CHICAGO – The University of Chicago women's basketball team jumped on No. 9-ranked Washington University-St. Louis early and didn't look back, holding onto the lead for 40 minutes to earn the 82-70 victory on Saturday.
In their regular season finale, the Maroons' fourth win over a nationally-ranked team gave the home team to an overall record of 16-9 and 8-6 in the University Athletic Association (UAA). The Bears, who already clinched the conference title previously, advance to the postseason with a 20-5 record (11-3 UAA).
The NCAA online selection show will announce all of this year's postseason qualifiers on Monday, Feb. 29. The women's broadcast will occur at 1:30 PM (CT) at the following link: http://www.ncaa.com/liveschedule/2016/02/29.
UChicago finished the schedule with a four-game win streak and an impressive 10-3 mark in Hyde Park. The team ended up tied for third in the UAA. The offense did the heavy lifting on Saturday and set a new school record in the process. The Maroons shot 63.8 percent in the game (30-47) to break the old school mark of 63.3 percent, which came against Illinois Wesleyan University on Nov. 30, 2003.
Sophomore guard Elizabeth Nye posted the most efficient performance of her career. She made 7 of 8 from the field, including all five of her three-point attempts, to pace all scorers with 19 points. Junior guard Stephanie Anderson came off the bench to provide a spark with 14 points, while freshman forward Rachel West (10) scored in double digits for the fourth-straight game.
Before the game, the Maroons honored their three seniors and parents on the court. The trio of Caitlin Moore, Helen Petersen and Paige Womack compiled a four-year record of 56-44 (.560 winning percentage). In that time, UChicago secured at least 15 wins for three-straight years and won a UAA title in 2015.
The Maroons came out of the gate rolling, snatching a 9-2 lead courtesy of five points from freshman guard Alyssa Clemente. The home side made six out of its opening seven shots open up a 14-5 advantage, with Nye providing seven points in that span.
Throughout the game, the Maroons continuously generated open looks from the corner – the shortest three-point shot. Those long balls swished through at a torrid 55.6 percent clip (10 of 18) for the game. UChicago also looked to get out and run in an effort to attack the defense before it had a chance to get set.
With 16 seconds left on the clock, Anderson found freshman forward Olariche Obi for a layup to give the Maroons a 25-17 lead going into the second quarter. Anderson scored two more points to open the second quarter, and employed effective head fakes and pump fakes in the paint throughout the contest.
With 4:14 left before halftime, Nye hits a long ball to give the home team a 40-25 advantage. The Maroons led by 15 going into the break, 44-29. Ten different Maroons scored in the first half, and 13 of 19 UChicago field goals were assisted (68 percent).
WashU came out in the third determined to make it a game, starting the quarter on a 14-3 to pull within four at 47-43. UChicago stretched the lead back to nine for a moment; however, the Bears came racing back to cut it to three at 53-50. A Nye three gave the Maroons a six-point advantage going into the game's final quarter.
West hit a three of her own to start the fourth and then another quick jumper to stretch the Maroon lead back up to 11. The home team found their shooting stroke once again, stretching the lead all the way up to 76-60 with 3:11 left in regulation to put the game out of reach.
The Maroons played 40 minutes of active defense. High energy, good rotations and contested looks late in the shot clock helped UChicago hold the visitors to 38.5 percent shooting from the field.
The Bears took the rebound (30-25) and turnover (14-17) categories while the teams tied for points off of turnovers (15) and bench points (32).
UChicago Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 63.8 percent (30-47)
Three-point Percentage – 55.6 percent (10-18)
Free-throw Percentage – 66.7 percent (12-18)
Elizabeth Nye (Guard, So.) – 19 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds
Stephanie Anderson (Guard, Jr.) – 14 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists
Rachel West (Forward, Fr.) – 10 points, 3 rebounds
Washington-St. Louis Team Stats & Leaders
Field-goal Percentage – 38.5 percent (20-52)
Three-point Percentage – 42.9 percent (6-14)
Free-throw Percentage – 70.6 percent (24-34)
Amanda Martinez – 13 points, 5 steals, 3 rebounds
Claudia Smith – 12 points, 5 rebounds
Jordan Thompson – 11 points, 3 assists
Rachel Sondag – 11 points