Since the last publication of The Hoot, the Brandeis men’s and women’s basketball teams have each played two more games against fellow University Athletic Association (UAA) teams. This continuation of the in-conference season was somewhat successful for the men’s team as they won one of their two games, while it was another opportunity for growth on the women’s side as they lost both games. For each team, the games were at home and against the University of Chicago (UChicago) Maroons as well as the Washington University of St. Louis (WashU) Bears. The first two games of this series were against UChicago on the evening of Friday, Jan. 19.
The women’s team started off the UAA-home-opener weekend with the first game of the night against the Maroons. The Judges started off playing less aggressively than normal and that is what ultimately led them to never lead during the game. The Judges ended up playing catch-up on numerous occasions, letting the score get away from them, then catching up only for the Maroons to extend their lead again. In the first period, the Judges were outscored 12-3 to open the game, but were able to catch up before the end of the period, closing the Maroons’ lead to only two points. In the second period, the Judges tied the score when Caitlin Gresko ’25 made her first shot of the night, though they let up 10 of the next 12 points scored by the Maroons after that bucket. With that run, the Maroons extended their lead to 13 points over the Judges. Unintimidated, Lillie Singleton ’25 led the Judges in a run that closed the score differential to four, just before halftime. After the half, the Maroons extended their lead only to be followed up by another point-heavy run for the Judges. With a jumper from Katherine Vaughan ’26, the Maroons were just in reach for the Judges as they only trailed by two points. Later, in the fourth period, the Judges were within one point of the Maroons, though they were not able to claim the lead before the end of the game, concluding in a 65-53 win for the UChicago Maroons.
Later the same evening, the men’s team followed up with their own game against the Maroons. The first half of the game was exciting with two lead changes and five ties, resulting in the Maroons leading by just three points. The Judges trailed by four a few times, but were able to tie the game with just 3:08 remaining in the first half, thanks to a pair of free throws made by Ryan Power ’24. Despite this play, the Maroons clawed their way back into play by making two back-to-back shots from outside the arc. Judges sophomore Quron Zene ’26 capitalized with seconds left in the half, making the score 28-25 going into the half. In the second half, Gilbert Otoo ’25 kept the Judges afloat, having made 12 points within 19 minutes of play. Regardless of this stat, the Maroons took their lead and ran with it as they outscored the Judges 21-7 in the first 10 minutes of the second half. The remainder of the game was a battle for the Judges who fought to reestablish their lead but were ultimately unsuccessful as they lost 72-55 to the UChicago Maroons.
On the following Sunday, Jan. 21, the men’s team played the first game of the day in their meeting against the #14-ranked WashU Bears. Both teams started off strong defensively, leading the Judges to hold the visiting Bears to 20 points below their scoring average on the season. Although the Judges played well defensively, they were not able to hold off the Bears for the entirety of the first half as they went into halftime trailing 31-27. Notably, Zene made 11 of the Judges’ 27 points in the first half. After a seemingly empowering halftime locker room talk for the Judges, they came out and re-established their lead with a 9-5 run within the first 3:25 of the second half. After this, the game was tied on six more occasions, with three lead changes as well. After much back-and-forth play, the most successful portion of the game for the Judges was the final five minutes of play. The Judges capitalized on the Bears’ shortcomings and ended the game with a 7-2 run to win the game 59-54 over the Bears, extending their UAA record to 2-3 so far this season.
Following the men’s game, the women’s team faced the WashU women later the same day. The game started off strong for the Judges as Gresko made 11 of her 18 points scored during the first 10 minutes of play. With another three-pointer by Gresko answered by WashU, the Bears led the Judges into the second quarter leading, 21-18. The Bears maintained their momentum in the second half while the Judges began to lose theirs. Despite creeping within five points of the Bears’ 35 points, the Judges were never able to get any closer to attaining the lead for the remainder of the game. With only two points scored by Gresko in the second half, the Judges could not contend with the 43 points the Bears scored over their 18. The game concluded with the Bears having won 83-48 over the Judges.
Looking ahead, the Judges will host two more home games this weekend. On Friday, Jan. 26, both teams will face the Emory University Eagles. On Sunday, Jan. 28, the Judges will face the University of Rochester Yellowjackets. The men will be looking to improve their 2-3 UAA season record while the women hope to earn their first UAA win of the season.