Second half rally falls short as Carnegie Mellon defeats Brandeis, 65-60

Niki Laskaris '16 (photo courtesy Volk)
Niki Laskaris '16 (photo courtesy Volk)

WALTHAM, Mass.- Despite raining in a season-high 10 3-pointers, the Brandeis women's basketball team fell in a home University Athletic Association contest to the Carnegie Mellon Tartans, 65-60. Brandeis falls to 7-6 (1-1 UAA) while Carnegie improves to 10-3 (2-0 UAA).

Junior guard Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./ Pomperaug) led the way for Brandeis by scoring 16 points for the second game in a row, tying her career-high, including three from downtown. Still, the Judges could not overcome a career night from Tartans' rookie guard Liza Otto (Glastonbury, Conn./ Glastonbury) who led all scorers with 22 points, including 18 in the second half.

In the first half, the two teams played a close game that featured five ties and two lead changes. Dean paced the Judges with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field and a 3-for-5 effort from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, junior guard Jacquie Shaw (Portland, Ore./ Grant) led the Tartans with eight points and helped her squad to a 28-23 lead with 2:00 minutes left in the period. Still, Brandeis went on a 7-2 run to close the half including a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./ Gloucester) with six seconds left on the clock to knot the game at 30-30.

In the second half, Carnegie began to take control as they took a 13 point lead with 12:57 remaining on a layup by Shaw to close a 16-3 run. The Judges responded quickly with a 7-0, run including back-to-back treys from junior guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./ Peabody Veterans), to cut the lead to six. The squads essentially traded baskets from that point forward with Brandeis getting within four point twice. The Judges' 10th basket from downtown from rookie guard Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./ Swampscott) made it a 64-60 game with 35 ticks left on the clock but that would the end of the scoring for Brandeis as they lost 65-60.

The Judges had two scorers in double-figures as Dean poured in 16 and Cain added 11. Laskaris chipped in a career-high nine points off the bench, all on shots from beyond the arc. Senior forward Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./ Worcester Acad.) led the squad with seven rebounds while Dean pulled down six caroms. Dean also led Brandeis with five assists as Cain added four helpers. Finally, Laskaris and junior forward Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./ Chippewa Valley) tied for the team lead with two blocks while Laskaris also held team-high honors with three steals.

The Tartans also had two players with double-digit points as Otto had 22 and Shaw had 12. Senior forward Emily Peel (Long Valley, N.J./ West Morris Central) had a game-high 14 rebounds and six assists while sophomore guard Gabrielle West (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Mount Notre Dame) and rookie guard Lindsay Poss (Poolesville, Md./ Poolesville) tied for the team lead with three steals. Finally, Otto and Shaw shared team-high honors with two blocks.

The Judges return to action on Sunday January 13th for a UAA matchup with Case Western Reserve at 2:00 p.m. Carnegie Mellon continues their UAA schedule on the road against NYU on Sunday January 13th with a 2:00 p.m. tip-off.