ST. LOUIS -- Junior forward Melissa Gilkey recorded career highs of 33 points and 14 rebounds to lead second-ranked Washington (Mo.) as the Bears earned a 70-60 win against New York University on Sunday afternoon to hand the Violets their first loss of the season.
Washington improved to 13-1 overall and 3-0 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) with the win, while NYU dropped to 13-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference.
Gilkey’s 33 points brought her career total to 950, while her 14 rebounds equaled her career high and gave her the 14th double-double of her career. She also added a season-high three blocked shots, which brought her career total to 82, four shy of seventh on Washington’s all-time leaderboard.
Washington struggled offensively to start the game as NYU jumped out to a 9-2 lead with 15:26 left in the first half. Junior guard Alyssa Johanson hit a pullup jumper with 15:10 left to end the scoring drought for the Bears and spark a 13-3 run. Johanson converted a three-point play with 10:03 left in the half to give the Bears a 15-12 lead. The Violets answered with a pair of baskets to regain the lead 16-15, but Gilkey made two free throws to force a timeout by NYU with 8:02 left. Gilkey’s free throws started a 14-2 run by Washington during the next 4:07 to give the Bears a 29-18 lead with 3:55 to play in the half. The Violets pulled to within eight with a 3-pointer on their next possession, but senior guard Lucy Montgomery drove for a layup to beat the halftime buzzer and give Washington a 38-24 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, the Bears continued to build on their lead and a 3-pointer by Gilkey gave Washington its largest lead of the game (50-33) with 14:37 to play. The Violets answered with a 12-4 run to cut the lead to single digits, before Johanson made a pullup jumper and sophomore guard Jordan Thompson hit a pair of free throws to give the Bears a 13-point lead with 7:52 remaining. NYU cut the lead to 62-50 with 5:30 left, but junior guard Maddy Scheppers made a layup and Gilkey converted a three-point play with three seconds on the shot clock to extend the lead to 17 with 4:35 on the clock. A free throw by senior forward Kristin Anda made it 70-58 with 1:01 to play, and NYU scored on a layup to make the final score 70-60.
Washington U. shot 39.7 percent (25-for-63) from the field in the game, including 45.8 percent (11-for-24) in the second half. The Bears were 18 of 29 (62.1 percent) from the free-throw line. NYU finished with 40.4 percent (21-for-52) shooting from the field, and was 14 of 27 (51.9 percent) at the free-throw line. Both teams finished with 42 rebounds. The Bears’ defense came up big, forcing 13 turnovers and turning them into a 19-5 advantage in points off turnovers.
In addition to Gilkey’s monster day, Johanson added 11 points off the bench, scoring in double figures for the sixth time in the last seven games. Thompson finished with nine points and a team-high four assists, while Anda had seven points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Scheppers had four points, four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot, and also held NYU’s Riley Wurtz scoreless in the second half.