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Women’s basketball continues to postseason, men fall short

By Charlie Romanow

Section: Sports

March 7, 2014

The women’s basketball team lost their final regular season game at home on Sunday, 68-50 to New York University. The team’s five seniors were honored prior to the Senior Day game, and each played double-digit minutes in the contest.

University Athletic Association rival NYU began the game on an 11-2 run. Brandeis came back within four at 13-9 but no closer. The Judges could not overcome the 31-17 halftime deficit, although their performance improved in the second half, only being outscored by four in the final 20 minutes.

Leading the seniors was Nicolina Vitale ’14 with eight points, two steals and a game-high nine rebounds. Janelle Rodriguez ’14 had four points, four rebounds and two assists. Kasey Dean ’14 had three points, three rebounds and a team-high three assists. Fellow seniors Julia Scanlon ’14 and Angela Miller ’14 contributed off of the bench with seven points and eight rebounds, respectively. Six of Miller’s rebounds were on the offensive glass, and she contributed two blocks as well. Underclassmen Paris Hodges ’17 and Niki Laskaris ’15 tied for a team-high 10 points. Hodges added six rebounds. The Violets’ Kaitlyn Read and Riley Wurtz had 11 and 10 points respectively. Read and Melissa Peng had seven rebounds apiece. Peng led the game with five assists.

NYU shot 39 percent for the game as Brandeis trailed behind at 33.9 percent. The Violets made 10 three pointers while Brandeis made only one. NYU was 12-14 from the free throw line. The Judges could not capitalize on their 22 foul shots, shooting only 50 percent from the line. The home team’s shooting improved from 24.1 percent in the first half to outshooting NYU in the second half 44.4 to 40 percent.

Dean has been named to the All-UAA Second Team after receiving Honorable Mention recognition last year. Vitale and Hodges each earned Honorable Mention status. Vitale left the game with 53 career blocks, fifth in school history.

NYU finished second in the conference at 9-5 in the UAA and 20-5 overall. Fifth-ranked Washington University in St. Louis won the conference at 13-1 in conference and 23-2 overall. Both teams have made the NCAA Division III Tournament. NYU will face the University of New England, and Wash U. will play University of Northwestern-St. Paul, with both games on Friday, Mar. 7. Brandeis finished the regular season fourth in the conference at 7-7, and 13-12 overall.

The women continued into the postseason in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) New England Quarterfinals. The Judges defeated Emmanuel College 64-55 on Emmanuel’s home court in Boston on Wednesday evening. The ECAC Tournament featured eight New England teams who had successful seasons but were not chosen for the select NCAA National Tournament. Many players fared well for Brandeis, but the team was led by Dean and Vitale, who each marked career-highs in what could have been their final collegiate games.

Brandeis had already beaten the Saints, the first ranked team in the tournament, earlier this season in November when Emmanuel was nationally ranked. The Judges, the last-ranked team in the competition, did not get off to a hot start in the first half, shooting 26.5 percent and turning the ball over 14 times. One bright spot was their long-range shooting, for which they were 4-5. The Saints were 0-3 from three. The teams fought back and forth in the half exchanging leads eight times, with either team’s largest lead only being four by Emmanuel. Only one Brandeisian was able to make multiple field goals. Emmanuel’s Britni Mikulanecz had eight points and eight rebounds on 4-6 shooting. She left the game with an injury with only seconds left in the first. The Saints went into halftime with a 30-27 lead.

Emmanuel broke out in the second half on an 8-2 run to lead 38-29, their largest lead of the game. Brandeis fought back to take leads on layups by Miller and then Vitale. Down by three with 10 minutes remaining, the Judges dominated for the next 7:30. They came out with a 16-0 run, leading 57-44 with 4:02 remaining in the game. Five different players scored during the streak. Vitale, Miller and Hodges each had three rebounds during the run to keep the ball out of Emmanuel’s hands. The Saints came back to within eight points, but the Judges did not retreat. Brandeis shot 53.6 percent in the half, including 60 percent from three-point range. Emmanuel shot only 34.3 percent, making one of 12 from three and missing all eight free throw attempts in the half.

Vitale notched her third double-double with 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. She scored 10 points in the second half. Fellow senior Dean had a career-high nine assists to complement her eight points in a game-high 34 minutes of action. Hodges, Jackson and Samantha Mancinelli ’15 joined Dean with eight points. Hodges had eight rebounds as well. Emmanuel’s Lena Negri and Jennifer Bujnowski scored in double-digits. Vanessa Bramante pulled in eight rebounds.

Brandeis made a season-high seven three pointers, holding the Saints to only one. They shot 38.7 percent overall, slightly ahead of Emmanuel’s 36.6 percent. Emmanuel led in forced turnovers, points off turnovers, second chance points, points in the paint, fast break points and bench points but fell short in statistic that matters most, total points. They finish the season 19-8.

The 14-12 Judges advance to their third ECAC New England semifinals and first since 2005. They will face 17-11 Smith College in Beverly, Mass. on Saturday, Mar. 8 at 6 p.m. The other semifinal features Framingham State University against Endicott College.

The men’s basketball team finished their season with a 92-53 blowout defeat of NYU at home on Senior Day. The team’s six seniors scored 87 of their points. They end the regular season with the same record as the women at 13-12, but only sixth place in the UAA at 5-9. They did not receive a postseason berth. The second ranked Wash U. men’s team will play Wilmington College on Friday in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Emory University receives a first-round bye in the tournament and will play on Saturday.

Gabriel Moton ’14 earned a spot on the All-UAA Second team. Ben Bartoldus ’14 and Derek Retos ’14 earned Honorable Mention placement. Retos finished toward the top of the school record book in three-pointers made, three-point percentage and free-throw percentage. Youri Dascy ’14 sits near the top in field-goal percentage and blocked shots. In addition to the previously mentioned players, Ruben Kanya ’14 and Connor Arnold ’14 were honored prior to the team’s final game.

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