February 10, 2011

13 and counting...

The tenth-ranked Maroons tip off in Rochester tonight hoping for a 14th straight win.

Despite their incredible streak, should the Maroons (17–3, 9–0 UAA) fall to the Yellowjackets (16–4, 6–3), who currently sit third in the conference, they would likely draw even in the UAA standings with sixth-ranked Wash U, whose only conference loss was against Chicago.

Though the Maroons easily handled Rochester 87–59 at home on Beach Night, the Yellowjackets have played well at home behind fourth-year guard Melissa Alwardt, who places among the UAA’s top ten in points, assists, and rebounds.

Games on the road are definitely a lot tougher than home games, but we are aware of that,” third-year guard Bryanne Halfhill said. Alongside Alwardt, Halfhill is the only other conference player to rank in the top ten in three statistical categories.

“Friday is a huge game for us, and we’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” she added. “Luckily, most of our team really likes playing at Rochester’s gym because it’s one of the older gyms and has some character.”

[Alwardt] is one of the best players in the league, if not the best. She will be a real challenge,” coach Aaron Roussell said. “We’ll just try to do what we can to limit her and hope she isn’t at her best on that particular night. She is a tough cover, and she has weapons around her as well, which makes it even more difficult.

After Rochester, the women will go down south to Emory for a Sunday tip. Though the Eagles (9–11, 2–7) are near the bottom of the UAA, Roussell sees them as a truly dangerous team.

We have huge concerns with Emory because of the frenetic style and pace at which they like to play,” he said. “They have a ton of talent, and as they have gained experience they are really putting together a deep and formidable lineup. They are well coached as well and will no doubt be ready for us. We will not overlook them, mostly because they are too scary of a team to be overlooked, and they present some tough matchup concerns for us.

Halfhill pointed out that the game comes at an awkward time. “At this point, I feel like you really don’t get any pushover games, especially on Sunday and on the road,” she said. “That’ll be a tough game, especially because after playing Rochester, Emory’s style of play is so much different. They are more of a run and jump team with a lot of fast guards, while Rochester is a team that likes to pound the ball inside.”

It seems that triskaidekaphobia might be the least of the Maroons’ worries this weekend.