Women’s basketball sends off seniors with intrasquad scrimmage

March 29, 2021

Honoring seniors Sophie Trachtenberg ’21 and Samira Abdelrehim ’21, the Judges’ women’s basketball team finished its season Tuesday, March 23 by playing an intrasquad scrimmage. 

The Judges were split into blue and white teams, with the white team winning 47-38. Abdelrehim and Trachtenberg suited up for the blue team along with three of the Judges’ six first-years, guards Selenya Gonzalez ’24 and Ashley Ambrosino ’24 and forward Lauren Mirsky ’24.

The white team featured returners, sophomore guard Emma Reavis ’23 and junior center Shannon Smally ’22. First-year guard Macy Arsenault ’24 and first-year forward Christina Bacon ’24 also played for white. Due to several injuries, assistant coach Chelsea Houlihan filled in to round out the five for white.

With 1:30 remaining in the fourth quarter, Smally knocked down a mid-range jumper to extend the lead for white 43-38. Blue couldn’t convert several chances to answer and following a Reavis lay-up off a baseline inbound play, the lead increased to 45-38, putting the game out of reach. 

Though the Judges have been practicing throughout the semester, Tuesday’s intrasquad was the first game-like action since last season’s finale against NYU on Feb. 29, 2020. “I was extremely excited to be back on the court playing a game-like scrimmage. I’ve missed that feeling,” Arsenault said in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

For blue, Gonzalez ran the offense well, serving as the primary ball-handler, finding open teammates and getting to the free-throw line. Mirsky stretched the defense out, knocking down two three-pointers. 

For white, Reavis, who started every game and was second on the team in assists last season, made several pinpoint passes leading to baskets. She was also disruptive on the defensive, deflecting passes and causing multiple turnovers. Smally displayed her offensive skills, hitting several well-defended inside shots and connecting on a couple of mid-range jumpers. Arsenault had several highlight plays down the stretch, hitting a contested three and banking in a tough fade-away shot. 

Arsenault, Gonzalez and Ambrosino will look to add to an already stout backcourt next season, which features Reavis, sharpshooter Francesca Marchese ’23 and Camila Casanueva ’22, who led the team in scoring and assists in 2019-2020. 

Mirksy, Bacon and fellow first-year forward Casey Perry ’24, who did not play in Tuesday’s game, will join a frontcourt featuring Smally, Courtney Thrun ’22 and Kerry Tanke ’22. The group will need to replace the production from several key departures. In addition to Abdelrehim, the Judges will be without Hannah Nicholson ’20 and senior Jillian Petrie ’21. The trio played in every game last season and combined to average 25 points per game.

The unpredictability of COVID-19 made the season a challenge for the Judges. “It was hard to keep the buy-in and competitiveness consistent in every practice knowing that we were not ensured a game,” Arsenault wrote. 

But despite the possibility of not playing any competitive games against other schools, the coaching staff did not adjust its expectations of the team. “I think the most important message they [the coaches] enforced throughout the season was to make no excuses for ourselves,” Reavis said in an email to The Hoot. “We took every opportunity to get better very seriously and I think that is largely due to the coaches holding us accountable,” she added.

Trachtenberg and Abdelrehim will leave a lasting impact on the team. “Sophie [Trachtenberg] and Samira [Abdelrehim] are the type of leaders that really don’t need to say much to inspire people,” Reavis wrote. “They make no excuses for themselves and they work hard no matter what.” 

“Our team has really benefited from having Sophie [Trachtenberg] and Samira [Abdelrehim] with us,” Arsenault wrote. “They will be greatly missed next year.”

Trachtenberg, a psychology major with minors in Hispanic Studies and Health: Science Society and Policy (HSSP), set career highs in both points and rebounds in a 2018 game against Western Connecticut State, scoring nine points on three three-pointers and grabbing seven rebounds. 

Abdelrehim, a biology major, played 53 games during her career, starting 19 of them. As a junior last season, she set career highs in points per game and field goal percentage. Both seniors excelled in the classroom, each making the University Athletic Association (UAA) All-Academic Team for the past three seasons. 

Editor’s Note: Sports Editor Sophie Trachtenberg is the Sports Editor of The Hoot and did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.

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