Just one week after falling to the University of Chicago for its first loss of the season, the UR women’s basketball team regained its winning ways.

The now third-ranked team, according to the d3hoops.com national poll, defeated both the Case Western Reserve University Spartans and the Emory University Eagles on the road, improving its record to 6-1 in the University Athletic Association and 17-1 overall.

The ‘Jackets took an early lead over the Spartans, going on an 11-2 run in the first five minutes of play.

The attack was led by senior forward Julie Marriott, who had 10 first-half points.
A balanced UR defense allowed Case Western to score only 17 first-half points, holding the team to five of 17 shooting from the field.

At the start of the second half, Case Western rallied and began to chip away at the 27-17 deficit. The Spartans were within six 1:40 into the half the closest they would ever come to the Yellowjackets.

Junior guard Jessica Mastronardi sparked an 8-0 UR run, hitting a 3-pointer. Senior guard Johanna McNelis finished off the run with two successful free-throws and another 3-pointer.

UR widened its lead to 17 points the largest lead of the game with 6:11 to play.
The Spartans made a futile attempt at a comeback, coming within 12 with 5:30 left, but sophomore guard Melissa Alwardt hit a 3-pointer to end that run. The ‘Jackets continued to play strong defense for the duration of the game and ultimately came away with a 63-51 win.

Marriott tallied 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block in the game against Case Western. She was the only UR player to score in double figures and credited the ‘Jackets’ defense as a leading factor in the win.

‘We did a good job defensively, especially after letting Chicago put up 71 last weekend,” Marriott said. ‘We took Case out of everything they like to do.”

Senior forward Alex Porter contributed nine points, six steals and six rebounds in the win. She is now second in both career steals and rebounds at UR.

Junior guard Ariel Evans scored seven points and grabbed five boards, while McNelis had seven points.

Two days later, UR faced the Eagles in Atlanta, Ga. The Yellowjackets maintained momentum from the win against Case Western by halftime, they held a 31-24 lead over Emory.

At the start of the second half, UR came out with a 10-0 run, paced by Porter and Mastronardi.

Defensively, the ‘Jackets didn’t allow Emory to score for the first five minutes of play in the second half. By the 12:30 mark, the Eagles had scored only five points. The ‘Jackets maintained their lead throughout the second half.

With only a few minutes left to play, UR’s shooting went cold, so they relied on their solid defense to keep their cushion.

‘We came into this game very wary of Emory,” head coach Jim Scheible said. ‘They have a 9-1 record on this court, and we knew we had to be prepared to play them. I think we played great first-half defense. We also executed well at the start of the second half.”

Porter scored 21 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to tally her sixth double-double of the season. She also had two steals in the ‘Jackets’ 63-49 victory over Emory.

‘We left this gym with a good win,” Porter said. ‘I thought we played all 40 minutes aggressively, and I’m happy with how we left. Emory always comes to play, and we definitely matched their aggression.”

Alwardt, Marriot and freshman forward Jodie Luther were also key performers in the win.

Alwardt scored 14 points, including four 3-pointers. Marriott contributed six points and nine rebounds to the effort, and Luther racked up 11 points.

The ‘Jackets are now 6-1 in the UAA at the halfway point of the conference season.

‘We’re obviously happy [with our record] at this point, but we know we have a long way to go,” Scheible said.

The players acknowledge that same fact but remain confident despite their loss last weekend.

With the goal of a national championship in mind, the Yellowjackets are well aware of the amount of work they have to put in to achieve it.

‘We’re not going to stop,” Porter said. ‘We’re still going strong.”

Hilliard is a member of the class of 2010.



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