After a stellar first half of UAA competition, the first-place Maroons welcomed Case Western Reserve University to Hyde Park last Friday night. After handing Chicago its second conference loss of the season just one week prior, the CWRU Spartans failed to muster the same fourth-quarter heroics, falling to the South Siders by a final score of 87–74.
Paced by a career performance from fourth-year Britta Nordstrom, the Maroons led for all 40 minutes of action. Scoring 23 points on an efficient 10-for-11 shooting run, Nordstrom became just the 12th women’s basketball player in school history to surpass 1,000 career points.
First-year Miranda Burt had nothing but praise for Nordstrom, attributing the fourth-year’s achievement to her relentless work ethic. “Every practice, lift, and game she never gives anything less than her all, and holds all of us to the same standard,” Burt said. “She’s been a great example for me and the other freshmen on how to represent the women’s basketball program.”
Third-year Elizabeth Nye was also in double digits in Friday’s victory with 13 points, while Burt and second-years Ola Obi and Alyssa Clemente each chipped in eight points for the Maroons.
In their second matchup of the weekend, the South Siders finished the regular season sweep of Carnegie Mellon University in a Sunday matinee at Ratner Athletics Center. Highlighted by a school-record 15 three-pointers, the Maroons rolled the 20th-ranked Tartans to the tune of 88–39.
After trailing in the early going, first-year guard Mia Farrell provided the spark, contributing 5 points of an 11–0 run that put Chicago ahead 15–8. The offense took over from there, surging to a halftime lead of 49–26. It was all Chicago down the stretch, outscoring the Tartans 39–13 in the final 20 minutes of play.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Maroons picked up right where they left off. Forcing 31 Tartan turnovers just one week earlier, the Maroons grabbed 26 turnovers on Sunday, accounting for 28 points at the other end. Anchoring the defense was none other than Nordstrom, claiming four steals and seven rebounds on the day. Obi was also a force on the glass, grabbing eight boards in the victory.
Knotted with archrival Wash U atop the UAA standings, the first-place Maroons are in control of their postseason fate. Looking to capture its first UAA championship and automatic berth to the NCAA DIII tournament in five years, Chicago (14–6, 7–2 UAA) kicks off the all-important five-game stretch Friday evening by welcoming the University of Rochester Yellowjackets (15–5, 6–3 UAA) to Hyde Park. The Maroons will celebrate their seniors on Sunday in an afternoon contest against the Eagles of Emory University (13–7, 4–5 UAA). Friday’s tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
“We’re right where we want to be right now—controlling our own destiny,” Burt said. Referencing the possible winner-take-all season finale against Wash U, she added, “The biggest thing for us is taking advantage of every practice and game going forward. It’s easy to look ahead…but right now, taking it one day and one game at a time is our biggest concern.”