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Women’s bball split weekend and lose home finale

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports

February 18, 2011

In the home season finale, the Brandeis women’s basketball team split their weekend series against Carnegie Mellon (CMU) and Case Western Reserve. In a basic repeat of the team’s January match-ups, the Judges handed a verdict of defeat to Carnegie Mellon but slipped two days later against Case Western.

In the first game of the week, Brandeis overcame a slow start, coming back from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Carnegie Mellon University 59-54.

Brandeis scored the first basket of the game but subsequently struggled to get into the game in the first half. After a shot by Brandeis’ Mia DePalo ’11 with 13:24 remaining in the half, the score was 12-7 in favor of CMU. During the next three minutes, CMU held the Judges to 0-of-3 shooting from the floor and forced four turnovers as they scored 14 unanswered points to take a 26-7 lead. With CMU still ahead 32-15 with 3:35 remaining in the first half, Brandeis went on to score seven of the next nine points to cut their deficit to 12 at 34-22 heading in to halftime.

The second half began with a series of fouls by CMU, sending Brandeis to the line to begin closing the deficit. With two free throws by Samantha Anderson ’13 and a layup by Morgan Kendrew ’12, the Judges pulled within eight points at 39-31 with 14:40 remaining in the game. On the ensuing Judges’ possession, DePalo connected on a three-pointer to make it a five-point game. During the next three minutes, the Judges held CMU to just two points while adding five points of their own to make the score 41-39 with 11:26 remaining.

The game remained at a standstill until 6:15, when Amber Strodthoff ’11 made two free throws to cut the CMU lead to 44-43. CMU’s Jacquie Shaw was sent to the line and made both of her free throws to push the CMU lead back to three points at 5:05. A three-pointer by Kendrew at 4:55 tied the game for the first time at 46-46. CMU answered with a layup from Nicole Vaccarella to regain the lead, but DePalo responded with a three-pointer to give the Judges their first lead, at 49-48, since the score was 2-0 in the first half.

With 3:08 remaining, Strodthoff was sent to the line and made both of her free throws to give Brandeis a three-point lead. CMU responded with a layup to make it a one-point game. Kendrew, however, countered by hitting 1-of-2 free throws from the line to push the Judges’ lead back to two. Shaw hit a jumper on the ensuing possession for CMU to tie the game for the final time at 52-52. Kendrew sank a three-pointer from the right corner on a fast break to give the Judges a 56-53 lead with 37.6 seconds remaining in the game. Shaw hit another layup on a drive to the hoop to pull CMU within one with just 22 seconds remaining. After a three-point attempt by Vaccarella was blocked by DePalo, with seven seconds left in the game, Brandeis put the game away, making 4-of-4 from the free throw line in the closing seconds to gain a 59-54 victory.

The Judges were led by Kendrew who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. DePalo continued to be a threat from beyond the arc, making nine of her 11 points from three-point range. Courtney Ness ’13 posted a career- and game-high 11 rebounds with seven coming in the second half. Dean finished with a career-high eight rebounds and scored eight points.

CMU was led by Vaccarella, who had a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. Emily Peel also scored 17 points and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Rookie Gina Tudi posted a career- and game-high nine assists, with eight coming in the first half and just one assist shy of a CMU school record. Shaw scored 11 points with eight rebounds.

To end the Judges’ home season, they faced the Case Western Spartans last Sunday. Unfortunately for Brandeis, the Spartans repeated their January match and overwhelmed the Judges 49-45.

The first half saw four ties and three lead changes as both teams got out to a slow offensive start. Brandeis owned as much as a five-point lead in the first half before the game was tied at 16-16 with 1:18 left before the break. Brandeis’ Ness scored the last two baskets of the half, giving the Judges a 20-16 lead going into halftime. The Judges held Case to just 6-of-28 shooting (21.4 percent) and Brandeis owned a 26-13 advantage in rebounding. A 10-4 Spartan advantage in turnovers, however, enabled Case to hang around in the contest.

DePalo ’11 opened the second half with a jumper, giving Brandeis its largest lead of the game at six; however, the Judges would fail to score another field goal for the next 5:44. At the same time, the Spartans went on to score seven straight points to take a 23-22 lead. Kendrew ’12 grabbed an offensive rebound and was fouled, hitting both of her free throws to give a 24-23 lead back to Brandeis. A DePalo steal and lay-up broke the Judges cold streak and gave Brandeis a three-point lead, but Case sophomore Erica Iafelice answered with a three-pointer to tie the game at 26-26.

The three-pointer sparked a key run for Case as they went on to score the next seven points to gain a 33-26 lead with 12:13 remaining in the game. Brandeis responded with back-to-back buckets by Kendrew and Strodthoff to cut the lead to three at 33-30 with 9:31 left in the game. Case senior Caitlin Henry answered, however, scoring consecutive three-pointers to push the Spartans lead to nine at 39-30.

The Judges were able to cut their deficit to three at 43-40 after baskets by Strodthoff, Depalo and Kasey Dean ’14. Even though the Judges were able to get some defensive stops, the Judges couldn’t score when they needed to and ultimately fell 49-45.

In the final home game of the season, Kendrew led Brandeis with 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting including 1-of-7 from beyond the arc and DePalo finished with 11 points. Brandeis finished with a 43-31 rebounding edge with Ness leading the team for the second game in a row with nine.

The Brandeis women’s basketball team was unable to hang onto a six-point lead as Case Western Reserve scored 10 straight points midway through the second half and hung on to defeat the Judges 49-45. With the loss Brandeis falls to 11-11 (3-8 University Athletic Association (UAA)) while Case improves to 12-10 (6-5 UAA).

The Judges finish their schedule with a three-game road trip, starting in Chicago next Friday night at 7 p.m.

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