CHICAGO – The University of Chicago women's basketball team made its fourth-quarter lead stand up and knocked Washington University-St. Louis from the unbeaten ranks with a 75-68 victory on Saturday.
The Maroons improved to 8-4 overall and started off University Athletic Association (UAA) play at 1-0. The No. 5-ranked Bears were dealt their first loss of the season and now stand at 10-1 (0-1 UAA).
Coming into the game, Washington-St. Louis boasted one of the most potent and efficient offenses in NCAA Division III. The Bears rank eighth nationally in scoring (80.6 PPG) and fifth in field-goal percentage (.467). They also won their previous 10 games by an average margin of 21.6 points.
UChicago went toe-to-toe with WashU all game. Freshman forward Taylor Lake and senior forward Britta Nordstrom combined to score the team's opening eight points. Two-straight layups from sophomore forward Olariche Obi pulled the home team to within 14-12, and sophomore guard Jamie Kockenmeister buried a three-pointer on the next possession. Lake tied the game at 18-18 with a three-pointer of her own heading into the second quarter.
Lake was the go-to scorer all throughout the first half. She scored 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, including a pair of treys. Nordstrom tallied nine points of her own. UChicago forwards battled some foul trouble in the first half as WashU's bigger posts were able to snatch offensive rebounds and draw contact. In the final minute of the half, Lake provided a boost once more with a layup followed by a trey with two seconds remaining. UChicago went into the halftime break ahead 41-35 while also leading the rebounding category 23-17.
The Maroons remained frosty on defense in the third quarter, with active hands in the passing lanes. While WashU eventually took the lead 45-44, UChicago immediately responded with a 13-point run that featured a trio of treys.
One minute into the fourth quarter, the home side found themselves ahead 62-51. However, the Bears felt the urgency of the ticking clock and their aggression and decisiveness on the offensive end kick started a 13-2 run.
UChicago clung to a 68-66 lead with under two minutes remaining in regulation. But the defense stepped up in the clutch to deny scoring opportunities, and the free throws kept falling. The Maroons sank 7 of 8 free throws in the final 87 seconds of the game. The last key stop occurred with 20 seconds left, when freshman guard Miranda Burt stole an inbounds pass to end the threat.
The Maroons won their second-straight against a nationally-ranked Bears squad, including last year's season finale (82-70). UChicago shot 44.3 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc (8-19). WashU shot 40.0 percent overall and 26.7 percent from deep (4-15). Turnovers were even at 16 for each side, with a 38-37 home edge in rebounds.
Lake's 23 points were a new career high. The team's balanced attack featured 14 points from Burt and Nordstrom, as well as 13 points by Obi. Nordstrom posted a double-double with 12 rebounds.
- Friday, Jan. 13 @ 6 PM (ET) – UChicago at University of Rochester