Women fall at Chicago, 97-81

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team dropped its third-straight University Athletic Association (UAA) road contest today, falling to the host University of Chicago Maroons, 97-81. The Judges fall to 6-8 overall, 0-3 in the UAA, while Chicago improves to 7-7, 1-2 UAA.

Despite matching their season-high in scoring, the Judges also allowed the second-highest point total in school history. It marked only the 10th time Brandeis has ever allowed 90 points in a game, and the first since 2003. The teams had similar field goal shooting figures (39.1-39.0 in favor of Chicago) and were close in rebounding (48-44, UC) and turnovers (18-17, UC). The major advantage for the Maroons came at the free-throw line, where the Judges were outscored, 37-16. Chicago took 41 foul shots to 25 for Brandeis, and the hosts converted at a 90.2% clip to 64% for Brandeis.  Both teams also were not shy shooting from 3-point range, combining for 49 attempts from beyond the arc. Chicago hit 10-of-29, Brandeis 5-of-20.

The first half was close throughout. Though the Judges never led, the game was tied four times, and Brandeis was still within two at 28-26 with 2:06 left before intermission after sophomore Ceara McNamara (Amherst, N.H./Souhegan) connected on a jumper. Chicago answered by scoring nine of the game's next 10 points, with Claire Devaney hitting a 3-pointer and two foul shots and Britta Nordstrom canning a trey and one freebie to give the Maroons a 37-27 lead with 42 seconds left. Brandeis cut into the lead just before intermission as senior Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) was fouled on a desperation 3-pointer and hit all three from the line to make it a seven-point game. After UC  hit the opening bucket of the second half, Brandeis was able to stay within seven a couple of times, but once the lead hit double figures, the Judges were unable to get any momentum, with Chicago hitting big 3-pointers or connecting from the line to keep the Judges at bay.

Individually, Brandeis had a season-high four players score in double figures. Dean led the way with 17 points, hitting 4-of-11 from the floor, but doing her part from the line by hitting 9-of-10. She also had a team-high five assists. Senior center Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) added 13 points in 16 minutes. Two players came off the bench to score career-highs, as senior Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris) and sophomore Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchaug Regional) each scored 12 points. Scanlon added five rebounds and four assists, while Mancinelli grabbed six caroms.

Chicago put all five starters, plus one reserve, in double figures. Guard Julie Muguira led all players with 19 points on a fine shooting performance (4-9 FG, 4-7 3FG, 7-7 FT). Devany recorded a double-double with 18 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Nordstrom, who carried the load for the Maroons in the first half with 14 points, finished with 17 on 4-of-4 from the field, 2-of-2 from downtown and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. She also led UC with four assists. Morgan Donovan (12 points), Maggie Ely (11 points) and Caitlin Moore (10 points off the bench) also scored in double digits for the home team.

Brandeis plays its first UAA home game next Friday evening at 6 p.m. against the University of Rochester as part of their Hoopcoming celebration. Chicago is at Carnegie Mellon for a road contest at the same time.