sophomore guard Nicole Clark's layup with 15 seconds remaining proved to be the last score of the game and kept the gap under 20, 81-63.

WashU will return home for its lone game of the week coming on Wednesday, Nov. 28 against Millikin University in the WU Field House at 7 p.m. Be sure to stay up to date on all your Bears scores and awards by following @WashUBears on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.