Westminster women's basketball notched the program's first win over perennial Division III power Washington University after Kendahl Adams hit a three-pointer with 6.7 seconds left to secure the 70-68 Blue Jay win. This marks the first win by a St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team over Washington-St. Louis since the 2005-06 season when Maryville University was still a member of the SLIAC.
Westminster wins its seventh straight game to improve to 7-1 on the season.
"I am so proud of our ladies tonight," said Westminster Head Coach James Arnold. "We showed so much toughness and fight and ultimately it helped us pick up a big win."
After facing the Bears in the regular season and falling in 2015 and 2016, the win is the first for the Blue Jays against WashU, who started the season ranked No. 18 in the country. This past week, the Bears fell out of the national poll for the first time this season.
The Bears got off to a quick start with a 7-0 run, but Adams hit a jump shot and a three-pointer to get the Blue Jays started offensively.
"Kendahl obviously got on a crazy roll and put us on her back offensively," said Arnold.
The Blue Jays allowed the Bears a 10-point lead with three minutes to play in the first quarter, but that would be the only double-digit lead they would allow the rest of the game.
Kallee Dowler and Makayla Jackson hit back-to-back three-pointers followed by a free-throw from Adams to give Westminster a 7-0 and put them back within three points. The Bears scored four more points to end the quarter 23-16.
The Blue Jays went on another 7-0 run in the second quarter to tie the game at 25 points apiece after Dowler stopped in transition to hit a three-pointer and force the Bears to call a timeout.
"Dowler has been under the weather but she showed us again how special she can be on the offensive end," said Arnold.
Mirrakohl Johnson made a layup out of the timeout to mark the first Westminster lead of the game, but the Bears recovered with a 7-0 run to take back the lead. The Blue Jays went into the half with just a six-point deficit at 39-33.
"We made some adjustments to help with the size difference inside and MJ continues to do what she does," said Arnold. "She is so tough."
Westminster struggled to come back within six points of the lead in the opening minutes of the second half, but eventually found themselves trailing by just three points with 2:23 to play in the third quarter after two made free-throws from Abbie Reece. Johnson made a layup in the next possession to come within one point of the lead at 51-50, but the Bears once again made two shots to close the quarter and maintained a 56-50 lead.
Adams scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter for the Blue Jays in the first five minutes to pull within two points. The Bears continued to make shots to hold their lead, pulling back into a comfortable five-point lead with three minutes to play, but Jackson hit another three-pointer to make the score 66-64 with just under two minutes to play.
The next possession, after allowing another layup for WashU, Westminster was down to its last second in the shot clock when Rei Imamura hit a three-pointer in a desperation attempt, pulling Westminster within one point of the lead at the 1:05 mark.
Westminster was able to get an important stop in the next possession to allow themselves a chance at the win. After Adams missed a jump shot, Imamura came up with a clutch offensive rebound to keep the possession for the Blue Jays, passing it back out to Adams who knocked down the three-pointer to give Westminster the 70-68 lead with 6.7 seconds left on the clock. Adams grabbed the defensive rebound on the other end of the floor to secure the win for Westminster.
Adams led all scorers with 29 points and eight rebounds. Dowler followed her with 18 points on 4-9 from behind the arc, while Johnson was dominant in the paint with 16 rebounds and nine points.
"We have a little bit of time to enjoy this win as we get on the road tomorrow for a huge conference road game at Eureka," said Arnold.
The Blue Jays return to conference play Saturday with a road matchup against Eureka. The game is set for 1 p.m. and is slated as the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference game of the week.
STORY COURTESY OF WESTMINSTER COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION