Last week, the Maroons defeated No. 23 UT Dallas before suffering their first loss of the season against Carthage on Sunday at the Ratner Center. Chicago now stands at 4–1 overall. Despite the loss, the team’s exceptional start to the year is the best debut it has seen since the 2011–2012 regular season campaign, during which it went undefeated.
Before taking some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday, the squad defeated the Comets of UT Dallas by a score of 75–46. With a couple of starters in foul trouble, the Maroons looked to the bench for some increased output. Remarkably, Chicago’s bench doubled the scoring output of their opponent’s supporting cast, amassing 42 points to the Comets’ 21.
The South Siders dominated on both sides of the ball, converting on more than half of their field goal attempts, while holding their opponents to 32.7 percent. Furthermore, Chicago was deadly from long-range, sinking nine three-pointers over the course of the game. Their adversaries, on the other hand, missed all ten of their long-range attempts.
Second-year guard Madison Dunbar led the offensive charge with 16 points. In addition, her energy on defense propelled the Maroons forward as she snagged three steals and forced a slew of other turnovers. Second-year Katie Anderson and first-year Olariche Obi were also big contributors, scoring eight and 11 points, respectively.
“I think we prepared well for a style of play that we don't see a lot. We kept our composure against their run-and-jump press and made sure to get good looks on offense,” Dunbar said after the game.
Following the short holiday break, Chicago returned to action on Sunday facing Carthage College. Despite holding a 13-point lead at halftime, the Maroons were unable to seal the deal and eventually fell to the Lady Reds by a margin of 64–57. With this result, Carthage improved to 4–0 on the year, while Chicago fell to 4–1.
Against Carthage, the Maroons jetted off to a fast start, scoring 21 first quarter points. Then, in the second quarter, Chicago accumulated another 16 points, while holding the opponent to just nine. Third-year forward Britta Nordstrom shone during that span, recording 10 points and four assists.
However, coming out of halftime, the Reds found a spark. They scored 20 points in each of the final two quarters, while holding the Maroons to half that number. Notwithstanding a strong push in the final minutes, Chicago ultimately suffered a seven-point loss.
“We came out very strong against Carthage. When we played our game and bought into who we are as a team, we dominated,” Dunbar said. “However, we went away from that in the third quarter and never gained the momentum back.”
Nordstrom finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds. Obi, who found herself in the starting lineup for the first time this season, managed to grab 13 boards while also scoring eight points. Starting guards, second-year Elizabeth Nye and third-year Stephanie Anderson, dropped seven points each while Dunbar added nine off the bench.
Ultimately, the squad will be looking to bounce back when they take on Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday. The Titans currently stand at 3–2 and will take on Rose–Hulman prior to their clash with the Maroons. This weekend, Chicago will look to channel the consistency that they played with in the first four games of the season.
Looking ahead to the weekend, Dunbar said, “We need to get back to who we are as a team. We pride ourselves on things like toughness and rebounding, so we need to refocus on that for this Saturday.”
Echoing a similar testament, Nye added, “We need to focus on what makes us so good. We have to buy into our principles and stick to them for the full 40 minutes.”
Chicago is set to face Illinois Wesleyan at 1 p.m. on Saturday, December 5. This match will conclude the Maroons’ six-game opening home stand; the squad will then hit the road for eight consecutive away contests.