Women’s Basketball Splits Weekend Games Against UAA Powerhouses

After a strong fight and close 56-53 loss in overtime to Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) on last Friday, the No. 20-ranked Eagles came back with an 80-64 decision over the University of Chicago at home on Sunday.

The No. 3-ranked Wash. U Bears beat the Eagles by only three points after a foul shot in overtime. Emory finished shooting 29.2 percent from the field while the Bears shot 34.9 percent.

Junior Selena Castillo hit six out of 13 field goal attempts, including three three-pointers. She was recognized and named athlete-of-the-week for her success from three-point range.

Senior Misha Jackson built on her recent success with 13 points and 16 rebounds. This was her sixth double-double of the year.

“Misha had a blast anchoring the team as she always does,” Head Coach Christy Thomaskutty said. “Selena gave us great game, and Danielle [Landry, senior center] anchored defense throughout all of the play. I was proud of the way our team responded regardless of the outcome.”

A long stretch of the second half was a back-and-forth battle with numerous lead changes between the two teams. At the end of the second half, with 12 seconds remaining on the game clock, a Bears player’s jump shot tied the game at 49 and sent it to overtime. In overtime, Emory hit one of eight field goal attempts and a three pointer by Castillo, while the Bears brought in five points followed by a foul shot to leave the game victorious.

“This weekend was a huge learning experience for our team,” senior guard Katie Dickerson said. “After a heartbreaking loss to Washington University, we were anxious to get back on our feet and reestablish ourselves as a force to be reckoned with in the UAA.”

With the win on Sunday against the University of Chicago, the women raised their overall record to 12-2, 2-1 in the United Athletic Association (UAA).

“This hard-fought victory against Chicago proved to us that the rest of our season will be arduous and has sparked an arms race for the league title,” Dickerson said.

At the end of the game, Emory shot 39 percent from the floor and an impressive 44.4 percent from three-point range. The Eagles’ opponent, the Maroons, finished shooting 35.5 percent from the field and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc.

With a total of 18 of the team’s 80 points, junior Savannah Morgan was one of three double-figure scorers.

The Eagles played strong offense while maintaining a tight defensive hold on the court. The women’s defensive stand resulted in 18 steals and 29 Maroon turnovers.

Morgan contributed four steals, three assists and nine points in each half of the game. Castillo contributed 12 points to the win. Sophomore O’Dez Oraedu completed the high-scoring trio with a 10-point contribution. Jackson had 11 rebounds, establishing her seventh contest of 10 or more rebounds this season.

With a score of 44-37, Emory held a seven-point advantage early in the second half. The Maroons came back with a pair of free throws, Emory responded with a nine-point spurt over the course of two minutes, putting the Eagles back at an 11-point lead.

The Maroons started to get close again, but a three pointer by Morgan and Landry’s bucket brought the score back to a comfortable 76-62.

“It was a disappointing loss against Wash. U, but I was tremendously proud of our team against Chicago,” Thomaskutty said. “We did great over all aspects of the game…Chicago was making a run, but we brought it back and players did some great things out on the court.”

The women will face Case Western Reserve University (Ohio) tonight, followed by a Sunday game against Carnegie Mellon University (Penn.).

— By Nicola Braginsky