Women's basketball defeated twice at Skibo

The University of Chicago Maroons and Washington (Mo.) University Bears came to Pittsburgh this past weekend, with the Carnegie Mellon women’s basketball team winding up on the losing end of both games. The Maroons defeated the Tartans 84–53 Friday night, and the Bears edged the Tartans 54–47 Sunday afternoon. Carnegie Mellon now stands at 7–11 overall and 0–7 in the University Athletic Association (UAA).

On Friday, Chicago got out to a 17–2 lead five minutes into the game before the Tartans went on a 16–4 run, cutting the deficit to 21–18 midway through the first half. Junior guard Colleen Light scored seven points, including a three-pointer, during the offensive surge. Chicago scored the next 13 points, however, and went into halftime leading 46–31 after having shot nearly 67 percent from the floor in the first half.

In the second half, Chicago’s 12-person rotation gradually wore down Carnegie Mellon, playing with only nine healthy players. The Tartans had trouble making baskets in the second half, shooting only 22 percent from the field, although a layup from senior forward Leah Feola narrowed the score to 62–44 with 12:02 left in the game. The Maroons hit 11 straight points to rebuild their lead to 29 with 8:03 remaining, and Chicago led by as much as 34 before eventually winning by 31.

“Normally you go into a game thinking you have to stop one or two players, and with Chicago you have to stop them all because they’re all equally talented,” said junior forward Rachelle Roll. “When they have five fresh players coming in off the bench who are as equally talented, it gets tough. With us being limited, we’re working hard against their starters, but then the second five enter the game fresh and we have to try ... equally hard against them.”

Light finished with a season-high 18 points, leading Carnegie Mellon. Junior point guard Stacie Aleski added 16 points (off of four three-pointers) and five assists in the loss. Roll led the Tartans with nine rebounds. Chicago shot 55.4 percent from the field for the game, whereas the Tartans ended at 30.4 percent.

Baskets were scarce for both teams in the first half of the game against the Wash. U. Bears on Sunday, as both teams shot under 30 percent in the first 20 minutes. Washington started 2–17 from the field, and the Tartans worked up to an 11–5 lead at the 9:46 mark. The Bears regained the lead with an additional five points, though Carnegie Mellon junior guard Meghan Macguire dropped in a three-pointer with 14 seconds left in the half to reduce the Tartans’ halftime deficit to four, trailing 24–20.
Washington regained a double-digit lead by scoring the first six points of the second half. The Tartans strung together an 8–2 run to pull to within six (45–39) at the 4:20 mark. Junior forward Jeanette Schilling sandwiched a layup in between two of sophomore guard Paige Williamson’s three-pointers. The Bears, however, scored seven straight to lead by 13 with 1:52 remaining. Williamson and Aleski each hit a three-pointer down the stretch, with Aleski’s coming at the buzzer. The Tartans ended down seven, 54–47.

“Today was a really good effort,” Roll said on Sunday. “Chicago was one of the better teams we faced, and after the hard loss to them on Friday, to come in here, with Washington equally tough, and to only lose by single digits was pretty good. It’s getting better and we have a lot to work on, but in terms of chemistry, hustle, and defense, today was quite an improvement over the rest of the season. They average 70 points a game, and to hold them to well beneath that today was a good accomplishment for our defense.”

Williamson’s three three-pointers propelled her to a team-high 11 points, and Aleski and Schilling chipped in with 10 points apiece. Roll led the team with 11 rebounds, and Feola scored nine points and corralled 10 rebounds in the loss.

“Every game is a fight, there are no easy wins in the UAA,” Aleski said. “We are just trying to grow and improve. You can never look ahead; you have to take it one game at a time. Focus on one game and hope for the best. It’s a struggle all the way through.”
The Tartans take on Wash. U. again away on Friday.