Smothering second quarter keys UChicago women's basketball to 62-55 win over Brandeis

Miranda Burt and Olariche Obi (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Fusco, d3photography.com)
Miranda Burt and Olariche Obi (PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Fusco, d3photography.com)

CHICAGO – The University of Chicago women's basketball team built up a big first half lead and kept Brandeis University at bay down the stretch to win 62-55 on Friday night.

The Maroons improved to 10-5 overall and 3-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Judges dropped to 10-5 and 2-2 in conference play.

Three-point splashes by the home team helped turn an early 8-2 deficit into a 15-14 lead. But it was the second quarter when the momentum wave swallowed up the visitors. UChicago started rolling and didn't stop, outscoring Brandeis 20-5 in the quarter. Smothering defense was the catalyst, limiting the Judges to 15.4 percent shooting in that time frame, and hands were constantly in the passing lane to force eight turnovers.

At one point, the Maroons scored 22-straight points to take a commanding 31-14 lead. The home side kept scoring over and over in the paint, and the margin at halftime stood at 37-19. Senior forward Britta Nordstrom led the charge with eight points and freshman guard Miranda Burt was close behind with seven points.

In the third quarter, Brandeis began to press on inbounds plays and switched to a zone look to slow down UChicago's offense. The Maroons were stymied for much of the third quarter, but were able to hit long jumpers late in the shot clock on several occasions. Burt sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around a Nordstrom basket to push the score to 45-21.

Paris Hodges then put Brandeis on her back, using her quickness to get into scoring position and accounting for nine-straight points. Despite the run, the hosts still led by 15 points heading into the final quarter.

The tide turned against the Maroons in the last three minutes. Brandeis pressed aggressively and forced several panicked turnovers that went right back the other way. With 38 seconds left, the Judges hit a three-pointer to draw within five points at 60-55. However, junior guard Madison Dunbar came up clutch by flying in to block a trey attempt with 26 seconds remaining. UChicago closed out the contest from there to earn the victory.

The forward duo of Nordstrom and sophomore Olariche Obi both recorded double-doubles on the evening. Nordstrom posted 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Obi put up 11 points and 11 rebounds. Burt led all scorers with 17 points on an efficient 6-for-9 shooting performance. She also snagged four steals defensively.

On field goals, the Maroons outshot the Judges 41.1 to 36.2 percent. Brandeis held a narrow 39-37 rebounding edge while turnovers were in UChicago's favor at 22-19.

NEXT GAME:

  • Sunday, Jan. 22 @ 2:00 PM – New York University at UChicago