The University of Chicago women’s basketball team captured their 14th-straight victory after dominating performances in the second halves against Emory University and the University of Rochester. With a record of 16–2 (7–0 in UAA play), the Maroons are ranked No. 1 in the University Athletic Association, as they end the Rochester Yellowjackets’ 11-game winning streak.
While the visitors were up 19–14 in the first quarter, the Emory Eagles rallied to cut the lead to one point (40–39) as the first half ended. The second half was in the Maroons’ favor, as they outscored their opponents in the two quarters that remained, with the third quarter being their most explosive. UChicago outscored Emory 22–8 in the third, with contributions from third-year Olariche Obi and second-years Mia Farrell and Taylor Lake. This game also saw action from first-year Marissa Igunbor, who scored 10 points and six rebounds in the 18 minutes she played.
The Maroons led by as many as 21 points in their 79–61 victory. Obi ended the night with 22 points, five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Lake added 17 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks. The Maroons shot an impressive 55.6 percent from the field, while the hosts shot 37.3 percent. While Emory had the advantage in assists (13–11 margin) and bench points (19–13 margin), both teams were neck and neck in rebounds (34), with turnovers (20) leading to the Eagles’ defeat.
The Maroons struggled early on against No. 7 Rochester, who took a 9–2 lead. However, they immediately erased this deficit with a 13–3 run, where layups made by Obi and Lake gave UChicago the lead at 19–14 as the second quarter started. Obi went on to lead the team in points, rebounds, and assists, with 22, 11, and two respectively. This was her 10th double-double this season. The effort Obi put in was seen through how she maintained pressure on the offensive side, scoring 12 points and having seven rebounds in just the first half.
Rochester was not fazed, playing to their abilities and lowering the deficit to one. Obi and Farrell responded with points of their own to give UChicago a 32–26 lead at halftime. The Maroons increased their momentum in the third quarter with second-year Miranda Burt scoring from three-point range and Farrell scoring a jumper and making two free throws. Farrell would end the game with 16 points and three rebounds. The Maroons continued to control in the fourth quarter, outscoring their opponents 21–15 for the 74–59 victory. The Maroons shot 42.3 percent from the field, driving and scoring more inside the paint by a 48–32 margin. They also shot 33.3 percent from the three, compared to Rochester’s 15.4 percent. UChicago took advantage of the 21 turnovers the Yellowjackets had in order to score 20 points.
When asked about the strategy employed in these games, Burt said, “We play a tough style of defense that really wears our opponents out. We really just go in at halftime and commit to still playing as hard as we did in the first half. We wear our opponents down and it really shows in the second half. Both Emory and Rochester are incredibly talented teams. Winning this weekend the way we did definitely increases our confidence. We will look at the film and see what we can improve on, but we want to play even better this weekend. I think they will both come in wanting to avenge their losses, so we are excited to get an even tougher challenge from them.”
The Maroons will face off against Emory University on February 2 at 6 p.m.