The UR women’s basketball team split its last road trip of the season, defeating the University of Chicago Maroons on Friday and falling to the Spartans of Washington University in St. Louis on Sunday.

The Yellowjackets lost to the Maroons and beat the Bears earlier this season.

In Friday’s game, the ‘Jackets got off to a slow start they were scoreless for nearly the first four minutes of play.

Within just one minute, however, UR went on a 7-0 run and took the lead by three. The Yellowjackets battled hard to widen the lead but could not gain a comfortable advantage over the Maroons in the first 20 minutes of play.

With one minute and 47 seconds remaining until halftime, junior guard Jessica Mastronardi hit a 3-pointer to widen UR’s lead to eight.

Chicago answered back with two quick layups, and UR led at the half, 30-26.

At the beginning of the second half, both teams continued to battle back-and-forth against one another.

It was not until around the midpoint of the half that senior forward Alex Porter scored a layup and widened the lead to 12 for the Yellowjackets.

Chicago was not ready to give in with nearly four minutes left on the clock, the team chipped away at the margin until it was within one.

Porter made a layup and Mastronardi hit a jumper to open the lead to five.

Chicago responded with two points from the charity stripe, but senior guard Johanna McNelis made one of her two free throws to keep a four-point advantage for the ‘Jackets.

The next trip down the floor, Chicago hit a layup to come within two.

With 22 seconds left in the game, the Bears were forced to foul sophomore guard Melissa Alwardt, who made both of her free throws to seal the win.

‘Both teams were going at it really hard,” head coach Jim Scheible said. ‘I’m really proud of my players. They stepped up and got defensive stops when they needed to and got a couple big rebounds at the end [of the game].”

Alwardt led UR with 15 points and four assists. She hit three of her four shots from behind the arc.

Porter had her ninth double-double of the season, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. She also recorded three steals in the win.

The Yellowjackets’ next contest against Wash U began in their favor. With 16:21 left in the first half, UR led, 10-4, due largely in part to two 3-pointers from Alwardt.

The Bears got right back in the game, though, and soon tied it at 10.

The ‘Jackets wrestled back the lead and continued to stay on top for the majority of the first half, until Wash U made a free throw with 3:32 left in the half. The free throw enabled the Bears to take the lead by one.

The Bears finished out the half with a 14-0 run and UR trailed, 19-29, at the half.

The Yellowjackets went scoreless for nearly the last five minutes of the half. The lack of effective offense led the Bears to gain a comfortable advantage that they never lost.

‘They tightened up their defense at the end of the first half and pulled away,” Scheible said. ‘They got up by 10, and we couldn’t get back in it.”

In the second half, Wash U’s solid defense made it difficult for UR to gain any control of the game.

With 10:52 left on the game clock, the ‘Jackets came within nine with a jumper from Mastronardi.

The Bears quickly responded with a 6-0 run.

Despite a valiant effort, the ‘Jackets could not gain control for the duration of the game.

The final score was 65-52, a low-scoring game for two defense-oriented teams.

Alwardt led the Yellowjackets in scoring with 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Senior forward Julie Marriott added 10 points to the effort.

With the win, Wash U secures the first place position in the University Athletic Association ranking, while the ‘Jackets stay in second.

UR has yet to win in St. Louis, as the team has gone 0-21 on their court.

‘I give [Wash U] credit,” Schieble said. ‘They’re a good team and very tough to beat at home.”

The Yellowjackets are currently 10-3 in the UAA and 20-4 overall.

They wrap up their regular season next weekend at home, where they face the Tartans of Carnegie Mellon University.

Hilliard is a member of the class of 2010.

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