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Women’s basketball goes 1-2 to start UAA play

After finishing non-conference play with two wins at the Puerto Rico Clásico in December, the Case Western Reserve University women’s basketball team struggled to begin UAA play, losing to Carnegie Mellon University and New York University before picking up their first win against Brandeis University. The team stands at 8-6 overall but has 11 games to rise in the rankings for a potential playoff spot.

On Jan. 6, the Spartans were behind from the start against Carnegie Mellon, finding themselves in a 21-15 deficit to end the first quarter. Though fourth-year forward Kayla Characklis pushed the offense, her 20 points on the night were not enough to pull the Spartans out of a 42-28 hole at halftime. Fourth-year guard Sarah Mitchell hit a jumper in the third quarter to cut the Tartans’ lead to 10 at 42-32, but Carnegie Mellon re-established their chokehold to close the game 56-75.

Graduate student forward Morgan Micallef finished the game with 9 points and 7 rebounds. Mitchell also added 12 points and 4 rebounds.

It was a similar story against NYU on Jan. 12, with the Violets winning all four quarters en route to their 26-point victory. First-year guard Mya Hartjes gave CWRU the early 5-2 lead with a three-pointer and a fastbreak layup, but NYU came roaring back to finish the first quarter 22-17. NYU went on a 13-4 run to finish the half 42-29 before handing the Spartans a 58-84 loss.

With the win, NYU continued their perfect season to hold a 13-0 record overall. First-year guard Jordyn Call, who came off the bench, led CWRU with 11 points. Characklis was the only other double-digit scorer, contributing 10 points, 3 assists and 4 rebounds.

The Spartans saw their chance to notch their first UAA win on Jan. 14 against Brandeis, who at the time stood at 4-9 overall and 0-2 in UAA play. CWRU got off to a hot start, taking a 12-2 run to push their initial lead to 12-5. The Judges responded with a 7-point run and kept the score close to finish the quarter 18-18. The teams remained locked in this tight battle, with the score close at 24-25 with just over four minutes left in the half. The Spartans quickly put together an 8-0 run putting them in the lead 32-25. CWRU finished off the half 34-27.

CWRU continued to dominate in the third quarter, outscoring the Judges 19-8 for the 53-35 lead. Brandeis made a small push in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to top the Spartans, who closed out their first conference win 64-53.

Hartjes led both teams with 14 points after going 4-of-7 from the field to go with 5 rebounds and 1 assist. Call came off the bench to deliver her second consecutive 11-point game, hitting 3 three-pointers. Second-year guard/forward Emily Plachta notched 9 points and 6 rebounds while Mitchell showed up with her stalwart defense to record 4 steals.

Hartjes was named a Spartan Club Athlete of the Week after averaging 11.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists in the games against NYU and Brandeis.

The Spartans will hit the road for the rest of January. They will kick off their long road trip in Atlanta against Emory University on Jan. 19. CWRU will then take on the University of Rochester in New York on Jan. 21 before playing against the University of Chicago on Jan. 26. The Spartans will finally wrap up their road trip against Washington University in St. Louis on Jan. 28.

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About the Contributor
Puneet Bansal, Sports Editor
Puneet Bansal (she/her) is a fourth-year student majoring in biochemistry and medical anthropology. She loves obsessing over food, spending time outdoors or annoying her friends. Hailing from the Bay Area, she is an ardent Golden State Warriors fan and finds it daunting to sport her Stephen Curry jersey around Cleveland.

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