Tim Bernero was worried about playing the University of Chicago on Sunday, Nov. 27, and he had reason to be. The Maroons (4-0), ranked second in both the pre-season "D3hoops.com" poll and the USA Today/ESPN/Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll, dismantled the Carthage College women's basketball team (4-1, 0-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin), 66-45, at the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center in Chicago. The Lady Reds were ranked 30th in the pre-season USA Today/ESPN/Women's Basketball Coaches Association NCAA Division III poll and 48th in the "D3hoops.com" poll. The first, regular-season poll will be released on Tuesday.
"I don't see any reason why Chicago won't be in the NCAA picture well into the post-season," said Carthage coach Bernero. They're physical, they have good depth, and they have people who can score off the bench."
Carthage seemed to take Chicago out of its comfort zone in the game's opening minutes, as the Lady Reds took an 11-6 lead at 13:29. Following an 11-11 tie, the Maroons took charge and closed out the half on a 26-5 run and led by 21 points at the break, 37-16. A pair of three-pointers by Chicago point guard Joann Torres keyed the Maroon run. The first one at 5:32 put Chicago up by nine, 24-15. The next one, which followed a Carthage turnover, put the Maroons up by 13 points, 28-15, at 3:10. From that point, the Maroons scored nine of the next 10 points going into the locker room with a 37-16 lead.
The onslaught continued as the second half opened with eight unanswered points, and Chicago upped its lead to 29 points, 45-16, at 16:06. Carthage managed to trim the lead to 15 points late in the game, 60-45, at 1:46, but the Maroon went on to win by 21 points, 66-45.
Chicago shot 46 percent (22-48), including 55 percent in the first half (12-22), while Carthage connected at just a 30 percent clip (15-50), including 29 percent in the first period (6-21) . The Maroons had a narrow, 36-33 edge in rebounds. Cailee Corcoran (Jr. Oak Lawn, Ill./Chicago Marist) was the lone Carthage player in double figures with 16 points on six-of-11 field goals and four-of-seven free throws, along with five rebounds. Meghan Herrick led Chicago with 12 points on just two-of-four field goals but eight-of-11 from the free-throw line, along with seven rebounds, while Joann Torres and Julie Muguira added 10 points each.
"Chicago controlled the physical game," said Bernero, "and that's to their credit. While we expected that kind of game, we didn't react very well to it. We let them take us out of our offensive game. They attacked us on the dribble, and we didn't guard that as well. Other than Cailee Corcoran, we were very passive offensively and not at all decisive. They way she was playing was how we wanted to attack them all around. We had so much trouble scoring, that the game just got away from us."
Carthage plays host to Clarke University (0-6) on Wednesday, Nov. 30 in a 7 p.m. game at Tarble Arena in Kenosha, Wis.