It proved to be another outstanding weekend for the UR women’s basketball team. Last week, the women vaulted from No. 21 to No. 12 in the national ranking according to d3hoops.com, thanks to wins over New York University and Brandeis University. This week, they climbed two more spots in the national polls to their highest ranking of the season at No. 10. On Friday night, they added one more win to their 15-1 record when they defeated the Emory University Eagles, 57-54.
It was a rough start for the ‘Jackets, but they made an incredible comeback against the Eagles in the second half when they went on a 12-point run with 10:20 left in the game. Although the Eagles dominated the Yellowjackets in the paint, 32-18, UR proved its strength outside the 3-point line, especially in the second half, where they shot 57.1 percent from 3-point range.
Freshman guard Melissa Alwardt and junior forward Julie Marriott were quite impressive, with three back-to-back 3-pointers in less than three minutes, which brought the ‘Jackets within four points of the Eagles, making the score 49-45 with 4:35 left to play. Even though Emory came back to make it 54-49 with 2:58 to go, they were no match for the two 3-pointers by Alwardt and a steal leading to a lay-up by junior guard Helen Baroody, that gave UR the lead, 55-54, with 1:40 remaining to play. Junior guard Rachel Stern solidified a win for the ‘Jackets by sinking two free throws with 24 seconds to spare, finalizing the score at 57-54.
Alwardt had a game-high 14 points in her 20 minutes off the bench. Marriott also had a very noteworthy game with a team-high nine rebounds, 11 points and three blocks. The Yellowjackets were able to block 10 shots, thanks to three blocks from freshman forward Courtney Donovan. Overall, the game was a very impressive win for the ‘Jackets.
The ladies continued their winning streak on Sunday, when they defeated the Spartans of Case Western Reserve University. Once again, the Yellowjackets came back from behind to defeat the Spartans, 75-70. The ‘Jackets took the lead early in the game, leading the Spartans by eight, 24-16, with 10:46 to play in the first half. However, Case Western showed UR that they would not give up easily, sinking two 3-pointers and two free throws to tie the score, 24-24.
Case eventually took the lead, ending the first-half ahead by three points. The ‘Jackets continued to fall behind when the Spartans went on a 5-point run in the first four minutes of the second half, making the score 42-34. The tide began to change when Baroody sank a 3-pointer with 17:20 left to go in the game. The Yellowjackets continued to rally back and finally took the lead when junior guard Johanna McNelis sank another 3-pointer that made the score 57-56 with 7:59 to go. The lead continued to move between the ‘Jackets and the Spartans until Marriott sank a jumper with 6:43 to go, making the score 61-60. The women stayed strong and refused to give up the lead for the rest of the game finishing on top.
Alwardt had another incredible game as the team’s top scorer, with 16 points in her 26 minutes off UR’s bench. Junior forward Alex Porter, whose great playing put her on this week’s University Athletic Association Honor Roll, also had a remarkable game, scoring 11 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, which earned her the double-double. In addition, McNelis had a great game, scoring 11 points in her 19 minutes off the bench for UR. Currently, the ‘Jackets hold an undefeated record in the UAA, sitting at 5-0, and a 15-1 record overall.
With Washington University in St. Louis’s loss on Sunday to Brandeis and UR’s win, the Yellowjackets moved to the top of the UAA standings. Last year, UR tied for third in the conference. The girls are excited about their success, but they know that they still have work to do.
“I think we’ve worked harder than any of the teams and we deserve the wins, but this doesn’t mean we can stop trying,” Alwardt said. “This weekend against Wash U and [University of] Chicago will be really hard, but I am looking forward to the challenge.”
The women look for two more wins this weekend at home when they play Wash U, which is currently second in the UAA with a 4-1 record, on Friday night at 6 p.m. and Chicago, which is currently in third place in the conference with a 3-2 record, on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.
Hamilton is a member of the class of 2011.