After a disappointing holiday break, the Chicago women’s basketball team reclaimed its UAA respect after two crucial victories on the home court over the weekend. Ending their first two-game skid in as many years, the Maroons improved to 11–3 (2–1 UAA) and preserved their hopes of defending their UAA title from a year ago.
First on the docket were the Yellowjackets of Rochester, entering the contest with a .500 record, and also having dropped their 2019 UAA opener. After a meager offensive display in the opening minutes, Chicago controlled the game from the tip, making a 63–44 statement on Friday evening.
Pacing the Maroons was third-year Taylor Lake, scoring 19 points and grabbing five boards. Fourth-year Jamie Kockenmeister was lethal from the arc and the charity stripe, adding 15 points of her own. Third-years Miranda Burt and Mia Farrell added three steals each.
After a snowy Saturday in Hyde Park, the Maroons were back in action on Sunday, playing host to Emory University. In a low-scoring affair, the Maroons were able to hold off the visiting Eagles down the stretch, winning their second game of the weekend by a score of 60–56.
Lake continued her production, leading the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Farrell added 14 points and three steals, and Burt converted key free throws in crunch time to finish with 12 points.
Coming off an impressive victory in their UAA-opener against rival Wash U, the men sent an electric Ratner crowd home with a smile on Friday evening, storming back from a double-digit deficit to defeat No. 12 Rochester (11–3, 1–2 UAA). Leading the Maroon comeback were fourth-year Noah Karras, third-year Jordan Baum and second-year Dominic Laravie, each delivering crucial three-pointers down the stretch to stun the Yellowjackets. Second-year Brennan McDaniel was also stellar on the night, adding 16 points and seven rebounds.
Carrying that momentum into Sunday’s tilt against Emory, the South Siders won a hard-fought battle 96–86 in overtime to remain unbeaten in conference play (10–4, 3–0 UAA). Leading the way for Chicago was second-year Cole Schmitz, pouring in a career-high 23 points and adding 10 rebounds.
“The effort so far in conference play has been phenomenal. We’ve had so many guys contribute and continue to play with the resiliency needed to win in the UAA,” said Schmitz. Asked about the team’s mindset heading back on the road next weekend, Schmitz added, “This weekend will be a great test for us as any UAA opponent on the road is a guaranteed battle. We just have to continue to play our game and use these wins as leverage as we open play on the road.”
Both squads will travel to the northeast to face the Judges of Brandeis (6–7, 2–1 UAA women, 9–5, 2–1 UAA men) on Friday before squaring off against struggling NYU (8–4, 1–2 UAA women, 6–8, 0–3 UAA men) squads in a Sunday matinee. The women will lead off a full weekend of UAA action, with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday.