February 12, 2013

Poor shooting and ball-handling again the theme in final home contests

This weekend proved to be a tough one for the Maroons, as they dropped their last two home games of the season and fell to 3–8 in the UAA.

On Friday, the South Siders faced Rochester, a team they lost to by 22 points on January 11. This time around, the Maroons lost by 21 points, 58–37. Chicago was plagued by similar problems, namely starting slow and shooting poorly. The Maroons shot 25.4 percent from the floor and went 2–18 from beyond the arc.

Though the Maroons had spent the last few weeks dominating the boards, they could not impose their rebounding will on Rochester. The Yellowjackets out-rebounded the home team 50–39. Combined with Chicago’s poor offensive flow, this sealed the game for Rochester.

“Against Rochester, we did a really good job of shutting down their post play. The guards did an awesome job of sinking in and doubling in on their big girls whenever the ball got inside,” second-year post Ellie Greiner said. “But we definitely didn’t play our best on the offensive end of the court. We turned the ball over a lot and struggled to execute our plays.”

On Sunday, the Maroons faced similar problems against Emory. They fell behind 13–2 in the opening minutes of the game, which forced them to adjust their offensive strategy. Even though Chicago briefly turned things around and took a lead halfway through the first half, the Eagles could not be contained. Emory forced 21 turnovers and went on an 18–0 run in the second half to put the game out of reach. The final score: Emory 80, Maroons 65.

However, the South Siders shot significantly better against Emory than they had against Rochester. As a team, they shot 47 percent from the field, and were able to sink several threes at critical moments. In addition, the Maroons regained their rebounding advantage, besting their competition 37–26.

“We had a pretty good rebounding effort and out-rebounded Emory, which was one of the big things we talked about, but we didn’t take care of the basketball as well as we would have liked,” first-year post Caitlin Moore said.

Nevertheless, several Maroons enjoyed strong performances. Moore, second-years Morgan Donovan and Ali Shaw, and first-year Paige Womack all scored in double figures in Sunday’s game. On Friday, second-year Claire Devaney recorded a double-double, scoring 14 points and snagging 11 rebounds.

“I think Claire Devaney has been playing really well lately. She has come up with some huge rebounds over the past couple games, giving us extra possessions on the offense end,” Moore said.

Sunday’s contest also marked fourth-year guard Jenna Lillemoe’s final home game of her career with the Maroons. Lillemoe, the lone fourth-year on this year’s squad, scored eight points, with two rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.

It may have been a losing effort, but the Maroons are going to need more performances like this one in order to defeat Brandeis and NYU next weekend. But Chicago seems confident that, with teamwork, it can win.

“I think this weekend we learned a lot about the importance of playing as a team,” Greiner said. “When we execute our team concepts on both ends of the court, we are a really tough group to play against. We’re going to have to play as a unit again this weekend in order to get two more wins.”