The Maroon women’s basketball team started the season off strong on Wednesday with a suffocating defensive display against Lake Forest College. The UChicago defense held the Foresters to a pitiful 10 points in the first half and only two points in the entire first quarter. With the Maroons taking a commanding 44–10 lead at halftime, the game as a contest was over unless there was a monumental collapse.
However, compared to the first two quarters, the Maroons struggled to begin the second half, allowing 16 points in the third quarter. This is forgivable, though, considering the huge lead potentially leading to the lack of laser focus to begin the third quarter. UChicago ended up closing a dominating win by a margin of 44 points, 76–32.
There are some aspects to improve on for the No. 22 team in DIII. For example, first-year Ionie Banner lamented the number of turnovers (23) that the team committed. “To play a more complete game, we need to stop rushing and play smarter to avoid silly turnovers.”
Given that it was the first game of the year, turnovers were always going to be a problem. Hopefully, further along into the season, the team will become more in sync with each other, resulting in fewer turnovers. The way that the Maroons counteracted their own turnover numbers was to force the Foresters to commit 29 of them. Aside from that sloppy play, it was a dream start to the season for the Maroons, with a comprehensive display.
The games come quickly for the Maroons with their next game this Saturday at 1 p.m. against No. 25 Illinois Wesleyan. It will be a stiffer test than what the Foresters were able to put up, and should be an early measuring stick for the potential of the upcoming season. Last year, UChicago struggled against Illinois Wesleyan, losing by 27 on the road.
The main factor that resulted in that loss was the number of turnovers. Illinois Wesleyan plays a very aggressive full-court press that resulted in a staggering 44 points off turnovers in the previous matchup. It is vital that the Maroons break down this press to have a good chance of winning this game. The team will have to improve on their turnovers from their last game, and be cautious with their passes. The main key against a full-court press will be to not panic, and to pass the ball instead of dribbling through the entire team. No matter what, the press will add excitement to the match and will probably create a back-and-forth, high-tempo game. It will be perfect for fans to come in and hide from the increasingly cold weather.