To begin this year’s in-conference play the Maroons took on an undefeated WashU squad at home starting a stretch of 14 UAA games which will ultimately lead to the season’s conclusion.
Chicago (6–6, 0–1 UAA) fell to the Bears (12–0, 1–0) by a score of 65–52 snapping their three-game winning streak. Since December began, before Saturday’s loss, the South Siders had won five of their last seven.
Early in the first half the Maroons battled to stay within striking distance. With the game underway and almost three minutes into play first year Elizabeth Nye managed to steal the ball from WashU’s Alyssa Johanson. The possession ended successfully for Chicago as fourth-year Morgan Donovan passed the ball to second-year Britta Nordstrom who made the layup tying the game at four.
“My teammates put me in positions where I was able to be successful with my shot, whether it was from their passes, or on their drives that occupied multiple players,” said Nordstrom on her day which included a total of eight points going 4-6 from the field.
Unfortunately for Chicago, though, this would be the closest they would get to the Bears concluding the first half with a nine point deficit at 32-23. “Wash U is always a very disciplined team, and they scout us extremely well,” explained fourth-year Ellie Greiner about the Maroon’s lack of offensive might.
“I think this gave them the ability to predict our passes and decisions, and we didn't adjust well enough to get the easy shots we normally do on offense.”
Nevertheless, Greiner did not seem to be too predictable making four of six shots behind the arc ending her outing with 14 points and three rebounds.
“We were definitely excited to come out and play them, as we feel that we have something to prove,” said Nordstrom of the team’s mentality heading into the game. “We wanted to show that we are a much better team than our record shows.”
“Our entire team was extremely pumped up for this game. WashU is always our biggest rival, and their solid pre-conference record only increased our sense of urgency in practice and workouts leading up to the game,” noted Greiner of the added emotions circulating among the team with the knowledge that their rivals would pose a considerable challenge. “Unfortunately, this excitement showed itself in nerves which led us into some poor decisions.”
At the same time the team went through the structured preparation it prides itself on so as to not allow for their opponents to capitalize on avoidable mistakes. “We knew it was a big game but we prepared for this game the same as any other by watching film and learning their personnel,” commented Nye on the team’s preparation. “We prepared our defense for their offense so a lot of times it was just knowing where the ball was gonna be and being in the right place at the right time.”
This strategy worked well for Nye as she managed to accumulate four steals, seven points, and one assist over the course of the game. Nye also attributed her defensive prowess to the pressure her teammates put on the Bears’ offense which she believes led to poor WashU passes.
“We definitely learned that we can play with one of the best teams in the country. But we also learned that we have to do the big things, like rebounding and making good passes in order to do that. But those are things that we have in our control, so that’s definitely a positive,” said Nordstrom on what the team took away from the tough loss.
Nye may have summed up the team’s mentality going forward the most succinctly, however, stressing that “we’ll just continue to work hard everyday in practice to get better.”