The Maroons (7–7, UAA 1–2) endured a rollercoaster weekend of games, falling short against the No. 23 NYU Violets (13–1, 2–1) 87–89 on Friday evening in a close loss, but defeating Brandeis (6–8, 0–3) 97–81 on Sunday to regain the taste of victory.
The Violets put their undefeated record on the line as they tipped off against the Maroons Friday at Neon Night. While both managed to score regularly and change leads, it didn’t take long before NYU realized its perfect season was in jeopardy. Seven minutes in, Chicago capitalized on several NYU turnovers to go on an 8–2 run, which increased the Maroons’ lead to 11 points at 30–19. Although the visitors stayed within striking distance, the game appeared to be out of hand as Chicago went on an offensive tear to take a commanding 48–31 lead following a three-pointer from second-year guard Caitlin Moore. The Violets had other plans, though, responding with a 7–0 run of their own in the span of three minutes to maintain hope for a win heading into half-time.
While Chicago took a solid 55–43 lead into the break, NYU responded fiercely by reeling off five layups in the first four minutes of the second half, dwindling the Maroons’ lead to five points. While the rest of the second half was an intense and evenly matched battle, the Violets regained their lead with just under two minutes to play and converted enough free throws down the stretch to stave off any Maroon comeback.
“This weekend really emphasized to us the importance of playing all 40 minutes of a game. You have to play well the entire game in order to win in our conference, and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that. Hopefully we can learn from the loss and use it to improve going forward,” fourth-year guard Julie Muguira said. She led Chicago with 20 points.
Sunday afternoon offered an opportunity for the Maroons to forget Friday’s emotional loss. Chicago made good on this opportunity through a well-balanced attack in which six players entered double figures, allowing the Maroons to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the second half. While the run of play was fairly balanced between both teams for much of the first half, a 10-point spurt with around two minutes to go allowed Chicago to take a 37–30 advantage into the locker room.
In the second half, the South Siders made sure that they wouldn’t fall prey to the same outcome as their previous game, making good on a number of offensive possessions to outscore the Judges 13–6 in the first five minutes. From then on, Chicago didn’t look back, seeing through a 97–81 victory that gave them their first conference victory and brought them back to .500 on the season.
The victory on Sunday gave the Maroons the opportunity to share the wealth on offense, as first-year forward Britta Nordstrom and guards Muguira, fourth-year Maggie Ely, Moore, third-year Morgan Donovan, and third-year Claire Devaney all surpassed 10 points, with Devaney achieving a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Next up on the Maroons’ schedule are four conference road games, the first of which will be against Carnegie Mellon (10–4, 1–2) tonight.