Two away losses drop women out of first
After earning nine straight wins and sole possession of first place in the UAA, the Maroons couldn't help but be disappointed by the weekend's two losses, even if they both came against top-10 teams.
On the road for the second time in as many weeks, Chicago dropped decisions at 10th-ranked NYU, 91-68, and 7th-ranked Brandeis, 84-76. Second-year guard Korry Schwanz's 16 points and third-year forward Susie Gutowski's 18 points and 6.5 rebounds per game weren't enough to salvage two efforts that were closer than the final scores indicated.
The Maroons (12-6, 5-2) came into both games needing to overcome height disadvantages on the road, and they succeeded to varying degrees. "We definitely were undersized in both games," head coach Aaron Roussell said. "Friday night we didn't play hard enough to overcome this, but Sunday we played our tails off and even convincingly out-rebounded one of the better rebounding teams."
Chicago started out tough against NYU (16-2, 6-1), building a 24-16 lead nine minutes in. Third-year guard Janae Winner hit two three-pointers and free throws for eight points in that span, and Gutowski scored nine by dominating the post.
"Susie Gutowski continues to be one of the toughest players in the league to defend," said Roussell of his inside weapon, who shot 67.5 percent from the field. "She is the most skilled post player in the league without question."
NYU followed with a 9-1 run, and kept it close until a buzzer-beating jumper by Violets forward Rachel Wojdowski built a 42-41 lead.
Looking to build off that momentum, NYU immediately went on a 11-0 run to open the second half, putting the game away for good. Following the game, Violets head coach Janice Quinn, whose father recently passed away, told the New York Times that it was the best NYU performance she has seen.
Chicago again came out strong in its Sunday game against Brandeis (15-2, 5-2), this time trading leads nine times in the first half. Third-year guard Rose Kulczycki hit successive three-point shots halfway through the period, putting her team up two.
Brandeis immediately fought back, using its size to score 10 straight points in the paint. Despite Chicago's 55.6 percent first-half shooting, the Judges made 9 of 10 free throws to spur their 41-35 lead going to the break.
Chicago kept battling, getting within four points, 80-76 with 27 seconds left. After the Judges missed two free throws, the Maroons rebounded and moved up the floor, before first-year forward Nicaya Rapier's pass was stolen to effectively end the game.
Despite not being able to stop first-year forward Jamie Capra (25 points, 7 rebounds), Chicago kept the game close with a surprising 43-32 rebound advantage.
"It was huge for us to out-rebound Brandeis. I could not be prouder of that stat," Roussell said. "It was disappointing to have that great of an effort on Sunday and not come out with a win, but if we can build off of our toughness we will put ourselves in good positions the remainder of the season."
Women's basketball may have let two tough games slip away, but they remain encouraged with rematches against both NYU and Brandeis this upcoming weekend at Ratner.
"It is also nice, as I told the team, to be so disappointing in losing on the road to two top-10 teams," Roussell said. "I have no doubt that this team will come back and compete."
See Friday's Maroon for a full preview.
Road woes continue for men's basketball
Chicago continued their road struggles last weekend, with the Maroons dropping UAA contests Friday at NYU, 60-51, and again Sunday at Brandeis, 88-75.
The defeats extended the team's losing streak to four, erasing a previous 4-0 stretch between December 18 and January 16. The team's record within the conference fell to 3-4, with a disappointing 7-11 mark overall.
Chicago entered Friday night's showdown against NYU (12-6, 2-5) hoping to rebound from back-to-back losses to Carnegie and Rochester and stay in UAA contention.
The Maroons were unable to muster enough scoring to get by the Violets, despite an impressive effort at the defensive end. While the team held the NYU to 41 percent shooting from the floor, 33 percent in the first half, fourth-year guard Justin Waldie (10 points, 6 rebounds) was the only Maroon to score in double figures.
Chicago was atrocious from beyond the arc, shooting a season-worst 15 percent. They also set a season mark for scoring futility, with only 16 first-half points.
"We were flat emotionally, but played hard," head coach Mike McGrath said. "We are looking forward to another shot at them."
It was a very different story against Brandeis (11-6, 4-3) Sunday. The Maroons exploded for a 46.9 percent mark from the field. Third-year forward Clay Carmody led Chicago with 17 points on 8-for-9 shooting in 18 minutes of play off the bench.
"Clay played very well, especially on Sunday," said McGrath of Carmody, who also had nine points and six rebounds against NYU. "It was more than offense, however. Clay played very hard defensively. It is what we expect to become more common for him in terms of stat lines."
The defense, on the other hand, faltered against the Judges, allowing 31 baskets on 53 shots, including a 71 percent second-half rate. It was Brandeis's first win against the Maroons since the 1994-95 season, snapping an 18 game-losing streak.
"Brandeis was the first team that we have played well offensively and lost," McGrath said. "I thought that they were a tough match-up for us, but we should have defended better."
The Maroons, who have just two wins in eight away matches this year, look forward to hosting rematches against Brandeis Friday at 8 p.m. and continuing the homestand with a Sunday matinee against NYU at 1 p.m.
Check Friday's Maroon for a full preview.