No. 12 Wash. U. stuns No. 4 Hope
Holland, Mich. – No. 12 Washington University in St. Louis survived and advanced to the sectionals with an incredible 56-52 upset of No. 4 Hope College in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament on Saturday night at the DeVos Fieldhouse in Holland, Mich.
Senior Alex Hoover scored 16 points and her sister junior Dani Hoover added 15, all of which came in the second half, to lead the Bears to an impressive second-round victory and their second consecutive victory against a top-10 team. Dani Hoover was especially clutch down the stretch, scoring eight of her 15 points over the final 2:30 of the game.
Although Saturday night’s game was a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Division III national championship game, which Washington University won 65-59 last March in Bloomington, Ill., Hope was on its home court in this game. The Flying Dutch had won 76 consecutive games and were 95-1 all-time at DeVos prior to Saturday night’s loss.
Washington University advances to the sectional semifinals for the third consecutive season and the 14th time in school history. The Bears also increased their NCAA Division III postseason record win total 57 and are now 57-18 all-time in postseason play.
The 2010 national championship rematch lived up to its billing as a physical game between two strong defensive teams. Washington University took a 27-26 lead into the half thanks to a large advantage on the glass and a huge offensive first half for Alex Hoover.
Alex Hoover singlehandedly kept Washington University in the game early on, scoring the Bears’ first 11 points. Washington U. struggled to find its footing offensively out of the gate, missing five of its first six shots and turning the ball over three times before Alex Hoover drilled the first of her three opening-half 3-pointers.
The Bears utilized a 6-0 run 1:42 late in the first to break a 19-19 tie and grab a 25-19 lead. Junior Claire Schaeperkoetter stroked a 3 from the corner to put Washington University ahead by four, 23-19, and freshman Jordan Rettig pulled in a rebound off a Bethany Morrison missed 3-pointer to lay it up and in to stretch the margin to six.
Hope responded with a 7-2 run over the final 2:20 of the half to cut the Bears lead to just one point. Alex Hoover was outstanding through 20 minutes, shooting 5-of-7 from the field and a perfect 3-of-3 from long distance. Senior Carrie Snikkers led Hope with nine points, but the Dutch shot just 30.0 percent (9-of-30) from the field, with five of those field-goals coming from downtown.
Entering the game, Hope was the only team to outrebound Washington University so far this season, holding a 50-36 edge on the glass when the two teams met on Dec. 29. However, Washington University crashed the boards relentlessly in the first half, outrebounding the Flying Dutch 28-16 with seven offensive rebounds.
The second half played as closely as the first through the first 10 minutes of action until Dani Hoover scored seven points over a span of just 55 seconds to give the Bears a 41-37 lead. She hit two consecutive 3s and was fouled as she drained the second, hitting the ensuing free-throw to complete a rare four-point play. Senior Monika Monsondrained a 10-foot baseline jump to stretch the WUSTL margin to six, 43-37.
Hope pulled within two points, 48-46, but Dani Hoover struck again, hitting an eight-foot floater in the lane with 2:28 to play to put her team back up by four. After the Bears got a defensive stop they fed Dani Hoover once again, and she hit a 3-pointer from the corner with under 2 minutes remaining to give Washington University its largest lead of the game, 53-46.
Hope was limited to just 28.1 percent shooting, including a 9-of-34 (26.5 percent) clip in the second half. Snikkers scored a game-high 23 points to go along with nine rebounds but she was the only player to score in double figures for the Flying Dutch. Washington U. shot 37.5 percent for the game and the Bears were 11-of-26 in the second half and 4-of-8 from long distance.
Sophomore Kristin Anda scored eight points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with nine rebounds. Berger scored six points with 10 rebounds, which places her in a tie with Washington University Sports Hall of Famer Tasha Rodgers for seventh place in school history with 682 career rebounds.
Washington University’s road will not get any easier next week, as the Bears will face No. 1 Thomas More College next Friday night in the sectionals.