After a quick knockout in the NCAA tournament last year, UChicago women’s basketball was looking for a statement win to begin the season. The team that stood in the path of the Maroons was the UT Dallas Comets. The Comets came into Ratner as the 12th-ranked team in the country, but were coming off a close defeat to Wheaton on the previous day. This fatigue on the back end of a back-to-back came into play for the Comets in the inability to stay out of foul trouble. The Maroons took advantage of this tiredness from UT–Dallas by constantly cutting into the paint and putting the Comets under pressure. This resulted in the difference in the game as UChicago had 42 free throw attempts and made 31 of them. The Maroons had a plus-33 advantage in free throw attempts, which shows the aggressiveness from the home team throughout the game. In fact, this stark difference was the main decider in the close contest between two preseason ranked teams. Field goal percentage, rebounds, and turnovers were all within two of each other between the two teams. Furthermore, the ability to get the Comets into foul trouble helped UChicago as Raenett Hughes, a third-year pre-season all-American, was in foul trouble the entire game. Ultimately, fourth-year Miranda Burt’s team-high 16 points were enough to put the Maroons over the top as they left Ratner with a 74–69 win.
Taylor Lake, a fourth-year forward, was delighted with the start to the season, especially against a high-quality opponent. She lauded the mentality of her teammates: “I was blown away by the composure and confidence this team displayed against UT–Dallas, a very high-pressuring team.” The ability to keep the turnover margin close against a “very high-pressuring team” such as UT–Dallas is vital to ultimately winning the game. The Maroons in fact won the turnover battle as they forced one more turnover than the Comets. Additionally, Lake was proud in the mental toughness to overcome any runs that UT Dallas went on: “When they’d start to go on a run, we always had an answer and continued to push [by] playing our game, which is something so important to have experienced from the very first game of the season.” Overall, this first win has Lake optimistic about the upcoming season: “Everyone who came in stepped up and played hard, and I can’t wait to see all of the hard work we’ve put in during the pre-season translate to success for us this season.” The Maroons follow this game with another home game against out-of-conference rivals, Illinois Wesleyan University. UChicago won last year’s meeting and is hoping to make it two straight home wins to start off the new season this Tuesday night.