Second-half surge leads visiting Trinity past women, 71-57

Kasey Dean '14

WALTHAM, Mass. — Visiting Trinity (Conn.) College used a 12-2 run midway through the second half after host Brandeis had erased a nine-point deficit, and the Bantams pulled away for a 71-57 non-conference women's basketball victory in the Gosman Athletic Center today.

      Trinity (5-5) was paced by senior forward Hannah Brickley (Melrose, Mass./Melrose), who scored a game-high 25 points. She hit 7-of-17 from the floor and 11-of-13 from the line. Classmate Taylor Murtaugh (New York, N.Y./Bronx H.S. of Science) added 13 points. Brickley and Murtaugh tied for game-high honors with nine rebounds, helping the Bantams' to a 44-32 rebounding edge. Six of Murtaugh's caroms came on the offensive glass, helping the visitors outpace the Judges in second-chance points, 19-9 as well. Trinity also outscored Brandeis from the free-throw line, 22-7. 

      The Judges (5-5) had two players score in double figures, with senior Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) tallying 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting with two free throws, and classmate Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veteran) adding 10 on 4-of-11 with a trifecta and a foul shot. Senior Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) had a fine all-around game, with eight points, and team-highs of six rebounds and five assists, which was matched by Rodriguez.

      The first half was a back-and-forth affair that featured four ties and six lead changes. Neither team led by more than six points in the first 20 minutes. Brandeis was head, 29-27, with just over three minutes to go in the stanza after a lay-up by sophomore guard Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchaug Regional). Trinity answered by scoring eight of the last nine points, with six coming from Brickley, whose lay-in with 54 seconds remaining gave the Bantams a 35-30 lead at the break. Brickley finished with 13 first-half points, while Vitale and sophomore Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./Swamscott) each had six for the Judges.

      After Murtaugh scored the first four points of the second half, the visitors owned a 39-30 lead less than 90 seconds in. Brandeis responded by holding their foes to just one bucket over the next eight minutes. The Judges forced four turnovers in a 14-4 run in which five different players recorded points. They claimed their first lead of the second half on a beautiful back-door cut by Rodriguez on a nice feed from senior Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris). With the bucket, Brandeis went ahead, 44-43, with 11:43 on the clock.

      Trinity answered back on their next possession, as sophomore Alexa Menard (Wallingfor, Conn./Miss Porter's School) hit a 3-pointer, the Bantams' first of the game. That bucket kicked off a 12-2 run over the next two minutes, as Brickley hit two free throws and a lay-up, while Menard added another trifecta. Junior Taylor Higgins' (Merrick, N.Y./Sacred Heart Academy) driving lay-up at the 9:13 mark gave the visitors a 55-46 lead.

      Brandeis looked to get closer on a Dean steal and lay-up that cut the lead to seven, 55-48, with just under nine minutes remaining, but Brandeis would never get any closer. Brickley answered with two more foul shots and Higgins connected from downtown to push the lead to 12 points. The Bantams connected on 8-of-14 from the line down the stretch and got two offensive rebounds on misses from the charity stripe to close out the game.

      Brandeis will close out its non-conference slate at home on Monday, January 6, at 6 p.m. against UMass Boston, while Trinity is at St. Joseph (Conn.) at the same time.