The UChicago women’s basketball team fought a tough battle for their final game of the season this past Friday against Oglethorpe University. The teams took turns taking the lead, going back and forth 17 times. Ultimately, Oglethorpe won 57–51 in the NCAA Division III first round in Lexington, Kentucky. It was a disappointing end to a successful season. But there is still plenty of cause to celebrate the achievements of individual players and the team as a whole.
It was UChicago’s third consecutive appearance at an NCAA tournament, and the eighth time in the program’s history. With a 19–7 season record, the Maroons were ready to face the Stormy Petrels, who boasteda similarly impressive record of 22–6 overall. Led by head coach Carissa Sain, the Maroon team has only gotten better, making it to the NCAA second round in the past two seasons.
For fourth-years Olariche Obi and Jamie Kockenmeister, Friday’s game was a strong final showing to end their basketball careers at the University of Chicago. Earlier in the season, Obi was picked as the University Athletic Association (UAA) Defensive Player of the Year.She finished her career with 1076 points and 903 rebounds.
On Friday, Obi led the team with 11 points, seven rebounds, and six steals. Kockenmeister broke a 38–38 tie in the first few seconds of the fourth-quarter with a three-pointer, immediately followed by a smooth layup by third-year Miranda Burt. This pulled the Maroons into their largest leadof the game at five points, 43–38.
The game really came down to the last two minutes of the fourth quarter. UChicago had the lead, 51–49. With 1:40 left in the game, Oglethorpe’s Karlymarie Dyer made a three-pointer, giving them a one-point lead. Three back-to-back fouls tipped them over the edge and sealed the deal for the Stormy Petrels as they made five out of their six free throws. With seconds to go, the Maroons didn’t have a chance to bounce back.
It’s sad to say goodbye to Obi and Kockenmeister, two players with a strong four-year career. But based onthe performances ofthethird-years on the team, it looks like they are in a good place for next year. With an impressive team-high of 11 rebounds and four assists, third-year Taylor Lake gave proof of that. Mia Farrell, another third-year, was also a force tobe reckoned with on the court. She took the shots when it mattered, bringing the Maroons into the lead twice during the second quarter and contributing 10 points overall. The team is on an upward trajectory, and it’s an exciting time to be a Maroon.