Women rally but fall in OT at NYU, 66-57, in UAA opener

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The Brandeis women rallied from as many as 11 points down to lead by as many as five in the second half, but it was the host NYU Violets who made the last big run, outscoring Brandeis 15-1 over the last 3:30 of regulation plus overtime to emerge with a 66-57 victory in the University Athletic Association opener for both teams. Brandeis falls to 7-5, 0-1 in the UAA and sees a four-game winning streak snapped, while NYU improves to 8-3, 1-0 UAA.

The Judges, who trailed by seven points at halftime, 33-26,were down by a 40-29 margin after an early 7-3 run by the Violets. They battled back to within three points after back-to-back lay-ups by senior Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable) made it 44-41 with 12:16 left in regulation. The Violets answered with the next four points to push the lead to 48-41 at the 10:23 mark, but the Brandeis defense clamped down at that point, holding NYU off the board for a span of nearly five minutes, scoring 11 unanswered points.

Kendrew kicked off the run with a 3-pointer, while jumpers by junior Courtney Ness (Norwich, Vt./Hanover, N.H.) and sophomore Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody) knotted the score at 48-48. Ness contributed assists on both Rodriguez's bucket and on the go-ahead put-back by junior center Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./Hoosic Valley) at the 8:21 mark. Individual free throws by Anderson and graduate student Diana Cincotta (W. Boylston, Mass./W. Boylston) pushed the lead to four at 52-48 before NYU senior Bianca Storts snapped the string with a traditional three-point play to get the hosts back within one.

Kendrew answered with the next five points of the game,  with her layup on rebound and nice outlet from Ness at the 3:30 mark giving the Judges their largest lead of the second half at 56-51. Unfortunately for the visitors, that was their last field of the contest, as they scored just one more point over the final 8:30 of the game. NYU sliced into the lead on another and-one, converted by Erica Franke with 3:07 left. The teams combined to miss their next eight shots over the next couple off minutes before Storts hita jumper in the lane with 39 seconds left to tie the contest. Brandeis had the final possession, but Cincotta missed a trifecta, as did Kendrew after a nice offensive board by Ness. NYU corralled that miss, but the Violets dribbled the ball of their feet, giving the Judges one last errant shot at the buzzer that missed, forcing the extra session.

In OT, the Judges scored first when Kendrew hit one-of-two free throws, but Violet Tana Bertino hit from deep to give the hosts the lead for good. After a good stand by NYU, teammate Cara Bertino added another trifecta and the Violets pulled away as Brandeis finished 0-for-7 from the field in overtime.

Kendrew led Brandeis with a season-high 17 points, 11 coming in the second 20 minutes. She hit 7-of-16 overall, 2-of-6 from downtown and 1-of-2 from the line. Cincotta notched 15, including four 3-pointers, to give her 88 for her career. She needs two more to become the eighth player with 90 trifectas at Brandeis. Ness had a fine all-around game with six points, seven rebounds and a career-best five blocked shots to go with three assists and two steals. Anderson and rookie guard Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) matched Ness with seven rebounds each.

For NYU, Bonito led all scorers with a season-high 18 points and added four assists. Seven of her 18 came in the overtime session Bertino had 15 points and five rebounds, while Storts recorded 14 points, six rebounds and a career-high-tying four steals. Shelby Coon pulled down a game-best 12 boards.