Chicago women’s basketball hit the ground running on Saturday with a 10-point home win over non-conference opponent Lake Forest. The Maroons improved to 1–0 on the season, while the Foresters dropped to 0–1. The South Siders beat their opponents by a score of 56–46, playing stout defense and controlling the tempo all afternoon.
The Maroons relied on seemingly their entire roster to get the job done over the weekend. By the final whistle, 10 different players had found themselves on the court. Notably, first-year Katrina Williams found her way into the starting lineup and saw 22 total minutes of action. Many other young players were also integral to the team’s success on Saturday.
“With 10 underclassmen, the younger players are vital to our success every day both in practice and during games,” said fourth-year captain forward Caitlin Moore. “We are quite young, but it really isn’t noticeable to us because of how important they are to the team.”
The Maroons only have three upperclassmen on the active roster so younger players will continue to play a huge role all year.
The game was fiercely competitive from start to finish. Lake Forest managed to keep the score close in a game that featured eight lead changes. But in the end, the South Siders pulled away thanks to a couple of key defensive stops.
In fact, defense was a strong point for Chicago throughout the entire game. The Maroons snatched a remarkable 15 steals while also out-rebounding the Foresters 48–36. Third-year guard Stephanie Anderson was the biggest defensive standout, recording nine rebounds, three blocks, and three steals
However, again it was an underclassman who pushed the Maroons over the edge defensively. Anderson, a defensive juggernaut who has pestered UAA guards for years now, was joined by second-year guard Madison Dunbar. Dunbar pressured Lake Forest’s point guard in the backcourt to eventually snatch an easy steal off an inbounds late in the fourth quarter.
On the other side of the ball, the Maroons struggled a bit, converting just 36 percent of their field goal attempts. This was largely due to a handful of short-range misses. The Maroons also had trouble from the free throw line, sinking just 10 of 20 attempts. Encouragingly though, Moore and third-year forward Britta Nordstrom delivered strong individual performances, scoring 12 and 14 points, respectively. Nordstrom also racked up ten rebounds to complete a double-double.
“It was very important for us to be physically and mentally tough on defense and set the tone for the game,” Anderson said. “For this weekend, we will focus on having more efficient offensive possessions and taking care of the ball.”
All in all, the team is satisfied with the outcome and will be looking to carry the momentum from their opening-day win into the coming weekend.
“Starting the season with a victory is great,” Moore said. “That really has given us a little bit of confidence that will hopefully carry over to next week’s games.”
Coming up, the Maroons will play three times over a five-day stretch, including back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, when they host the UChicago Classic tournament on their own court. Chicago is set to take on the Milwaukee School of Engineering this Friday, November 20 at Ratner Athletic Center before battling UW–Stevens Point the very next day.