The Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team will play its final home games of the 2019-20 season this weekend, hosting the University of Rochester at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 21 and Emory University at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 23 at Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, Sunday will mark 'Senior Day' for the Spartans, as the team will be recognizing its three graduating players prior to the opening tip-off.
vs. Rochester (Friday, February 21 · 6 PM)
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/wbkb/2019-20/boxscores/20200221_ly0w.xml
vs. Emory (Sunday, February 23 · 2 PM)
Live Stats: https://athletics.case.edu/sports/wbkb/2019-20/boxscores/20200223_apci.xml
Prior to the start of Sunday's game, the Spartans will be honoring senior guards Alicia Marie Gonzales and Kendall McConico and graduate student forward Melissa Heath, who each will be playing in the final home game of their collegiate careers. Gonzales and McConico have been key contributors for the team since their first years on the team, playing in 85 and 90 games, respectively, and leading the team to 42 wins over the past four years. 10 of those wins have come this season with Heath, a graduate transfer, who has played in all 22 games, including four as a starter.
Case Western Reserve will be aiming to put an end to a four-game losing streak, as the Spartans return to the friendly confines of Horsburgh Gymnasium, where the team is 7-0 this season (the Spartans two home losses occurred during Throwback Weekend at Adelbert Gymnasium). CWRU is 10-12 overall this season and 5-6 in University Athletic Association play, good for fifth place in the league. The Spartans lost both games of their road trip last weekend, falling 88-71 at Washington University and 83-41 at the 24th-ranked University of Chicago.
The Spartans are averaging 66.7 points per game this season, while shooting 39.2% from the floor and 28.7% from three-point range. Defensively, CWRU has yielded an average of 70.1 points per game to their opponents. The Spartans have been led by sophomore guard/ forward Abbey Lawrence, who has a team-high 16.9 points per game, to go along with 4.3 rebounds per contest. Melissa Heath is averaging 9.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, while first-year guard/ forward Isabella Mills has scored 9.5 points per game and added a team-high 7.2 rebounds per contest.
The Spartans are under the leadership of Head Coach Jennifer Reimer, who currently holds a 306-273 record over her 23 years as a head coach, with 149 of her victories coming during her 13 seasons at CWRU. Reimer is assisted by Kelly Muffley, and former Spartan standouts Erin Gdaniec and Kara Hageman.
Rochester has won three of its last four games to improve to 10-12 overall, while the team's 4-7 conference record places it sixth among UAA squads. Included in the Yellowjackets' overall record is a 2-5 mark in true road games and a 3-8 ledger in all games away from home, including neutral-site contests. The team is coming off a split of their home weekend last week, defeating Brandeis 85-71 on Friday and falling on Sunday to NYU, 73-47.
Rochester is averaging 68.3 points per game, while shooting 37.9% from the floor overall and 32.4% from behind the three-point line, while allowing 66.2 points per game. First-year guard Hannah Lindemuth is the team's leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points per game during the campaign. Sophomore forward Julianna Okoniewski has added 12.1 points per game and a team-high 6.3 rebounds per contest, while first-year guard Alexis Sestric is scoring 10.1 points per contest.
Jim Scheible holds a 529-253 record over his 29 seasons as a head coach, including a 388-182 ledger during his 21 seasons at Rochester. Scheible is assisted by Lindsey Burke, Kelsey Poplawski and Jamie Boeheim.
Earlier in the year, the Spartans suffered an 88-60 loss to the Yellowjackets in Rochester, despite a career-high 17 point effort from first-year guard McKenna Gross. CWRU will be looking to end a nine-game losing streak to the Yellowjackets, which dates back to the 2014-15 campaign. The Spartans are 15-40 all-time against Rochester, including losses of 72-64 on the road and 73-63 at home against Rochester last season.
Emory stands at 16-6 overall on the season, and will play at Carnegie Mellon on Friday night before visiting Cleveland to face the Spartans on Sunday. Including in the team's overall record are marks of 6-4 on the road and 7-4 in conference play, good for third-place in the league standings. The Eagles split a pair of home games last weekend, falling to NYU 54-50 on Friday, and besting Brandeis 58-57 on Sunday afternoon, and have lost four of their last six games after recording nine-game winning streak prior to their recent stretch.
The Eagles have scored 67.8 points per game this year, while limiting opposing teams to 55.8 points per contest, and has shot 41.7% overall from the floor, including a 31.8% tally from behind the three-point line. Four Emory players are averaging at least 10 points per game this season, including senior forward Erin Lindahl (11.7 ppg), senior guard Allison Chernow (11.4 ppg), junior center Blair Ripley (10.9 ppg) and sophomore forward Tori Huggins (10.4 ppg). Huggins also leads the team with 8.6 rebounds per game this year.
The Eagles are coached by Misha Jackson, a 2013 graduate of the school, who has gone 48-25 during her three seasons with the team. She is assisted by Sammi Goldsmith and Chuck Melito.
In their first meeting of the season, CWRU fell to Emory by a 74-50 score in Atlanta. Melissa Heath scored 12 points off the bench to lead all CWRU players in the game, while Abbey Lawrence added an 11-point, five-rebound performance. The Spartans are 28-25 all-time against Emory. Last year, Case Western Reserve won both matchups against Emory, claiming a 71-57 win in Atlanta on January 18, and a 63-58 victory in Cleveland on February 15.
- Case Western Reserve will begin the weekend with an eight-game winning streak at Horsburgh Gymnasium, dating back to the final game of the 2018-19 season.
- As a team, the Spartans are now shooting 73.4% from the free throw line this season, the third-best mark among conference teams and 43rd in all of Division III. CWRU has made 142-of-189 free throw attempts in conference play, good for the third-best percentage (75.1%) among UAA teams in league games.
- Alicia Marie Gonzales has dished out 243 assists over her career, good for the ninth most in program history. Gonzales is also eighth in program history with 84 career starts.
- Kendall McConico currently ranks 10th in program history in career free throws made (219), 15th in field goal percentage (.440) and 15th in games started (67).
- Melissa Heath leads all UAA players this season with a 56.4% field goal percentage, including a 56.5% mark in league games, and is on pace for the highest single-season field goal percentage in program history (Erin Rogalski set the current record with a mark of 53.9% in 2000-01). She is currently third among UAA players with 1.64 blocks per game, which also ranks as the 100th-best mark among Division III players this season, and her 36 blocks this year are tied for the 11th-most in a single season in team history.
- Abbey Lawrence is averaging 16.9 points per game this season, the second-best mark among UAA players this year, and 81st among all Division III players. She is on pace to score 422 points this season, which would be the sixth-highest single-season total ever by a Spartan player.
- Lawrence saw a stretch of 30-consecutive made free throws, dating back to the Spartans' game against Chatham on January 2, come to an end during Friday's loss to Washington. Lawrence is 19th among Division III players and third in the UAA with an 87.0% mark from the free throw line this season, which is on pace for the seventh-best mark in the program's history.
- Isabella Mills has connected on 35 three pointers this year, and is just 11 shy of the program record for three-pointers in a season by a first year player. Former Spartans Hillary Hellmann holds the current first-year record, hitting 46 three pointers during the 2015-16 season.