Women's basketball drops pair to ranked teams

The Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team squared off against two ranked University Athletic Association (UAA) teams this past weekend. The Tartans fell to the 11th-ranked Washington (Mo.) University Bears 72–55 on Friday. They then took on the visiting 22nd-ranked University of Chicago Maroons on Sunday, coming up just short, 65–56, in Skibo Gymnasium on senior day.

Against Wash. U. on Friday, the Tartans (8–16 overall, 2–11 in the UAA) opened up a 14–9 lead with 13:44 remaining in the first half before the Bears reeled off 13 straight points to take an eight-point lead. Wash. U. increased its lead to 11 before the Tartans made the last basket of the half. Sophomore forward Jeanette Schilling stole the ball, brought it up the court, and passed it to junior forward Leah Feola who was able to lay the ball in, sending the Tartans into halftime trailing 33–24.

The Bears built on their lead in the second half going up by as many as 26 points before Carnegie Mellon ended the game on a 12–3 run highlighted by three-pointers from first-year Paige Williamson and Feola.

Feola led the Tartans with 16 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Stacie Aleski added 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the loss.

Carnegie Mellon shot 33 percent from the floor compared to the Bears’ 46 percent. The Tartans committed 21 turnovers while the Bears turned the ball over 16 times.

In the first half on Sunday against Chicago, senior guard Ashley Mazziotta got the Tartans on the board with a lay-up and Aleski added a three-pointer to increase their lead to 5–1. The two teams played even basketball until the Tartans went cold from the field. Two Aleski free throws put Carnegie Mellon up 28–24 with 7:39 remaining, but the Maroons proceeded to go on a 12–1 run to go into halftime leading 36–29. Aleski led the Tartans with 10 points in the half.
The Tartans hung with the Maroons for most of the second half despite being badly out-rebounded. However, they were never able to get over the hump and pull into the lead. A layup by Feola at the 14:26 mark cut the deficit to three points at 42–39. Chicago answered with a pair of baskets and went on to increase its lead to 10. Carnegie Mellon trailed by only six at the 7:58 mark after a three-pointer by Williamson, but Chicago answered with a four-point play. The two teams played even basketball after that point, with the Maroons winning by nine.

“We played hard,” Aleski said. “We were really excited for this game, especially senior night and everything. Chicago’s a tough team and we thought we could take them. We hung in there, and were only down seven at halftime. It seems like every game there’s two or three possessions down the floor where we just aren’t able to finish and then the other team comes down and scores and we can never make up that gap.”

Aleski led the Tartans with 14 points and four assists. Mazziotta added a season-high 12 points and Feola contributed 10 points and a team-high six rebounds. The Maroons out-rebounded the Tartans 55–27 and shot 42 percent for the game while the Tartans finished the game shooting 33 percent.

“The seniors [Mazziotta and Nora Darcher] are awesome,” Aleski said. “They’re wonderful leaders on and off the floor. They’ve always been there for us for anything that we’ve ever needed.”

The Tartans will finish up their season on Saturday when they travel to play the University of Rochester.

“Our goal next Saturday is to keep playing with them and hopefully come out with a ‘W,’ ”Aleski said.