CHICAGO – The No. 10 University of Chicago women's basketball team completed its third-ever perfect run through University Athletic Association play with a gritty 96-90 victory over Washington-St. Louis on Saturday on Senior Day.
The Maroons (23-2, 14-0) captured their 21st-straight win in the process and swept the series against rival Washington-St. Louis (18-7, 9-5) to capture just the seventh perfect UAA season in league history and the third in UChicago's record books, joining the 2011 and 2012 Maroon squads.
Sophomore Mia Farrell powered her way to a career-high 31 points on 6-of-11 shooting and 15-of-18 from the free-throw line, adding five rebounds and sophomore Taylor Lake added 18 points, three steals, two blocks and two assists.
In total, five Maroons scored in double figures, as junior Olariche Obi punched in her 14th double-double of the year with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, two blocks and finished 7-of-10 from the field, senior Elizabeth Nye added 12 points, five steals, and four assists, and sophomore Jamie Kockenmeister chipped in 10 points off the bench.
The Maroons built a 21-15 lead at the break, mainly behind nine steals that resulted into 13 WashU turnovers. Farrell had 12 of her 31 in the first half and Obi added 10 points to help give the hosts the lead heading into the locker room.
Lake opened the second half with a layup and two free throws to push that lead to 14, 51-37, but UChicago still had its biggest run left. Leading the Bears by 13, 54-41, Miranda Burt drained a 3-pointer and Marissa Igunbor followed with a layup to surge the advantage to 18, 59-41, with 5:59 to go in the third quarter.
Washington-St. Louis didn't give in though, as the Bears chipped that lead down to eight, 66-58, with a 17-7 run to close out the third quarter.
The closest the Bears came in the fourth frame was seven, after Rachael Sondag drilled a triple at the 6:49 mark to make the score 74-67. But Nye came up clutch with a runner in the lane and Lake followed with a bucket inside to help quell the charge, and the Maroons made just enough free throws down the stretch to hold off any WashU comeback.
Farrell led the way at the charity stripe, making 8-of-10 in fourth quarter alone.
The Maroons finished 46 percent (29-of-63) from the field compared to 46.7 percent (28-of-60) for the Bears, who used the 3-point line (12-of-22, 54.5 percent) to their advantage. UChicago shot 38.1 percent (8-of-21) from downtown.
Both teams spent plenty of time at the free-throw line, with UChicago making 30-of-38 (78.9 percent) compared to 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) for the Bears, who also outrebounded the hosts, 42-30.
Turnovers proved to be the name of the game, as the Maroons' patented defense forced Washington-St. Louis into a game-high 22 turnovers, resulting in 25 UChicago points. The hosts committed just eight turnovers in the contest.
Sondag finished with 23 points to lead Washington-St. Louis in the loss.
UChicago, who had already clinched the outright UAA league title last weekend, now awaits its fate in the 2018 NCAA Division III Tournament, with the Selection Show set for 1:30 p.m. CT on NCAA.com.
Saturday also marked senior day for the Maroons' two seniors, Nye and Madison Dunbar, who now hold a 76-26 overall record in their four-year careers, resulting in two-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament and two UAA Championships.
- Monday, Feb. 26: NCAA Division III Selection Show, 1:30 p.m. CT