CHICAGO – Friday night's contest promised to be a showdown, as Emory University sat atop the University Athletic Association standings with University of Chicago women's basketball only one game behind. As the final buzzer sounded, the Maroons moved into a tie for first place in the league by topping the Eagles 80-71 in an offensive shootout.
No. 15-ranked UChicago improved to 14-3 overall (5-1 UAA), while No. 25-ranked Emory dropped to 14-3 (5-1 UAA).
The first quarter was a bonanza of offense. With a fast pace established, neither team could miss. They combined for 52 points while shooting 71 percent from the field. Senior forward Taylor Lake, sophomore guard Grace Hynes and senior guard Mia Farrell all went 3-for-3 from the field in the opening quarter to help the Maroons take a 27-25 lead. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles sank just about every open shot they attempted to keep pace.
Both offenses came back down to earth in the second quarter. Senior guard Miranda Burt broke a 27-27 tie with a three-pointer, then made a layup at 35-33. It stayed nip and tuck from there, and the halftime score stood at 45-40 in favor of the home team.
Emory came back firing in the third quarter, constantly swinging the ball around for open shots and hitting 75 percent of the field goal attempts in the period. The Eagles' defense also picked up and didn't allow easy access to the lane, frustrating UChicago's offense to shoot 33 percent. However, the Maroons made up for it with good offensive rebounding and drawing fouls. By the start of the fourth quarter, UChicago maintained its advantage 65-60.
A seven-point Maroon lead was chopped to two at 71-69 midway through the fourth. But Burt came through the very next possession by nailing a big momentum three. Then it was time for UChicago's defense to shine. The hosts contested every opportunity and held the visitors scoreless for the final 3:40 of game time to seal the victory.
All five Maroon starters reached double digits in points. Sophomore forward Klaire Steffens proved critical in the middle of the paint with 17 points and six rebounds. Hynes was active on the boards as well, pulling in a game-high eight rebounds to go with 13 points. Farrell and Lake scored 13 points each, while Burt added 10 points of her own.
Field goal percentages were nearly identical at 48.2 percent for Emory and 48.1 percent for UChicago. The Maroons made 7 of 18 threes (38.9 percent) while the Eagles converted 8 of 23 (34.8 percent). The big difference came at the free throw line which UChicago owned – 21 of 29 compared to 9 of 13.
The rebounding battle ended definitively in the hosts' favor 37-25, including a 13-7 margin on the offensive glass. Turnovers were basically equivalent at 12-11.
- Sunday, Feb. 2 @ 1:30 PM – University of Rochester at UChicago