WALTHAM, Mass.- Despite another strong second-half and furious rally in the closing minutes, the Brandeis women's basketball team fell to the Case Western Reserve Spartans 50-46 in University Athletic Association (UAA) play. The Judges fall to 7-7 (1-2 UAA) while the Spartans move to 10-4 (2-1 UAA).
Case's senior guard Evy Iacono (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Mount Notre Dame), who leads the UAA with 19.7 points per game, was held in check by a stingy Brandeis defense for most of the game. Although she finished with 17 points, she needed to attempt 18 field goals to get there. On the offensive side, senior forward Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./ Hoosic Valley) had one of her best performances of the season, leading the Judges with 11 points while pulling down five rebounds.
In the first half, the game was tied five times with one lead change as the teams went back and forth for the first 10 minutes of the period. With 9:31 remaining, Case took their first lead on a jumper by sophomore forward Erin Reynolds (St. Louis, Mo./ Webster Groves) that started a 15-7 run that gave the Spartans a 26-18 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the Judges played a much better game defensively and offensively, holding Case to just 27.3% shooting from the field while shooting 43.3% themselves. After the Spartans' senior center Emily Mueller (Pittsburgh, Pa./ Great Valley) drained a three to extend Case's lead to 10, Brandeis went on the defining run of the game. Led by sophomore guard Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./ Gloucester), the Judges went on a 12-2 run that featured a basket from downtown as the shot clock expired and a three-point play the old fashioned way by Cain. One of the biggest plays in that stretch came with 1:10 left in the contest. After Cain had brought Brandeis within two, junior guard Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./ Pomperaug) stepped in front of Mueller to take a charge and get the ball back to the Judges with a chance to tie the game. On the ensuing possession, junior guard Julia Scanlon (Greenwich, Conn./ Greenwich) delivered as she finished a driving layup to knot the score at 46-46 with just 55 ticks left on the clock. Unfortunately on the other end, Iacono drained two clutch free throws with 28 seconds left for the 48-46 lead. Cain could not convert on her jumper with four seconds remaining and the Spartans added two more freebies with 0.2 seconds left by sophomore guard Brooke Orcutt (Morrison, Colo./ Dakota Ridge) for the final margin of 50-46.
Brandeis had two scorers in double-figures as Anderson finished with 11 and Cain contributed 10 points, all in the second half. Rookie guard Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass./ Swampscott) led the squad with six caroms while Anderson and Scanlon each had five. Dean and junior guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./ Peabody Veterans) shared team-high honors with three assists and Cain finished with a team leading three steals.
Case was led by Iacono with 17 points while Mueller and Reynolds each added eight. Orcutt, Reynolds, and senior guard Erica Iafelice (North Canton, Ohio/ Dublin Jerome) each pulled down seven boards while Reynolds and sophomore forward Berit Eppard (Englewood, Colo./ Cherry Creek) had four offensive rebounds each as the Spartans accumulated 21 caroms on the offensive glass. Iafelice also led Case with seven assists and four steals while Mueller had a game-high three blocks.
The Judges continue their UAA schedule on Friday January 18th at Chicago with a 7:00 p.m. start. The Spartans return home for a UAA matchup with Emory on Friday January 18th with a 6:00 p.m. tip-off.