The Chicago women’s basketball team opened the season strong with their eighth consecutive opening night victory, defeating North Central College 79-54.
It took some time for the Maroons to get warmed up in their debut, and North Central kept it close until midway through the first half. With 11 minutes left in the half, second-year Jenna Lillemoe hit a jump shot to start a 24-point streak for the Maroons. Chicago finished the half leading North Central 48–26. In the second half, Chicago remained dominant, leading by at least 20 points throughout the rest of the game.
The Maroons saw strong performances both offensively and defensively. They shot 50 percent from the field versus 26 percent for the Cardinals and they outrebounded their opponents by a 53–36 margin. 3rd year Taylor Simpson was a leader in both regards, notching her third career double-double, with a career-high 18 points for the game. Third-year Bryanne Halfhill also finished the game with 18 points, sharing game-high scoring honors with Simpson. The team also saw a strong offensive performance from First-year Corey Mulder, who came off the bench to score 11 points in 16 minutes, while third-year Meghan Herrick came out strong for the defense with 10 rebounds in the game.
The Maroons will hope to carry this momentum with them on the road as they play their next four games away, starting with the Lakeland tournament this weekend. They will start the tournament against Loras in opening-round play Friday and continue on to face either Augustana or Lakeland. In all-time series play, the Maroons lead Loras 4–2, trail Augustana 3–2, and are tied with Lakeland 1–1. Still, the Maroons are in a solid position heading into the weekend as all three of these teams dropped their season openers earlier this week.
Coming off last season’s strong performance, Chicago is expected to have another strong season. They’ve been picked to finish third in the UAA according to the league’s preseason poll.