Women’s basketball improves to 15-9 overall, 6-7 in UAA


Courtesy of CWRU Athletics

Third-year Isabella Mills defends against second-year guard Izzy Munson in CWRU’s Feb. 12 match against Emory University.

Paola Van der Linden Costello, Staff Writer

The Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team won against the No. 22 University of Washington in St. Louis on Feb. 17 and lost against the University of Chicago on Feb. 19, giving them an overall record of 15-9 and 6-7 in conference play. 

The Spartans notched their first ever win against WashU in an away game as well as their second win against a team in the top 25, the first being against the No. 24 University of Rochester the week prior. Fourth-year guard/forward Isabella Mills led all players with 27 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds. This was Mills’ second double-double against WashU, the fourth overall this season and the 11th of her career. Third-year guard Sarah Mitchell had four points, but added 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Her defensive play was key for the team’s success this weekend and throughout the season. 

First-year guard/forward Emily Plachata converted two free-throws to kick off scoring as the Spartans took their first lead of the night at 2-0. Third-year forward Kayla Characklis’ layup gave the Spartans a 4-0 lead with 7:40 remaining in the quarter. WashU quickly tied the game, but the Spartans kept up the energy and reestablished the 4-point lead with 5:57 left in the quarter. The Bears fought back and took their first lead of the night with an and-one conversion. Mills responded with her first two points of the night with 18 seconds left in the first quarter to pull the Spartans within two points. While the Bears found success in stopping Mills, this strategy started to fail in the following quarters. 

With 6:24 left in the second quarter, third-year guard Margaret Terry converted a 3-pointer, cutting the deficit to 20-19. CWRU and WashU remained neck-and-neck, jostling over the lead. The Spartans were up by three with 1:16 left but the Bears went on a 4-0 run to steal the 31-30 lead by halftime. 

The third quarter started out slow, with neither team making any points in the first five minutes. Though CWRU tied the game 31-31 following a successful free throw, WashU hit a quick jumper to regain the lead. Plachata and Mills didn’t back down and hit back-to-back 3-pointers for the 4-point Spartan lead. CWRU completed a 10-0 run and held an 11-point lead by the end of the third quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, the Bears cut the 11-point difference into a 4-point one with 5:17 left in the game. Two more 3-pointers soon gave the Spartans an 8-point advantage that would give them enough breathing room for the rest of the game to come home with the win. With six seconds left, Mills hit two free throws to seal the 61-57 Spartan victory.

The Spartans made eight of 21 shots from the 3-point line compared to WashU’s one of 11, the biggest advantage in this game. They also had 37 total rebounds and 10 offensive rebounds compared to 35 and 8 from the Bears. 

On Sunday afternoon, Mills led the team again, this time with 23 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to help the Spartans secure a win against UChicago. Mitchell scored 10 points and had 5 defensive rebounds and two steals. Characklis also contributed 13 points. The team only shot five of 23 from beyond the arc compared to UChicago’s seven of 21 and had a 33.9% overall shooting accuracy compared to Chicago’s 41.5%. They also had a total of 32 rebounds compared to 49 by the Maroons. 

Mitchell hit a layup to open the game, but the Maroons quickly answered with a 3-pointer. The Spartans tied it with 5:32 left in the first after Mitchell made a layup followed by a free throw. The Maroons strung together a 10-3 run which left the Spartans down 19-12 at the end of the quarter. 

The Spartans attempted to close the gap in the second quarter, with Characklis scoring a layup to come within four points with 3:36 left. However, the Maroons maintained intense defensive pressure and the Spartans trailed by six points at the half. 

The Maroons went on a 12-0 run to begin the second half to take the 50-32 lead with 5:30 left in the third. The third quarter ended with the Spartans down by 14. Mills’ jumper and free-throw at the top of the fourth trimmed the gap to 11, but a combination of missed shots from the Spartans and good offensive play from the Maroons kept them out of reach as they took a 20-point lead with 4:49 left. The Spartans went on an 8-0 run with 2:41 left, but it was too little too late as the Spartans lost 76-64.

CWRU will play their final game of the regular season on Feb. 25 against Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.