CLEVELAND –- It took 39 meetings and 25 years, but they finally did it. On Sunday, Case Western Reserve shocked No. 7 nationally-ranked Washington (Mo.) by a score of 72-68 to close out Throwback Weekend at Horsburgh Gymnasium.
Dating back to the first meeting between the two schools during the 1987-88 season, the Spartans had dropped all 38 contests with the Bears.
With the victory, the Spartans improve to 12-6 overall and 4-3 in the University Athletic Association. The loss drops the Bears to 15-3 and 5-2 in the UAA.
Senior guard Evy Iacono led the attack for the Spartans with 23 points, five assists and three steals. She scored the go ahead bucket with 56 seconds remaining to put Case ahead for good. With her 23 markers, Iacono moved into third place on the program’s all-time scoring list with 1,232 points for her career.
Three other Spartans scored in double figures. Senior forward Marissa Miles finished with 11 points, while senior center Emily Mueller and senior point guard Erica Iafelice each chipped in with 10, respectively.
Additionally, Iafelice recorded five assists and moved into a tie for third in the program’s record book with 347 career helpers.
In the first half, the Bears held the Spartans scoreless for the opening 2:12 and built an 8-0 lead when Alyssa Johanson hit a jumper at the 17:57 mark. The Spartans then came back with a 17-2 run of their own and moved ahead by seven when Mueller drained a 3-pointer with 12:59 left in the period. Miles keyed the run with seven-consecutive points that gave Case its first lead.
Just a minute later, the Spartan lead reached a high of nine when sophomore guard Brooke Orcutt grabbed an offensive board and hit a layup to make the score 21-12 at 11:58. Then with the score at 25-18 at 9:44, Washington U. responded with a 7-0 run which tied the score as Kristin Anda made a layup at 8:46.
Undaunted, Case came right back with a 12-4 run and led 37-29 following an Iacono 3-pointer with 5:10 left before halftime. By the break however, the Bears trimmed the deficit to 41-38.
During the second half, the two teams traded baskets and foul shots as the score was tied 43-43 with 17:03 remaining. Johanson then hit two free throws and a jumper to give Washington a 49-45 lead with 14:17 left. Iacono followed with a 3-pointer which moved her into third on the scoring list and cut the deficit to one with 13:33 left.
After more back-and-forth play, Washington U. increased its lead to six with 9:03 remaining thanks to a pair of free throws by Kaybeth Biewen. A few minutes later, Mueller hit another 3-pointer to bring the game to 61-59, and Iacono followed with a fast-break layup to tie the score at 61-61 with 6:09 remaining.
Three more lead changes and a pair of ties followed. Then with the score tied at 65-65, Iacono converted the go-ahead lay-up in the final minute and Case converted 5-of-6 charity tosses down the stretch.
Washington U. was led by Melissa Gilkey with 21 points and six rebounds, while Maddy Scheppers finished with 14 markers and a game-high eight boards.