Chicago (12–8, 6–3 UAA) is back in action this weekend with two enticing encounters against NYU (18–2, 7–2) on Friday and Brandeis (12–8, 6–3) on Sunday afternoon. The Maroons are currently riding a three-game winning streak following victories over Emory (15–5, 4–5) and Rochester (12–8, 2–7) at home this past weekend, and will look to extend this success on the road.
While Chicago’s first task against NYU appears daunting, given that the Violets are 12–0 at Palladium Athletic Facility, the South Siders like their chances at tarnishing this unbeaten record. Both teams indubitably remember their recent encounter on January 17 at Ratner Athletics Center, in which the Violets pulled off an 89–87 victory by the skin of their teeth. The game will also be fourth-year guard Maggie Ely’s final return to her old stomping grounds, where she spent her first two seasons before transferring to Chicago.
While first-year forward Britta Nordstrom has only one previous game against NYU under her belt, it appears that she understands the emotion and intensity behind these conference encounters.
“For me at least, the loss to NYU last time was the most disappointing loss of the season, and I think I speak for most of the team when I say that we think that they escaped last time,” Nordstrom said. “We’ll be coming out with a ton of fire, especially because it’s Maggie’s last game back there.”
Sunday’s game against Brandeis doesn’t appear to be any less rigorous for the Maroons, as the Judges have forged a six-game winning streak and a respectable 6–3 conference record thus far. While the Judges will look to force Chicago into turnovers, they average 9.7 steals a game and rely on the consistent play of fourth-year guard Kasey Dean, who has reached double-figures in her past five games. Look for Chicago’s well-balanced attack to take the game to Brandeis’s defense, which has limited opponents to 59.6 points per game and will do its best to inhibit Chicago’s guards from finding success on Sunday.
The Maroons’ performances throughout the season have been improving at the right time. Head coach Carissa Sain Knoche believes that this can be attributed to the hard work and opportunism they’ve demonstrated all season in practices.
“We’ve been very patient on the offensive end and have really started to execute some of the defensive things we’ve been working on in practice. The team plays tremendously hard, and this is what they are capable of when you put playing hard and playing smart together,” Sain Knoche said.
After these two games the Maroons will have three more home conference bouts against Carnegie Mellon (11–9, 2–7), Case Western (7–13, 1–8), and Washington (18–2, 8–1) to close out their season. These games will be pivotal in determining whether Chicago will be able to qualify for the NCAA DIII postseason tournament, and it will be intriguing to see how they turn out.
Tip-off in New York is scheduled for 5 p.m. this evening. Sunday’s game at Brandeis begins at 1 p.m.