The Emory women’s basketball team lost two games over the weekend, stringing together a season-worst four-game losing streak. Emory fell to the Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) Bears Friday and the University of Chicago (Ill.) Maroons Sunday. After the pair of losses, the Eagles are now 13-9 overall and 4-7 in University Athletic Association (UAA) competition.
Emory looked to upset No. 9 Washington on the road in a fierce offensive game Friday. The Eagles fell behind early, trailing Washington by six points by the end of the first quarter. While Emory played toe to toe with the Bears in the early stages of the first, Washington eventually pulled away from Emory and established a 19-13 lead.
Having to play catch-up, the Eagles began to chip away at Washington’s lead in the second. The squad outscored Washington in the quarter 18-16. Senior guard Shellie Kaniut was instrumental in securing the team’s success in the quarter, marking 12 points. Kaniut also hit two of two attempts from behind the three-point line.
Down 35-31 to start the second half, Emory inched within one point of Washington two times before the final two minutes of the quarter. The dynamic offensive duo of Kaniut and sophomore center Ashley Oldshue helped Emory challenge Washington’s lead as the two combined for 15 points in the third quarter.
Trailing by only one point with just over two minutes left to play in the third, Emory fell further behind Washington. The Bears went on a 8-2 run to end the quarter and handed Emory a seven point deficit to make up for in the fourth.
Despite the team’s best efforts, the Eagles could never quite tie the game in the final quarter. Washington held off the Eagles and continued to capitalize offensively until the final buzzer. The final score was 82-78, Washington.
Oldshue considered Washington to be a challenging match-up for Emory due to their coaching and stature.
“Washington has a really well-coached offense,” Oldshue said. “In terms of size they are also a hard match-up for us.”
Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty considered Friday’s game to be one of her team’s best performances despite the final result.
“Friday night was one of our best games of the year,” Thomaskutty said. “We battled through adversity, withstood every run that Washington made; I thought we executed incredibly well and we got contributions from many different players.”
After a tough loss Friday, the Eagles looked to salvage the weekend with a win against Chicago Sunday. However, the Eagles were tasked with defeating the Maroons without their star player and leader Kaniut, due to a lingering knee injury. Unfortunately, Emory missed her presence as the team suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season.
Speaking about playing without Kaniut, Oldshue said her team lost an important player, but they were confident that other players would step up.
“Shellie has been a huge presence on our team all year and the past couple of games,” Oldshue said. “However, we have a lot of other talent that could step up offensively.”
Additionally, Oldshue made note of the new responsibilities of her peers and in particular, senior guard Fran Sweeney, who stepped up as the team’s number one at the point.
“Fran Sweeney was playing our one, which she hasn’t done all year,” Oldshue said. “We were definitely out of our comfort zone, but everyone was working really hard knowing Shellie wasn’t there.”
Emory started off the game relatively strong, claiming an eight point lead early on in the first quarter. Freshman guard Allison Chernow and Oldshue stepped up in the absence of Kaniut to give their team an early scoring lead. Despite their efforts, Chicago began to click on offense towards the end of the quarter and edged a 18-17 lead.
The Eagles struggled to answer Chicago in the second quarter as the team’s deficit grew by eight points. Emory yielded 21 points to Chicago and found themselves down by nine points at the half.
Emory came out of the locker room flat in the second half and trailed by as many as 20 points in the third quarter. Oldshue led an offensive push towards the end of the quarter to keep the game in reach. Ultimately the Eagles fell behind 61-49 headed into the fourth.
Chicago glided to a victory in the final quarter as the Eagles failed to muster any semblance of a comeback. The Maroons’ lead continued to grow until the final buzzer and the Eagles were finally slain. Chicago ended the game with a 77-56 victory over Emory.
Thomaskutty was impressed with her team’s performance in the first half, but thought the team ran out of gas in the second.
“We came out and battled really well in the first half,” Thomaskutty said. “It could have been a lack of depth, but I don’t think we had a lot left in the tank in the second half.”
Emory looks to redeem themselves on their home court Friday, Feb. 17, as they host the Carnegie Mellon University (Penn.) Tartans.