Courtesy of Washington University in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- The No. 5 Washington University in St. Louis women’s basketball team held Webster University without a field goal for the final nine minutes of the second half en route to a 55-43 victory at Grant Gymnasium.

Sophomore Annie Sayers scored a career-high 16 points and tied her career high with eight rebounds to lead Washington University in the win. Senior Kathryn Berger also scored in double figures for the Bears with 11 points and seven rebounds.

Washington U. forced 13 Webster turnovers in the second half and held the Gorloks to just five field goals and one 3-pointer during final 20 minutes of play.

Saturday afternoon’s game was the final contest of the first semester for Washington U. (8-1) and served as the Bears’ final warm-up before a rematch of the 2010 NCAA Division III championship game with second-ranked Hope College on Wednesday, Dec. 29, at the Ohio Wesleyan University Bishop Classic in Delaware, Ohio. Washington U. defeated Hope College, 65-59, on March 21, in Bloomington, Ill., to capture its NCAA Division III record fifth national championship. Hope is also off to a strong start so far this season, boasting a perfect 9-0 record.

The Bears got off to a slow start offensively against Webster, and fell behind 11-6 when Katy Meyer drained a 3-pointer at the 11:46 mark of the opening period. Meyer’s triple was one of five first-half long-range baskets for the Gorloks, who shot 62.5 percent (5-of-8) from 3-point range in the opening frame, but just 1-of-6 in the second.

Sayers pulled Washington University back into the game with aggressive play underneath the basket, scoring five consecutive points to knot the game at 11-11. Two more Webster 3s, this time from Airyn Miller and Meyer, allowed the Gorloks to stay head for the time. But Sayers continued to pour in the points in the paint, scoring six more to knot the game at 17-17 before the Bears pulled ahead 20-17 on a Lucy Montgomery 3.

Washington University finished the period on an 8-0 run over the final 90 seconds to take a 34-28 lead into the half. Junior Dani Hoover stole an inbounds pass following a pair of Sayers free throws and layed it in to break a 28-28 tie, and sophomore Kristin Anda scored twice in the final minute. Washington U. shot just 31.6 percent from the field in the first half, but the Bears grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and held a 26-18 edge in rebounding.

Junior point guard Bethany Morrison scored a pair of quick baskets including a 3-pointer to help the Bears quickly build a 39-30 lead fewer than three minutes into the second half, but from that point the Red and Green went cold from the field, going the next 6:40 without a field goal. A Sayers layup with just over 10 minutes to play broke the Bears’ field goal drought and sparked what turned into a 15-6 scoring run to end the game. Webster’s Molly Zehner converted a three-point play to pull the Gorloks within two, 42-40, but her jumper was Webster’s last field goal of the game as the Gorloks mustered just three free throws over the final 9:07.