No. 11 Brandeis women fall to third-ranked WashU, 66-54

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three players for visiting Washington (Mo.) University scored in double figures tonight as the Bears, ranked No. 3 in the nation, defeated the host Brandeis University women's basketball team, 66-54, in Auerbach Arena. In the process, Washington clinched the University Athletic Association (UAA) title and earned 2006's first NCAA Division III basketball tournament berth.

Washington (21-2, 11-1 UAA) was paced by senior forward Danielle Beehler (Leawood, Kans.), who scored a game-high 18 points on nine-of-21 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds. Classmate Kelly Manning (Nashville, Tenn.) had 16 points, in part on the strength of three 3-pointers, and a team-high nine rebounds, while rookie guard Shanna-Lei Dacany (Honolulu, Hawaii) came off the bench to supply 11 points and four assists.

Brandeis (17-4, 8-4 UAA), the No. 11 team in the nation according the WBCA and No. 12 by, had two players reach double figures. Sophomore guard Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) and junior forward Caitlin Malcolm (Windsor Locks, Conn.) both had 13 points. Malcolm also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, for her seventh double-double of the season, while Capra had seven boards.

The Judges jumped out to a 17-11 lead midway through the first half as they hit seven of their first 11 buckets. Capra's trifectas with 8:24 to go gave the Judges a 22-15 advantage, but WashU scored 15 of the next 16 points, taking a 30-23 lead before Brandeis scored the last five of the period to head into the break down, 30-28. Beehler had 12 points before intermission, while three Brandeis players were tied with six points.

WashU maintained the lead throughout the second half, leading by as many as six on a Sarah Schell (Lexington, Ky.) lay-up with 11:38 on the clock. The Judges answered with two free throws each from Capra and senior Christine Clancy (Yarmouth, Maine), then tied the contest at 41-41 on a Capra lay-in. The Bears responded, going on a 19-5 run that put them ahead, sparked by tough defense that led to several fast-break baskets. Manning had seven points and Dacanay six in the key run.

For the game, Washington outrebounded Brandeis, 46-38, including 20-12 on the offensive glass. The Bears also outshot the Judges, 46 percent to 28 percent in the second half after Brandeis owned a 37 percent to 33 percent edge in the first.

Brandeis hosts the University of Chicago Sunday at 3:00 p.m., while Washington plays at NYU at the same time.
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