WALTHAM, Mass.- On Senior Day, the Brandeis women's basketball team struggled to find the basket as they fell to University Athletic Association (UAA) rival NYU at Red Auerbach Arena, 68-50. The Judges close out the campaign 13-12, 7-7 UAA, while the Violets improve to 20-5, 9-5 UAA.
Before the game started, Brandeis' five seniors were honored for four great seasons. Each senior contributed in trying to keep the Judges in the contest. Center Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) led the seniors with eight points while pulling down a game-high nine rebounds to go with two steals, a block, and an assist. Guard Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris) and center Angela Miller (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) provided sparks off the bench. Scanlon scored seven points, including a jumper that pulled Brandeis within 50-38 with 6:01 remaining in the contest. Miller corralled eight rebounds, including a game-high six on the offensive glass and tying her career-high, and added two blocks during a dominant defensive performance. Guards Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) and Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) both did a little bit of everything. Rodriguez had four points, four boards, two assists, a steal, and a block while Dean had three points, three rebounds, a team-high three assists, and a steal.
In the first half, NYU jumped out to an 11-2 lead with 14:49 on the clock and forced the Judges to take a timeout. After the break, Brandeis fought back into the contest with a 7-2 spurt that made it 13-9 following a jumper from sophomore guard Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchuag Regional). Unfortunately, that was as close as the Judges would get. The Violets scored nine of the next 11 points to stretch their lead to double-digits, 22-11, and did not look back. The Violets cruised into the break with a 31-17 advantage.
The second half was more of the same as NYU continued to pour in shots from beyond the arc. A trifecta by rookie guard Amy Harioka (Danville, Calif./Carondelet) gave the Violets' their largest lead of the game, 38-19. Eight consecutive points from Scanlon and sophomore guard Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./Swampscott) had Brandeis down 38-27 with 14:21 to play but the Judges would be unable to get the deficit back to single digits. NYU pulled away down the stretch for the final margin of 68-50.
Brandeis was led by rookie guard Paris Hodges (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton) with 10 points and six rebounds while Laskaris joined her in double-figures with 10 points off the bench.
The Violets were led by rookie guard Kaitlyn Read (University Park, Texas/Highland Park) who had a game-high 11 points while sophomore guard Riley Wurtz (Sandy Hook, Conn./Newtown) added 10 points as a reserve. Read and junior guard Melissa Peng (San Diego, Calif./Westview) shared team-high honors with seven rebounds while Peng had a game-high five assists.
The Judges will hope to hear about an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bid on Monday.