Women knock of #25 Emmanuel on the road, 80-72

Niki Laskaris led the Judges to their first win over Emmanuel since 2010 (Photo by Sportspix_
Niki Laskaris led the Judges to their first win over Emmanuel since 2010 (Photo by Sportspix_

BOSTON, Mass. (info taken from an Emmanuel press release)– The Brandeis women's basketball team picked a big win over a ranked team today, defeating 25th-ranked Emmanuel College, 80-72, in the Fenway. The win, the first for Brandeis over the Saints since 2010 and first in Boston since 2007, improves the Judges to 2-3. EC falls to 4-2.

The Judges jumped out to a quick 10-3 lead over the hosts, backed by eight early points from the team's leading scorer Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./Swapmscott).  The Saints slowly chipped away at their deficit, capitalizing on a runner in the lane from junior forward Lena Negri (Arlington, Va.) and a reverse lay-up by classmate Britni Mikulanecz (Portland, Me.) on consecutive possessions and Emmanuel trailed 16-11 at the ten-minute mark.

Brandeis responded with an ensuing 10-0 run, after four-straight free throws from Angela Miller (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek), following a personal foul and a technical by the Saints, as the Judges surged ahead, 26-11.

In addition to first-half foul trouble by Emmanuel, the Saints also began to struggle in their transition defense and Brandeis guard Frankie Pinto (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) buried an open three on the break to take a 32-15 lead with five minutes left in the half.

The Judges would net another fastbreak lay-up and a pair of free throws, before a hoop in the post by Miller made it a 38-23 ballgame.  Miller put in one more in down low before the break and Brandeis took a 42-23 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Brandeis shot 45.5% (15-33) from the floor in the first half, paced by 12 points off of 4-for-5 shooting from Laskaris.  The Judges went 10-13 (76.9%) from the line in the first half and out-rebounded the Saints, 22-17.

A balanced attack from Emmanuel featured four players each scoring four first-half points.  The hosts were plagued by 17 turnovers and 11 fouls in the opening frame.

The Judges quickly pushed their lead over twenty points to open the second half, leading 44-23.  An and-one by Jasmine Burwell (Brentwood, N.Y.) followed by a three-ball from Devin Rauh (Collegeville, Pa.) were part of a 10-0 run by the Saints over the next two minutes.  A hoop in the post by Negri forced a Judges' timeout with 16:56 on the clock and Emmanuel trailing, 44-33.

The Saints briefly cut the Brandeis lead down into the single digits, but the visitors took advantage of a long-range trey from Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) and an old-fashioned three-point play by Miller to go back up, 57-39 with 10:47 to go.

Three-straight buckets in the paint and a pair from the line by Emmanuel's junior captain Vanessa Bramante (Stoneham, Mass.) cut Brandeis' lead to ten points at 59-49 with six minutes left.  The Judges answered, however, quickly scoring five more unanswered points.

After an Emmanuel timeout, Bramante continued her hot streak, draining a jumper from the baseline.  Negri scored on the break and was fouled, and the Saints trailed, 64-54 with4:13 showing on the clock.

Rodriguez sank another open three from the top of the key for the Judges and Bramante hit a pair of freebies at the opposite end, setting the score at 67-56, Brandeis.  Laskaris scored from long-range and Burwell sank two from the line to bring the spread to 72-60 with 2:40 left.

Despite the late run, the Saints were not able to overcome the deficit and the Judges hit their free throws down the stretch to hold on for the 80-72 win

Laskaris finished the night 6-8 from the floor, a perfect 2-2 from the behind the arc and 4-4 from the line for her game-high 18 points.  Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) chipped in with 17 points and 5 assists, while Miller added 14 points in the win.

Negri and Bramante finished with 17 points apiece to lead the Saints.  All 17 of Bramante's points, which came off of 6 for 9 shooting, were scored in the second half, leading Emmanuel to a 49-point second period.  The duo also combined for 10 boards.  Rauh dished out a career-high 10 assists to go along with her 6 points and 5 steals.  Burwell led Emmanuel on the glass with 11 rebounds.

Emmanuel returns to action after the holiday break. The Saints will travel to Amherst College on Tuesday, December 3, for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off with the No. 5-ranked Lord Jeffs.  Brandeis will also play next on Dec. 3, when the Judges host UMass Dartmouth in a 7:30 start.