SPORTS

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January 21, 2011

Seven-game win streak on the line at Brandeis

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The 11–3 women’s basketball team takes its seven–game winning streak on the road this weekend with games at Brandeis (9–5, 1–2 UAA) and NYU (8–6, 2–1). Entering the road trip tied for first place in the UAA, the Maroons have yet to face a conference challenger on the road.

“All we have done up to this point is win our home games,” head coach Aaron Roussell said. “To really prove that you are a good team, you have to show that you can win road games.”

Third-year forward Taylor Simpson has emerged as the top scoring and rebounding threat on the Chicago squad this season, averaging 14.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Despite her own success, Simpson believes that the Maroons will have to play well as a team in order to come away with two victories this weekend. “Lately, we have been successful playing together as a team, which is crucial for us to carry over to this first road trip. We are going to have to feed off each other even more without the energy of a home crowd,” she said.

Roussell, however, seems unfazed by the challenges that come with playing on the road. “I don’t know how much the travel plays a factor, to be honest,” he said. “This team is so mentally tough that they should be able [to play well] on the road.”

Last season, the Maroons went 5–2 on the road in the UAA, and 6–1 at home. They are 4–3 on the road this season and undefeated at home.

The Maroons are the favorites heading into this weekend’s contests. They swept both Brandeis and NYU last season and, thanks to their recent win streak, are ranked 16th.

“I definitely feel like we have put a target on our back, but that just means we have to go into every game that much more focused and energized,” said Simpson. “We know we are going to get our opponents best effort.”

Both Simpson and Roussell stressed the importance of approaching the season one game at a time and not getting caught up in the hype surrounding national prominence.

“I have no idea where we should be ranked,” Roussell said, “and to be honest, it doesn’t really matter—the only thing we are focused on is winning our next game and continuing to improve so we reach our potential by season’s end.”

As for Simpson, she knows that the Maroons need to guard themselves against complacency. “We have to go into every game like it is the championship,” she said.

The Maroons face Brandeis at 5 p.m. tonight and NYU at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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