Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U. Women Reach Elite Eight in Division III

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Washington U. Women Reach Elite Eight in Division III

Article excerpt

The opportunity to play at home in the Sweet 16 might have been responsible for the burst of offensive energy displayed by the Washington University women in the first four minutes Friday night.

And it certainly didn't hurt to be shooting in the Field House, where the Bears practice every day.

That early surge and a comfortable shooting environment were the keys in a 68-56 win over Wisconsin-Oshkosh that moved Washington University into a national quarterfinal at 7 p.m. Saturday against Tufts.

The sixth-ranked Bears (26-2) never trailed as they continued to pursue the program's 11th trip to the Division III Final Four.

They were buoyed by the fast start and made eight of 14 3-pointers while the 13th-ranked Titans (26-4) hit only three of 22.

Madeline Homoly scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the second half to help balance a steady stream of layups the Washington University defense allowed. Despite getting constant openings under the basket, the Titans shot only 38.3 percent.

Although at home, the Bears shot only one free throw until the final minute before making eight in a row to seal the victory to improve to 15-0 at home.

"At this time of year when you move to an Elite Eight game, you have to be happy and move on," Bears coach Nancy Fahey said. "We talked during the game about things to get better."

Zoe Vernon led the attack from the perimeter, making four of six 3-pointers and scoring 14 points.

Homoly played last year at D-I South Dakota, where she was part of the women's National Invitation Tournament championship team. She took over in the second half with an array of short jumpers. After Oshkosh pulled within six points, she scored six consecutive points of her own and the Bears rebuilt their lead to 11 points.

The Titans pushed back and were again within six when Homoly scored the next six points for the Bears. The teams traded baskets for much of the final two quarters largely because Washington University couldn't stop Oshkosh's penetration while trying to protect the 3-point line. …

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