Men’s basketball earns postseason bid

The No. 2 men’s basketball team captured the University Athletic Association (UAA) title and gained an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament with a 71-63 win at Case Western Reserve University Feb. 15.

This marks the ninth conference title in school history for the Bears and 17th NCAA tournament appearance.

Junior Aaron Thompson led the Bears with 19 points and added a season-high six rebounds, a career-best five blocks and four steals. Senior Sean Wallis added 13 points and six assists, while junior Zach Kelly added 12 points and nine rebounds, and senior Tyler Nading had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

The Bears have won 12 straight, and 27 of their past 28 dating back to last season.

Coach Mark Edwards is just two wins shy of 500 for his career, improving to 498-234 (.680) in 28 seasons.

Just three games remain in the regular season for WUSTL (21-1, 11-0 UAA), all home games. The Bears host No. 21 Carnegie Mellon University Friday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m. and then take on the University of Rochester Sunday, Feb. 22, at 11:30 a.m. The season closes Feb. 28 against the University of Chicago.

Women’s basketball has grip on first place

The No. 13 women’s basketball team won its seventh straight game to move into sole possession of first place in the University Athletic Association (UAA) standings with a 70-40 win at Case Western Reserve University Feb. 15.

With three games remaining, the Bears have a one-game lead over the University of Rochester. WUSTL and Rochester will square off at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 22, at the WU Field House.

In the win at Case Western, the Bears held the Spartans to 17.4 percent shooting in the second half. Senior Halsey Ward scored 16 points, while freshman Dani Hoover added 10 points and a career-high four assists in a career-best 21 minutes of action.

The Bears shot a season-high 53.7 percent from the field in a 91-55 victory at Emory University Feb. 13. Junior Zoe Unruh led WUSTL with 17 points, while junior Janice Evans added 15 points. Sophomore Kathryn Berger picked up her second double-double of the season and third of her career with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds.

WUSTL (18-4, 10-1 UAA) begins a three-game home stand against Carnegie Mellon University on Friday, Feb. 20, at 6 p.m.

Women’s tennis picks up win

The No. 16 women’s tennis team opened its 2009 spring campaign with a 5-4 win at DePauw University Feb. 15.

It was a key regional victory, as the Bears entered the match ranked two spots behind DePauw in the central region.

Sophomores Jaclyn Bild and Elise Sambol, who were 8-6 victors at No. 3 doubles, also picked up wins in singles action.

The Bears will be back in action March 8 at Occidental College.

Men’s tennis falls in season opener

The top-ranked men’s tennis team dropped a 6-3 decision to Division II Drury University Feb. 14 in Springfield, Mo.

After jumping out to a 2-1 lead after doubles play, Drury won five of six singles matches in straight sets. Junior John Watts earned the lone win for WUSTL at No. 1 singles — his 72nd career victory.

WUSTL takes on No. 12 Trinity University Friday, Feb. 20, in the first round of the National Indoor Championships in St. Peter, Minn.

Swimming competes in UAA championships

The men’s swimming and diving team garnered a third-place finish, while the women came in sixth at the University Athletic Association (UAA) championships Feb. 11-14 in Chicago.

Freshman Karina Stridh was named UAA Women’s Rookie of the Year after winning the 50-yard and 100-yard freestyle titles. Stridh set NCAA Division III championship automatic qualifying times and WUSTL and UAA records in the finals of both races. She won the 50-free with a time of 23.38 and the 100-free in 50.94.

The WUSTL men swept the three freestyle relay races. Senior Kevin Leckey, junior Dan Arteaga, senior Kyle Ota and sophomore David Chao won the 200-free relay; freshman Chris Valach, junior Alex Beyer, Chao and Leckey made up the first-place 800-free relay team; and Leckey, freshman Jordan Branham, Arteaga and Chao closed the meet with a win in the 400-free relay.

The Bears have a final opportunity to have student-athletes qualifying for the NCAA championships this weekend, Feb. 20 and 21, at the Midwest Invitational in Chicago.

Indoor track at Monmouth Invitational

The women’s indoor track and field team was second, and the men finished third at the Monmouth College Fighting Scot Invitational Feb. 14 in Mon-mouth, Ill.

Senior Danielle Wadlington and freshman Katie Hered each met an NCAA Division III provisional qualifying standard at the meet. Wadlington was the runner-up in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.44, which was a new season-best mark and just 0.04 shy of the school record. Hered placed third in the pole vault, matching her season-best height of 3.45 meters.

The women’s and men’s teams each had a pair of first-place finishes at the meet. Senior Aubrey Edwards won the weight throw (14.93 meters), and freshman Erica Jackey came in first in the 3,000-meter run (10:39.48) on the women’s side.

For the men, sophomore Dave Spandorfer came in first in the 3,000 (8:42.25), and sophomore Ben Harmon won the long jump (6.71 meters).

Both teams return to action Feb. 21 at the Wartburg Invitational in Waverly, Iowa.