February 8, 2013

Mid-game cold stretch dooms women at CMU, 58-50

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team went cold midway through the first half and were unable to regroup as the Judges fell, 58-50, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest at Carnegie Mellon University tonight. Brandeis drops to 8-13 overall, 2-8 in the UAA, while the Tartans improve to 12-9, 4-6 UAA.

Trailing 14-9 less than seven minutes into the game, the Judges went on a tear, scoring 12 of the next 14 points. Junior guard Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) had a 3-pointer to start the run, and she also capped it with a fast-break lay-up at the 9:45 mark. That hoop gave the Judges a 21-16 lead, their largest of the game. Unfortunately, the visitors made just two field goals for the rest of the half, as CMU outscored them, 15-5, the rest of the way to take a 31-26 lead into the locker room.  Eight of the points came from the Tartans' Emily Peel in the run.

Brandeis's fortunes did not change in the first 10 minutes of the second half, as they went without a field goal for the first 7:32, falling behind by 14 points at 41-27 with 12:50 on the clock. Carnegie Mellon forced eight turnovers in that span, while four different players hit buckets as the hosts pulled away. The Judges got within seven points with eight minute remaining on a pair of Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) free throws, but they wouldn't get any closer than that.

For the game, Brandeis was led by Higginbottom, who finished with 12 points. She hit 4-of-6 from the field and from the line. She also tied for team-high honors with three assists. Sophomore guard Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) also reached double figures, scoring nine of her 11 points in the second half. Dean added nine points, while junior guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) had eight. Rodriguez tied with senior center Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./Hoosic Valley) for game-high honors with nine rebounds, while Dean matched Higginbottom's three assists.

CMU was paced by Peel's 21 points – 17 coming in the first half – and nine rebounds, while Liza Otto added 14 points, eight caroms and a game-high four assists. The Tartans owned a slight rebounding advantage, 41-39, but they outscored the Judges 30-12 in the paint. They also converted 23 Brandeis turnovers into 24 points, while surrendering just 10 points on their own 15 miscues.

Brandeis returns to UAA action on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. Carnegie Mellon hosts NYU at the same time.