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January 18, 2011

Women's basketball wins sixth, seventh in a row

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The Maroons won their seventh straight game over Emory on Sunday, pushing their overall record to 11–3 and 3–0 in the UAA. The Eagles, struggling against Chicago’s typically suffocating defense, shot only 38.7 percent from the field and 33 percent from behind the arc. The Maroons were also dominant offensively, scoring 54 points in the paint compared to Emory’s 16.

Taylor Simpson, who had 22 points to lead all scorers and grabbed 13 rebounds, dominated the low-court. Meghan Herrick continued her streak of double-digit scoring games by ripping off 21 points on an efficient 11 of 18 shooting. Herrick, also a facilitator on offense, handed out eight assists.

Chicago’s win over Emory was preceded by an even bigger win over fifth-ranked Rochester during the annual Beach Night festivities on Friday. Rochester came into the game with two players shooting 50 percent or greater from beyond the arc, and against the Maroons, the Yellowjackets were only able to covert five of 18 three-pointers. Chicago scored 27 points off turnovers, propelling the Maroon to an 87–59 blowout win.

At one point, the Maroons’ lead ballooned to 30, and Chicago didn’t trail after the midway mark in the first half.

First-year forward Corey Mulder, whose efficient shooting led to 18 points on the night, displayed Chicago’s promising youth.

“Corey Mulder works so hard in practice. I think she is a great player and like any other freshman, you have to get your feet wet. I think Corey is getting over her freshman nerves and is playing well,” Meghan Herrick said.

Head coach Aaron Roussell attributed Mulder’s improved play to the work that she has put into practice against older players. “She has worked incredibly hard lately and her confidence has grown with each game,” Roussell said. “Going against some of our older players in practice has been good for her, and if she can continue to improve play consistently, it is only going to help our team.”

After the impressive Rochester win, Roussell was quick to remind his team that there was still work to be done.

“If you allow yourself to get comfortable, the teams in this league will humble you pretty quickly,” Roussell said. He also added that the team’s chemistry on the court helps them to stay focused, regardless of the opponent. “This is a team that has fun playing together, so they get up for any chance to showcase that,” Roussell said.

The Maroons are peaking at just the right time. They haven’t lost since starting 4–3, and in the seven games since then, they’ve defeated three ranked opponents: fifth-ranked Carthage (now unranked), fifth-ranked Wash U (now tenth), and fifth-ranked Rochester.

Meghan Herrick attributed the improved play to the team’s ability to gel since the beginning of the season.

“To start out the season, we were still learning about one another,” Herrick said. “Within the past few weeks, we have really gelled as a team. We have so many offensive threats that by moving the ball around and cutting we will find openings and easy baskets.”

Herrick also echoed Roussell’s thoughts on maintaining high intensity as the season progresses. “Once again, the UAA is one of the toughest conferences around. Regardless of these big wins we have had in the past few weeks, our battle is not over. We could go far into the tournament because we are good enough. But if we do well in UAA, it will be a great determinant as to how good our team actually is,” said Herrick.

The Maroons travel to Boston this weekend to face off against unranked Brandeis. The game tips at 6 p.m. Friday.

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