Chicago off to best start since 2011

The women’s basketball team improved to 3–0 this weekend with two home wins in the Chicago Classic.

By Michael Hinkley

The Maroons kept rolling over the weekend with back-to-back home wins in the UChicago Classic tournament at the Ratner Center. Chicago dominated from start to finish in both contests, taking substantial leads into halftime and never giving them up. The Maroons improved to 3–0 for the season, their best start since 2011.

On Friday, the squad defeated the Milwaukee School of Engineering, dropping the Raiders to 0–1 for the year. The Maroons led by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, and eventually secured a 76–67 victory.

Continuing a season trend, underclassmen performed strongly for the Maroons on Friday. Second-year guard Elizabeth Nye racked up a team-leading 17 points, including a trio of three-point buckets. Additionally, first-year forward Olariche Obi was an impact player off the bench, recording 14 points and 15 rebounds to complete the double-double.

“It is a great feeling to contribute as a freshman,” Obi said. “I love my team and it is wonderful to know that I can make a difference.”

Third-year Stephanie Anderson also scored a double-double on Friday, tallying 15 points and 11 rebounds in an impressive 34 minutes of court time. In addition, fourth-year Caitlin Moore managed to score 10 points of her own.

After a quick turnaround, Chicago took on UW–Stevens Point on Saturday. The Pointers, who managed to upset No. 5 Wash U on Friday, couldn’t handle the persistent defense of the Maroons. In the end, the South Siders cruised to a 63–40 win, dropping their opponents to a record of 2–1.

Offensively, Chicago was led by Nye and third-year forward Britta Nordstrom, who accumulated 21 and 17 points, respectively. Obi was once again a factor off the bench, banking 10 points and shooting 4–5 from the free-throw line.

As a whole, the team was very efficient, posting a 51 percent field goal percentage for the afternoon. They also hit five key three-point jumpers, which swung the momentum in their favor.

Yet defense was the strongest phase for the Maroons on Saturday. The South Siders held their opponents to 51–13 shots from the field, which translates to a rate of just 26%. The squad also swiped 10 steals from the Pointers and forced 22 turnovers. This success was largely due to the pestering backcourt defense of guards Anderson, Nye, and second-year Madison Dunbar.

Reflecting on the pair of victories, Obi said, “It always feels great to win, and I think our pre-season preparation as well as the gains made in the last couple weeks had a lot to do with this weekend’s performance. It is important to start off the season with strong victories like this because ranking and placement hinges on our early season accomplishments.”

The Maroons will look to keep their string of victories going on Tuesday when they face off against UT Dallas at home. The Comets enter the contest with a similar undefeated record of 3–0. In order to keep their winning streak alive, the Maroons will need to continue playing stout defense against their opponents who have averaged 72 points per game to start the year.

Chicago will take on the Comets of UT Dallas on Tuesday, November 24 at 4 p.m. at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center. This will be a historic occasion, as this is the first ever meeting between these two squads.