Youth was the story last season for the Maroons, who featured four first-years to complement the scoring of current fourth-year guard Nofi Mojidi and the leadership of guard Korry Schwanz (A.B. ’07).
The Maroons exploded onto the season, starting with a 16–0 record including five conference wins. The second half, however, proved troublesome for Chicago, as the South Siders dropped seven of their final nine games to finish 18–7.
An overtime loss to the perennially tough Wash U in the final game of the season kept Chicago out of the postseason.
Head coach Aaron Roussell’s team heads into the season with an abundance of talent and size.
“This is the toughest it’s ever been to come up with a lineup and a rotation, just because we have so much depth,” Roussell said.
Second-year Molly Hackney returns to the post coming off her UAA Rookie of the Year performance in 2006–2007, and the Maroons added second-year transfer Michaela White to assist the fourth-year duo of Lori Tanaka and Mojidi at guard.
Chicago’s biggest loss for this season is Schwanz, who led the NCAA DIII in free throw percentage, finished second in scoring, and third in assists for the Maroons.
“She’s one of the best players that ever went through this system,” Roussell said of Schwanz, who will accompany the Maroons on the bench in her first year as assistant coach.
Youth may be an obstacle for the Maroons early on, as just four upperclassmen return for the South Siders. That said, the Maroons have four returning starters and won their first 16 contests last season and their first 10 in 2005–2006 with a similarly young roster.
“Once people get comfortable, this could be even better than last season,” Roussell said.
Who to Watch: Nofi Mojidi and Molly Hackney
Mojidi poured in 409 points for the Maroons last season, leading the UAA in scoring at 16.4 points per game. She also chipped in 52 assists, 118 rebounds, and 63 steals.
The guard had knee surgery in July, but her last season at Chicago should feature her as the centerpiece of Chicago’s offense once again.
Hackney dominated in the post for the South Siders, contributing 9.3 points per game and hauling in 155 rebounds on the season. As part of a strong underclass for the Maroons, Hackney could emerge as a top player in the UAA.