SPORTS

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January 15, 2010

Women's basketball looks to shake Wash U loss as NYU, Brandeis come to town

Hopefully, all the questions that were raised by the worst loss for women’s basketball in seven years will soon be answered on the basketball court.

In preparation for Friday’s game against NYU (8–4, 0–1) at Beach Night, the Maroons (8–4, 0–1) have been trying to adjust and learn from the sobering 63–34 loss at Wash U last Saturday. Unfortunately, it is still hard to pin down what exactly went wrong.

“I felt quite good going into the game, and I thought we played really well for a while,” head coach Aaron Roussell said. “I was kind of shocked when they started to pull away.”

In particular, Wash U enjoyed a decisive 54–32 rebounding edge, even though Chicago went into the game with a +14.1 rebounding margin on the season. Given the size and make-up of the Maroons, and the relative consistency of good rebounding, it is puzzling that they were beaten so handily on the glass.

“I still have no answer for why that happened,” Roussell said. “You just can’t be that good at something and then get taken to the cleaners.”

There is also the issue of the Maroons’ continuing struggles on offense. After Roussell raised concerns in the previous few weeks about their ability to score points, the Maroons came out of the Wash U game with only 11 field goals on 22.4-percent shooting—by far the worst mark of the season.

Nevertheless, Roussell has faith in the foundation of the team, and believes that the excessive turnovers, lack of ball movement, and dubious shot selection that characterized the Wash U game were primarily the consequences of straying away from the game plan. As such, he is not looking to revamp or overhaul the offensive system.

“Of course, whenever you score only 34 points in a game, you should sit down and take a good, hard look at your offense,” he said. “But then again, we didn’t exactly play our offense.”

All of this leaves the Maroons with a lot to prove against NYU this Friday at Ratner. After a tough 68–73 loss at home to Brandeis (8­–3, 1–0), NYU has bounced back with a decisive 79–49 win at the College of Staten Island. The Violets are an athletic and dangerous offensive team, ranking second in the UAA in points per game and leading the league in three-point shooting percentage.

After NYU, Chicago will host Brandeis on Sunday and try to slow guard Jessica Chapin, who garnered UAA Athlete of the Week accolades after averaging 27 points over the past week’s games, including 25 in the UAA opener against NYU.

To get the best of NYU and Brandeis, the Maroons will have to regroup quickly around their foundation of solid defense and dominant rebounding. But it seems that the Maroons have been anxious for action: According to Roussell, there have been some very spirited practices since last Saturday’s loss.

Ultimately, Roussell hopes that the game against Wash U will turn out to be a wake-up call for the team. Whatever its effects, they should be on display Friday at Beach Night.