In a dead heat atop the UAA going into the weekend, the first-place Maroons headed east on Friday for the final time this season to take on conference opponents Brandeis University and NYU. After picking up two more victories and extending their win streak to seven games, the Maroons now stand just one victory away from capturing the UAA Championship and automatically qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
In Friday night’s battle, foul trouble forced Chicago to look to the bench early. In a first half that featured thirteen different Maroon scorers, the visitors adjusted to the adversity and carried a 36–30 advantage into halftime. Picking up key points in the paint during the 13–2 second-quarter Maroon run, fourth-year Michelle Dobbs paced the visitors with six points at the break.
The Maroons found an offensive spark coming out of the locker room, pushing the lead to nine points by the middle of the third frame. After a 12–2 run by the hosts that quickly closed the gap, first-year Miranda Burt converted from deep to give Chicago a two-point edge heading into the fourth quarter. After trading buckets for most of the frame, Chicago found a way to pull ahead in the closing minute. Capturing its sixth straight conference victory, Chicago defeated Brandeis with a final score of 69–66.
Returning to the hardwood, the Maroons traveled to the Big Apple on Sunday to take on the Violets of NYU. Showing no signs of fatigue, the Chicago defense imposed its will on the hosts, limiting NYU to just thirteen first-half points. Fourth-year Stephanie Anderson, third-year Elizabeth Nye, and second-year Ola Obi also led the way offensively, each scoring double figures for the Maroons. In a rather low-scoring game, Chicago cruised to its seventh consecutive victory with a score of 59–37.
Chicago’s seven-game win streak sets the stage for a winner-take-all matchup in St. Louis next Saturday against archrival No. 7 Wash U (22–2, 11–2 UAA). The Maroons and Bears have accounted for all but one conference championship since the turn of the millennium, with Wash U tallying a remarkable twelve UAA championships in that span. Said fourth-year Stephanie Anderson, “We have put ourselves in a great position this year. I’m so excited that this final game has the opportunity to mean so much more than just a rivalry match.”