After losing a close game to Case Western Reserve University 61-54 on Friday night, the Brandeis women’s basketball team finally got their first University Athletic Association (UAA) victory against Carnegie Mellon University, 67-56, on Sunday afternoon.
The Judges, who had lost six straight games before Sunday, all against UAA opponents, are now 8-10 on the season.
Brandeis opened up Friday’s game on a 9-3 run, beginning the first half that featured three lead changes. The Spartans then went on a 9-2 run of their own. After the Judges led 26-20 with two minutes left in the half, the Spartans closed the half on a 9-0 run, sending Brandeis to the locker room down 29-26 at the half.
Judges’ guard Kasey Dean ’14 mentioned after the game that a big reason the Judges have been struggling lately is that they have been giving up too many large scoring runs to their opponents. “We play well for most of the game, but those games where the opponents go on 10-0 runs are what really kill us.” Although the Judges have played well in previous games, they have not played consistently for all 40 minutes.
The Judges went into the second half looking to stay consistent and prevent the Spartans from getting on a roll. Brandeis started the half strongly, regaining the lead and putting themselves ahead 35-31; however, Case Western responded with an 8-2 run, exactly what the Judges had worked diligently to prevent. The Spartans led for the remaining 14 minutes of the game.
Both teams shot under 40 percent from the field, as Brandeis shot 37 percent while Case Western shot 39 percent. Both teams finished with 39 rebounds, and both finished with 14 assists. Additionally, each team finished with similar totals in points in the paint as well as points off the bench. While Brandeis (13) turned the ball over only twice more than Case Western (11), it was points-off-turnovers that may have decided the game. The Spartans outscored the Judges 13-6 in that category, a margin equivalent to the difference in overall points scored.
Judges’ guard Morgan Kendrew ’12 led the team with 13 points and two steals, while guard Diana Cincotta M.A. ’12 and forward Courtney Ness ’13 each added 10 points. Forward Samantha Anderson ’13 led Brandeis with 11 rebounds, and guard Hannah Cain ’15 added five rebounds, five assists and a block.
Looking to rebound from Friday’s tough loss and finally defeat a UAA opponent, the Judges faced Carnegie Mellon University at home Sunday afternoon. The Judges started off well, going on a 13-5 run to open up the first four and a half minutes of the game. The Tartans then went on a 13-5 run of their own, tying the game up at 18 apiece three minutes later. Brandeis played well during the next 11 minutes, going ahead 36-28 at the half. The Judges led for the entire second half, benefitting from an 11-0 run midway through the half.
Kendrew led the Judges to victory, scoring 11 second-half points on her way to 22 for the game. She went 9-for-18 from the field for the game, including 2-of-7 from beyond the arc, while making both of her free-throw attempts. Kendrew also brought down four boards and added four assists, marking an impressive performance. Cincotta also added 13 points for the Judges, going 4-for-9 from the three-point range; she hit her 100th career three-pointer with 13:57 remaining in the second half, becoming the sixth Judge to do so and joining Kendrew in the 100 club.
The Judges shot 40 percent from the field, while their defense was just as impressive, holding Carnegie Mellon to just 31 percent shooting. Brandeis dominated the paint, outscoring the Tartans 26-4 in points scored in the paint. The Judges also outscored the Tartans 16-4 in second-chance points, and 22-13 in points-off-turnovers.
Cain had another great game, scoring 12 points while contributing four assists, four rebounds and three steals. Forward Shannon Hassan ’12 also added six rebounds off the bench.
Dean, who had a career-high four steals Sunday, spoke about the victory afterward. “We’ve been sick of losing, and it feels great to get a victory. It’s been frustrating because we haven’t been playing poor basketball, we’ve just been losing tough games.”
Dean added that the upperclassmen have helped the team a lot during the Judges’ recent struggles. “They’ve all done a great job of staying supportive, even after losses. They’ve set good examples and, as a team, we’ve stuck together, never trying to put the blame on others after tough losses.”
Dean mentioned that if the Judges want to build off of Sunday’s win and be successful for the remainder of the season, they cannot let their opponents dictate the way they play. “We have to execute our plays the way we do in practice. When we lose games, it’s our own fault. We force passes rather than letting the offense flow and come to us. We also take a lot of threes, and need to make sure we’re more active on the offensive glass, because second-chance points are very important.” The Judges did a good job Sunday of playing the way they like to play.
Dean also mentioned that the team has been plagued with several injuries lately, but now that they are mostly healthy, they can focus on winning more games. The win on Sunday was Brandeis’ 20th straight victory over Carnegie Mellon, a streak that dates back to the 2001-02 season.
The Judges look to keep up their winning ways when they face Case Western in Cleveland this Friday at 6 p.m.