The Maroons fought until the end.
In their last game of a grueling season, the Maroons were defeated by No. 22 Wash U, 65–48, on Saturday. Wash U improved to 20–5 and 10–4 in the UAA, finishing third in the conference, while Chicago ends the year with an overall record of 7–18 and 3–11 in conference play, finishing last. [media id="104875" align="left"/]
The end was bittersweet, as it was the last time this Maroons team took the court together.
“We were coming off a weekend where we didn’t play very well, and we didn’t compete very well. So before this game we talked a lot about doing both of those things and leaving it all out on the court; because it was the girls’ last chance to do that,” head coach Carissa Knoche said. “We also talked about how it was their last chance to be this team and play a game together, because it doesn’t matter how many teammates they lose this year; they are going to be completely different next year.”
The South Siders obviously took her words to heart. Despite getting off to a rough start, missing seven shots and committing six turnovers before scoring their first points, Chicago showed remarkable teamwork. In fact, the Maroons went into halftime only down by 10 points.
“I was very happy with how the girls continued to compete,” Knoche said. “We were down 12–0 at the 10 minute mark, but that’s actually pretty good defense. We only gave up 12 points, and then we started to catch fire a little bit and started to get ourselves back into the game.”
Ultimately, it was not enough to win. The Bears dominated the paint, outscoring the Maroons by 16 points inside, and took control of the boards by a margin of 39–32. Wash U also took 23 free throws compared to Chicago’s two. Nevertheless, the team was able to compete in shooting percentage, as both teams shot in the high 30s.
However, the most notable feature of the game was that it was fourth-year captain Jenna Lillemoe’s last time playing for Chicago—a fact that has a special meaning for her coach.
“[Jenna] was the first kid I recruited, so she has been with me the entire time I have coached here, [and] I will definitely miss her,” Knoche said. “She has been an unbelievable player for us. She has tremendous energy and enthusiasm at practice and in everything that we do. She has done an incredible job on the floor and off the floor just leading and making sure that the team is a team. It has been a good run for her, and she has had great moments over the last four years. She is going to be missed by all of us.”
Although this season did not bring the success of last year’s, Chicago will return all of its players but Lillemoe. With another year of experience under their belts, the Maroons will be ready to compete next season.