WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team closed the game on a 13-6 run today, thanks to the play of senior Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./Hoosic Valley). Anderson had 10 points and an assist in the string as the Judges defeated visiting New York University, 63-60, in the University Athletic Association (UAA) opener for both squads.
With the win, the Judges improve to 7-5, 1-0 in the UAA, while the Violets fall to 6-5, 0-1 UAA.
Brandeis trailed, 51-48, with 7:28 left in the game when Anderson went on her tear. After missing her first shot of the game, she put back the offensive rebound to cut the lead to one. NYU rookie Riley Wurtz (Sandy Hook, Conn./Newton) answered with a 3-pointer to push the lead back to four at 54-50 with 5:45 remaining. Anderson responded by scoring the game's next eight points on three field goals and a pair of free throws. She then picked up an assist on junior Kasey Dean's (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) jumper that extended the run to 10-0 Brandeis and made the score 60-54 - Brandeis's largest lead of the second half - with 2:47 to go.
Wurtz stopped the bleeding with a driving lay-up, but Anderson answered with a jumper of her own, making it 62-56 and, giving her a season-high 12 points. Wurtz's fourth trifecta of the game cut the lead in half at 62-59, but both teams each managed just a single free throw over the final 1:49 for the 63-60 final. Brandeis junior Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) had two steals in that stretch to preserve the slim lead.
For the game, Brandeis's Dean led the Judges with a career-high 16 points, 10 coming in the first half. Dean hit 8-of-14 from the field. Anderson followed with 12 points, all of which came in the key final 6:16 of the contest. She missed just one shot, hitting 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-2 from the line.
Brandeis also used significant advantages in bench scoring and rebounding to help pull out the win. The reserves, which outscored their NYU counterparts by a 25-7 margin, were paced by rookie Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./Swampscott), who had seven points, and six each from Rodriguez and junior Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley). On the boards, the Judges owned a 47-23 advantage - including 24-9 in the first half. Senior Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) led Brandeis with seven caroms, while sophomore Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) and Laskaris had five apiece. Higginbottom, Laskaris and sophomore Mikaela Garvin (Providence, R.I./Hope) tied for team-high honors with three assists each, while Rodriguez finished with three steals.
NYU had the game's two leading scorers in Wurtz, who finished with 24 points, and sophomore Nicole Lem (Edison, N.J./Blair Acad.), who had 18. Wurtz hit 9-of-16 from the field, 4-of-9 from downtown and 2-of-2 from the line. Twenty of her 24 points came in the second half. Fourteen of Lem's 18 came in the first stanza, including the last five as the Violets erased a seven-point deficit in the final 1:14 before intermission to take a 31-30 lead into the locker room. Lem and senior Rachel Crittenden (Staatsburg, N.Y./Our Lady of Lourdes) each had five rebounds to pace NYU, but Wurtz, who averaged 11 boards per game entering the game, had just one.
The visitors kept up with Brandeis by scoring more than half of their points off turnovers. NYU forced 27 turnovers and converted them into 31 points. Rookie Maya Wasowicz (Bronx, N.Y./H.S. of Medical Science) led the team with four steals, while Cassidy Jourdan (Healdsburg, Calif./Healdsburg) and Melissa Peng (San Diego, Calif./Westview) had three each. Peng also led all players with six assists.
The teams return to UAA action next weekend, as the Judges host Carnegie Mellon Friday night at 6 p.m. and the Violets take on Case Western Reserve at the same time.
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