CHICAGO – A scoring spree late in the first quarter supplied a cushion the Maroons would not relinquish as the No. 19-ranked University of Chicago women's basketball team bested Carnegie Mellon University 57-45 in a tightly-defended conference contest on Sunday afternoon.
UChicago remained second in the University Athletic Association (UAA) with the win and now sits at 14-4 overall (5-2 UAA). The Tartans have now lost seven of their last eight games, falling to 10-8 (1-6 UAA).
Both teams made scoring difficult for their opponents, but the Maroons scrapped their way to crucial advantages in rebounding (39 to 33) and turnovers (23 to 15, with 26 points scored as a result). Junior guard Miranda Burt carried over her shooting touch from a 21-point performance on Friday with 16 points and a 5-of-8 mark from beyond the arc to spark the offense.
Junior forward Olariche Obi racked up nine boards, while senior guard Jamie Kockenmeister grabbed five. Junior forward Taylor Lake and first-year forward Klaire Steffens both recorded four rebounds, with Steffens also contributing nine points from the bench. Her fellow reserve, first-year guard Elizabeth Shaw, led the team with four assists.
Obi also collected four of the Maroons' 14 steals, while Kockenmeister and junior guard Mia Farrell each had three. Farrell also tallied 10 points.
The Maroons held their third opponent of the season under 50 points. As a team, UChicago shot just 35.6 percent from the floor but 42.9 percent from three-point range. Carnegie Mellon converted baskets at a 40 percent clip with 14 fewer attempts.
A physical Tartan zone frustrated UChicago in the initial minutes as the visitors played close, leaving the score at 9-8 in favor of the Maroons. The Tartans had a chance to take the lead when they broke out in transition just under the four-minute mark. However, Obi hustled back to slow the attack, allowing Farrell to get in position to take the charge.
The Maroons then launched an 11-0 run to close the quarter. UChicago methodically dismantled the CMU defense with rapid passing that picked out gaps and set up close looks. Aiding this effort was a powerful display on the offensive glass that saw the Maroons haul in eight offensive rebounds in the first 10 minutes.
UChicago endured an offensive lull early in the second quarter, but the Tartans only managed to briefly halve the deficit as the Maroons' opportunistic defense pounced. Obi snatched three steals herself in a two-minute span. On the other end of the floor, Burt lit it up from the left wing with a trio of threes, securing her team a comfortable 33-19 advantage at the half.
The margin held constant through most of the third quarter as Carnegie Mellon successfully disrupted UChicago's passing only for the Maroons to offer stiff resistance in return. At one point, both teams went three-and-a-half minutes without a basket before Farrell knocked down a three with 1:49 left. Burt added another triple and the score sat at 43-30 heading into the final period.
The Tartans pressed to make a game of it and cut their deficit to single digits with 5:50 remaining, but the Maroons responded decisively. Farrell produced the athletic highlight of the day on the defensive end, snagging a leaping interception to stop a sure basket and then flinging the ball to Obi as she went crashing out of play. Farrell got up and sank a layup on the other end, then Burt returned to her usual spot to drain another three and the lead was back to 15 points with 4:21 left on the clock. Carnegie Mellon picked up a few more points before the end of play, but not enough to challenge the Maroons.
- Friday, Feb. 1 @ 6:00 PM (ET) – UChicago at Case Western Reserve University