November 17, 2009

Women's basketball tops Olivet 66–50

It was not a perfect performance, but women’s basketball got the job done in their first game.

Playing at Olivet (0-1) on Sunday, the 14th-ranked Maroons (1-0) started off their season on the right foot, rattling off a 22–2 run that spanned halftime as they cruised to a 66–50 win.

“Our first goal of every season is to win the first game, so it was mission accomplished,” head coach Aaron Roussell said.

Chicago was down seven with six minutes to play in the first half, but finished the period on a 12–2 run that gave them the advantage heading into intermission.

“We were able to get out and run in transition,” Roussell said. “We executed our offense and shared the ball like we are capable of doing.”

The Maroons continued their quick pace after the break, putting in the first ten points of the second stanza to extend their lead to 38–25.

“It was reassuring to prove to ourselves that we were capable of setting the tone, rather than simply reacting to the other team,” Roussell said.

The Comets did not seriously threaten Chicago the rest of the way—they never trimmed the deficit back to single digits—but the Maroons never had total control of the game.

“We played just well enough to keep them at bay, but unfortunately we were never really able to put them away completely,” Roussell said. “Part of that was Olivet competing hard, but on our side I thought we really lacked a killer mentality that would have secured the game earlier.”

Second-year guard Meghan Herrick paced the offense with 13 points, a new career high. On the defensive end, the Maroons kept Olivet frustrated, holding the Comets to a shooting percentage below 30. Other key performers were second-year guard Bryanne Halfhill who pulled down six rebounds and fourth-year post Molly Hackney who swatted away three shots.

Despite the solid victory, the fact that the Maroons did not dominate Olivet like they could have has left Roussell with some questions.

“I left [Olivet] hoping that we were a lot better than what we showed. I sincerely believe that we are.”

The Maroons can prove their coach right this weekend, when they host the Midway Classic. Besides Chicago, this year’s four-team field includes Coe, Elmhurst, and the Maroons’ opponent in their first-round game Saturday, St. Mary’s.