January 26, 2017

South Siders to Break Conference Tie

The Chicago squad will look to continue their recent success over the weekend as they hit the road to face a pair of strong conference opponents. With a 4–1 conference record, the Maroons currently sit tied for the top seed in the UAA with Carnegie Mellon, a team they will face on this road trip. But first, the team will be in Cleveland on Friday to face off with the Case Western Reserve Spartans, who currently hold a record of 10–6 overall and 2–3 in the conference. At this point, the race to win the UAA is wide open, so the South Siders will hope to create some separation this weekend with a pair of positive results.

Recently, Chicago has performed well, winning five of the last six contests, the only loss being on the road by a margin of just three points. Last weekend, the Maroons were able to defeat both Brandeis and NYU at the Ratner Athletics Center. Against the Judges, the stout Chicago defense allowed just 19 points in the first half, and the team coasted to a 62–55 victory from there. Then two days later, the team defeated the NYU Violets on a game winning layup by first-year Mia Farrell that came with just two seconds remaining and gave the South Siders a 69–67 win.

“It was great to come out on top in both games last weekend,” said fourth-year guard Stephanie Anderson. “But now it is time to move on and focus on the games coming up. There is still lots of room for improvement and we need to work hard this week if we want to beat Case and Carnegie.”

Heading into the Friday matchup against Case Western Reserve, the Maroons will need to focus on playing tough defense like they have all year. The Spartans have recorded an impressive 76.4 points per game this season, so Chicago will look to slow down that pace by forcing turnovers and creating chances of their own. Although Case is currently riding a three-game losing streak, they were able to defeat No. 9 Carnegie Mellon in their UAA opener, so they are surely able to play with the best. Last year, Chicago defeated the Spartans in both meetings so they will look to build off of this recent success on Friday.

Then on Sunday, the Maroons will travel to Pittsburgh to take on Carnegie Mellon in a match that could decide who takes over sole control of first place in the UAA. Like the Maroons, the Tartans are entering the weekend with a conference record of 4–1. Overall, Carnegie Mellon has posted an impressive 15–1 record and is ranked No. 9 in the nation, so they will surely pose a tough test. The Tartans will face off against No. 11 Wash U on Friday before meeting the Maroons two days later.

In 2016, the Maroons struggled against Carnegie Mellon, losing both the home and road contest. But, both of these games were hard-fought matchups that were decided by just three points, and the second game even went into overtime. This year, Chicago will look to flip the script and emerge victorious. In order to do so, the Maroons will need to contain the opponent’s prolific scorers. The Tartans have a pair of fourth-year players who together average over 43 points per game.

Anderson is excited about the team’s opportunity this weekend, saying, “Come Friday, the team will be ready to play hard and execute our plan. We know that we are facing two very good teams and that first place in the UAA is on the line, but we are really just excited to go out and compete.” She added, “If we put everything together and play our best for a full 40 minutes, I don’t think anyone can beat us.”

Chicago takes on Case Western Reserve this Friday at 5 p.m. at the Horsburgh Gymnasium in Cleveland. Then on Sunday, Chicago will head to Skibo Gymnasium in Pittsburgh to take on Carnegie Mellon at 1 p.m. The Maroons will be looking to emerge with a pair of wins over the weekend and take over first place in the conference.