CHICAGO -- Senior Morgan Herrick’s three-point play with 1:29 left in the game gave the Maroons the lead for good as Chicago defeated the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 56-52 in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship Saturday night at the Ratner Athletics Center.

The victory sends the undefeated Maroons (27-0) to the round of 16 for the second consecutive year. Chicago will take on Calvin College in sectional semifinal play Friday at a site to be announced Sunday afternoon.

UW-Eau Claire (21-7) kept the Maroons off the scoreboard for the game's first five minutes as it built an early 8-0 advantage. Chicago tied the game at 13-13 on a layup by senior Meghan Herrick midway through the opening period.

After the Blugolds regained the lead 18-15 on Ellen Plendl's jumper at the 9:10 mark, the Maroons closed out the half on a 17-4 run to head into the break with a 32-22 edge. The second half started much like the first, as the Blugolds outscored Chicago 11-2 during the period's first five minutes.

Chicago held on to a slim lead until Nicole Christianson's basket at the 6:26 mark evened the score at 44-44. UW-Eau Claire took its only lead of the second stanza on a Plendl layup with 1:56 remaining in the contest. 

Chicago quickly recaptured the lead, 52-50, when Herrick converted a three-point play at the 1:29 mark. The Maroons held UW-Eau Claire to just one field goal the rest of the way, while connecting on four of six free throws in the game's final :22.

Herrick paced the Maroons with 14 points as they turned in their lowest offensive output of the season. UW-Eau Claire posted a 37-27 edge on the boards against a Chicago team that entered the game with a +9.1 rebound margin. Plendl grabbed 12 boards to go along with 23 points -- both game highs.


Chicago committed a season-best nine turnovers. Christianson finished with 14 points and four assists for the Blugolds.