CHICAGO – Fourth-quarter adjustments helped the University of Chicago women's basketball team grind out a 72-63 win in a physical contest versus Brandeis University on Sunday afternoon.
The No. 23-ranked Maroons (12-2 record) won their 10th-straight game and maintained a perfect start to the University Athletic Association (UAA) schedule at 3-0. The Judges fell to 9-4 overall (1-2 UAA).
The opening quarter played to UChicago's strengths. The home side executed at its usual fast pace and got the offense rolling as play progressed. A 14-2 run put the Maroons in control at 20-9, capped by consecutive baskets from junior forward Olariche Obi. Their biggest lead of the game occurred at 23-11 on the heels of sophomore guard Mia Farrell's three-pointer.
After an and-one by first-year forward Marissa Igunbor, the second quarter dried up for UChicago. Brandeis constantly clogged the lane with its superior height and warded off post entry passes. As a result, the Maroons pinged the ball around the perimeter and settled for available three-pointers. However, they went 1-for-9 on those long jumpers. The Judges began to flex their muscle in the paint and gobbled up all the rebounds. At halftime, Brandeis led that category 30-21.
The double-digit lead shrank all the way down to one point in the final minute of the half. Obi caught an air-ball jumper and scored the put back in to give the Maroons a 33-30 lead at the break. Over half of UChicago's field goal attempts were three-pointers at that point (20 out of 39). On the other side, Brandeis was struggling to convert baskets and shot only 29.4 percent on field goals.
The third quarter continued in a similar vein as the second. Brandeis was physical in the paint defensively, but UChicago was not getting any whistles in its favor. At one juncture, the Judges had 18 more free throw attempts than the Maroons.
Sophomore guard Miranda Burt broke the offense out of the doldrums, sinking back-to-back treys midway through the third to make the score 46-38. But Brandeis was persistent and leveled the score at 47-47. As the scoreboard changed to the fourth quarter, the visitors led 51-49.
The Maroons made critical adjustments in the final period. Offensively, sophomore forward Taylor Lake took charge, frequently receiving the ball at the top of the arc and aggressively driving to the hoop. She tallied 10 points in the quarter, including seven straight to give UChicago a 59-52 lead. Defensively, UChicago threw a zone at Brandeis that slowed the visitors down and forced long jumpers that drew iron.
Burt came through with another huge three at 64-56. The Judges got within four points with two minutes left, but UChicago made five of six free throws to put the game out of reach.
Lake led the scoring attack with 16 points and three blocks. Obi posted 14 points and 12 rebounds – her seventh double-double of the season. Burt tallied 14 points and four three-pointers. Farrell added 10 points. Senior guard Elizabeth Nye contributed a well-rounded stat line of seven points, five steals and four assists off the bench.
The Maroons shot 36.9 percent overall, 33.3 percent on three-pointers (10-30) and 70 percent on free throws (14-20). Brandeis was held to 30.6 percent shooting on field goals, 5.9 percent on threes (1-17) and 88.9 percent on free throws (24-27). It marks the fifth time that UChicago has held an opponent under 33 percent shooting from the field.
Brandeis won the rebounding battle 52-36, including 17-8 on offensive boards. The Judges also committed 20 turnovers, and the Maroons blocked seven shots.
- Friday, Jan. 19 @ 6:00 PM (ET) – UChicago at Carnegie Mellon University