Worcester, MA (courtesy WPI sports information) --- Graduate student Diana Cincotta (Plymouth, Mass./West Boylston) posted a team-high 14 points to lift visiting Brandeis to a hard-fought 52-42 road victory over WPI in non-conference women's basketball action on Tuesday evening. The contest was the season opener for both squads.
The Judges overcame a slow start as the Engineers held the guests to just 1-for-13 shooting over the opening six minutes. The Brandeis defense also shone in the early going as it stymied the WPI offense, holding the hosts to 1-for-8 shooting from the floor and four turnovers.
Brandeis used five points off the bench from junior transfer student Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) and a 3-pointer by Cincotta late in the first half to take a 26-22 advantage into the locker room at the half.
WPI's Lauren Hannmann (East Greenbush, N.Y.) rattled off the first four points of the second half to forge the final tie of the game at 26. Brandeis then scored five straight on a 3-pointer from senior guard Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) and a layup by Cincotta to take the lead for good. The Judges would push the bulge to 10 points four times over the last 5:25, including the final score.
Cincotta was the only Brandeis player to reach double digits in scoring as Higginbottom tossed in nine points and Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris) and Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./Hoosic Valley) added seven each. The Judges used a balanced effort to grab a slight 39-36 edge on the glass. Eight different players hauled in between three and six rebounds with Anderson leading the way.
Hannmann paced WPI offensively with a game-best 16 points. Dani Davis (East Granby, Conn.) spearheaded a strong Crimson and Gray bench effort with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Siena Mamayek (Melrose, Mass.) chipped in with six points as the Engineer reserves outscored the starters 22-20 on the night.
Davis led the effort for the hosts on the glass with seven rebounds while Hannmann and Theresa Logan (Southboro, Mass.) each corralled six caroms. Baillie McNally (Mapleville, R.I.) and Cynthia Chelius (Northfield, N.J.) shared game-best assists honors with Brandeis' Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) and Higginbottom. The five all doled out three assists.
Turnovers were a key for the visitors as they parlayed 25 Crimson and Gray miscues into 21 points. By contrast, WPI only tallied two points off of 17 Brandeis turnovers.
WPI now turns its attention to defending its Worcester City Tournament title. The Engineers face Anna Maria on Friday at 8pm at Becker. The host Hawks and Worcester State tangle in the other semifinal with the championship and consolation games slated for Saturday. Brandeis wraps up a season-opening two-game road trip Thursday at 6pm at fifth-ranked Babson.