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Judges Go 0-2 Against UAA Competition But Fight Until Last Buzzer Sounds

By Dani Chasin

Section: Sports

January 18, 2013

The women’s basketball team dropped their past two games against Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve. Now carrying a UAA record of 1-2 and season record of 7-7, the Judges are focused on preparing for their upcoming matches on the road as they face more UAA competition.

Both games that the Judges endured last weekend saw an exciting second-half performance as Brandeis battled back on their home court to come within five points or fewer of beating each opponent. Although they fell to both teams in a nail-biting second half, the Judges managed to keep their momentum going and maintain their composure under pressure.

In the first game against the Carnegie Mellon Tartans, the Judges maintained a 35.6 percent in-field goal shooting compared to the Tartans’ 33.8 percent. The first half started out with several missed shots by both teams and ended with a tied score of 30-30. With two minutes left in the first half and a score of 28-23 in the Tartans’ favor, the Judges put on a shooting rally with points by three players, including a three-point jump shot by sophomore guard Hannah Cain ’15 with six seconds left on the clock.

Although the second half of the game was not as evenly matched as the first, the Judges kept a tight hold on the Tartans, managing 30 points while the opponent gained 35 to bring the end score to 60-65. Several Brandeis players saw breakout performances against the Carnegie Mellon team who is ranked third in the UAA standings. The Judges achieved an impressive team-high statistic in the game by recording ten three-point field goals that were sunk by various players, including Cain, first-year guard Niki Laskaris ’16, junior guard Kasey Dean ’14 and junior guard Janelle Rodriguez ’14.

Dean, the top scorer for the Judges, tallied 16 points, which included three 3-point baskets out of six attempts. Close behind Dean in scoring was Cain who achieved 11 points and the rookie Laskaris who totaled nine points and a team-high three steals. Senior forward Erika Higginbottom ’13 led the Judges with seven rebounds and junior forward Nicolina Vitale ’14 had two blocks. Altogether, every player on the Brandeis team contributed at least two points to the Judges’ end score.

Laskaris said that the best thing about being a rookie on the basketball team is, “having close friends that have my back both on and off the court. My team truly cares for one another and playing ball together is so much fun.”

But most importantly, she admits that she is truly grateful for her coaches and the effort they have put into making the team successful. “The coaches really care too and I definitely make sure not to take that for granted.”

In Sunday’s game against the Case Western Reserve Spartans, the Judges fought to overcome the opponent in the second half and fell short by only four points with a score of 50-46. At the end of the first half, the score was 26-18 and the Judges battled back to outscore the Spartans 28-24 in the second half. Overall, the Judges went 35.7 percent from the field while the fourth ranked UAA Case team managed 30.9 percent for the game.

The top scorer for the match was senior guard Samantha Anderson ’13, who scored an impressive 11 points and secured five rebounds. With a little more than seven minutes left in the game and a score of 44-34, a 3-point field goal by Cain started an offensive rally by the Judges that saw baskets by several players including Vitale, Anderson and junior guard Julia Scanlon ’13. Although they gave up two shooting fouls that were made by the Spartans in the last minute of the game, the Judges managed to come within four points of beating their opponent with a final score of 46-50.

Even though the Judges did not come out on top in both games, they put up a strong fight until the last second. Laskaris says that playing against some tough UAA competition in the games this past weekend was “fun to play in, but obviously the outcomes were not ideal.”
She proclaims, however, that the season is far from over, and the only direction her team can go is up. “We are coming together, gelling, and peaking at the right time [entering conference play]. Our team has great potential and I think we’re on the cusp of something awesome. I’m just really proud of my team and excited to be part of a group that doesn’t stop fighting until the buzzer sounds.”

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