While the rest of the student body was home for the holidays, the Maroons remained on the court, taking on a strong slate of opponents throughout the month of December. The Maroons played tough defense in their five games but struggled to score, posting a record of 3–3 in that stretch. With these results, the squad moved to 7–4 on the season and will now move on to UAA action.
The team welcomed Eureka to the Ratner Athletics Center on December 12. Thanks to lockdown defense in the first half, the Maroons defeated the Red Devils 82–49. The squad allowed 10 points in the first quarter and five points in the second, entering the halftime break with a substantial 46–15 lead. First-year forward Taylor Lake exploded off the bench, scoring a team-high 19 points and pulling down seven rebounds.
Two days later, the squad traveled to Indiana to face the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and fell in a close match with a score of 61–58. The Maroons converted just 32.8 percent of their field goal attempts and were outrebounded 52–29 in the game. Their stout defense kept them in the contest, but in the end, they fell short by just three points.
On December 17, Chicago visited Illinois Wesleyan for another tough road contest. The Titans, who have been dominated by the Maroons in recent years, turned the tables and won by a score of 79–52. Though the Maroons led at halftime 30–27, the Titans pulled away late to secure the victory.
After Christmas, the team hit the road once again, traveling to Dallas to take on a pair of tough opponents. On December 30, the Maroons faced the Comets from University of Texas–Dallas. Despite playing better defense and battling hard, the team was never able to close the scoring gap and was defeated 59–44. The following day, the Maroons were able to snap the three-game losing streak with an 88–59 win over Hendrix. The team was able to find the shooting touch it had lost in the previous outings, shooting 52.4 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from three-point range. Second-year forward Ola Obi recorded an impressive double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
This rounded out the team’s non-conference schedule for the season. The Maroons will begin UAA play this Saturday when they take on Wash U at home. The Bears enter the contest with a perfect record of 10–0 and are currently ranked No. 5 in the country by the *USA Today* poll.
“Our focus is really on ourselves,” fourth-year Stephanie Anderson said. “We’ve had spurts of great play this season, and our defense has been tough and kept us in games. Now we need to put it all together for a full 40 minutes.”
Last year, the Maroons fell to Wash U in the first meeting but knocked off the ninth-ranked Bears in the season finale by a margin of 82–70. Therefore, it is safe to expect a fiercely competitive matchup when these rivals meet this coming weekend.
Chicago will face Wash U this Saturday at the Ratner Athletics Center. This will be the 64th meeting between the two teams. This game will set the tone for the rest of the season and will likely have UAA and NCAA tournament implications.