ST. PAUL, Minn. – The No. 9 University of Chicago women's basketball team settled in midway through the first quarter and never looked back, leading all 40 minutes of Friday's 70-46 NCAA Division III Tournament First Round victory over Wisconsin-Lutheran College.
The Maroons (24-4) pushed their winning streak to 22 games and advance to Saturday's Second Round, where they will face the winner of host St. Thomas (25-2) and Chapman (23-4) in a 7 p.m. CT contest on the Tommies' home court in St. Paul, Minn.
Sophomore Miranda Burt found herself in familiar territory and recorded a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with three steals and junior forward Olariche Obi added 14 points, five rebounds, three steals, and two assists.
Sophomore Taylor Lake added 11 points, six rebounds, and four assists in an all-around effort as the Maroons executed their patented defense to the tune of 24 Warrior turnovers, which led to 22 UChicago points.
"I think these kids are pretty hungry for more than what they accomplished last year," Head Coach Carissa Sain Knoche said in the post-game press conference. "In the regular season, they definitley got after it and they're not ready to be done yet.
"So, it's time to keep playing with that mentality and make the most of whatever opportunity we have and whoever we play and see if we can keep this thing rolling for a little bit."
It took nearly three minutes into the game for either team to hit the scoreboard, but UChicago would strike first on an Obi made layup at the 7:17 mark. That bucket kicked off a 7-0 run – aided by a Burt steal and layup and Lake triple – to force a Warriors' timeout at the 4:56 mark.
But Lake would add another basket and Mia Farrell – who finished with eight points – would add a 3 to push UChicago's lead to 12-2. Wisconsin-Lutheran (24-4) gathered itself to close out the quarter, outscoring the Maroons 8-4 to trail by just six after one period, 16-10. UChicago took a 34-21 lead in the locker room at halftime and used a big third quarter to make its move.
Three-straight layups by Burt, Lake, and Obi gave the Maroons a 40-21 lead at the 8:42 mark and forced another Wisconsin-Lutheran timeout, but Farrell didn't let up, draining another from downtown to push the advantage to 20, 43-23.
Up 56-30 heading into the fourth frame, Burt – who scored a then-career-high 23 points in the Maroons' opening NCAA win last season in the same arena – all but sealed it, converting a rare four-point play after making a 3 on the wing despite a Warrior foul. The play made the score 60-30 with 8:19 to go and allowed the Maroons to empty their bench down the stretch.
UChicago finished 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the field and held WLC to 34.8 percent (16-of-46) from the field, while the Maroons hit 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) 3s and held the Warriors to just two makes from behind the arc (15.4 percent).
Senior Elizabeth Nye chipped in five points, six rebounds, and four assists for the Maroons.
Jen Dowden led the Warriors with 21 points and Coreana Carson added 10 points in the loss.
- Saturday, March 3: UChicago vs. St. Thomas/Chapman winner, 7 p.m. CT (St. Paul, Minn.)