February 2, 2007

No. 19 women fend off No. 12 Chicago, 52-50

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team, ranked No. 19 in the nation, held the visiting and 12th-ranked University of Chicago Maroons without a field goal over the final 4:57 of play tonight to squeak out a 52-50 University Athletic Association (UAA) victory in Red Auerbach Arena.

Brandeis (15-3, 5-3 UAA) sent Chicago (16-3, 5-3 UAA) to its third-straight loss after the Maroons won their first 16 in a row and reached No. 1 in the nation in the WBCA poll.

It was a game of runs, as the Judges jumped out to an 10-2 lead by hitting their first four shots from the floor. UC answered by tying the game at 11 as the hosts went seven minutes with just a single free throw. Brandeis went back up by five, 20-15, with 6:31 left on a trifecta by rookie Carmela Breslin (McCkees Rocks, Pa.), but Chicago scored the next seven points, going up by three on two Molly Hackney (E. Lansing, Mich.) free throws. The Judges scored the final four points of the stanza from the line to carry a 24-23 lead into the locker room.

Brandeis looked like it might run away with the contest early in the second half as they opened on a 15-2 run over the first five minutes, taking their largest lead of the contest, 38-25, on a 3-pointer by senior guard Alison Chase (Farmington, Conn.) with 15:10 on the clock. The Maroons answered the next time down the court on a long ball by senior Korry Schwanz (Menominee, Mich.) that sparked a 19-2 run over the next seven minutes. Schwanz scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the streak, including a trifecta with 9:07 that gave the Maroons their first lead since the first half.

After a bucket by Chicago's Jill DeNucci (Glenshaw, Pa.) gave the Maroons a 44-40 lead with 8:17 left, Brandeis junior Kiersten Holgash (Easton, Pa.) answered from beyond the arc to cut the lead back to one. UC got the advantage up to four before Holgash contributed a key series, making a steal on a Maroon fast-break and hitting a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give momentum back to the Judges. Junior Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) gave Brandeis back the lead, 49-48, after a UC turnover with 3:53 on the clock.

Maroon leading scorer Nofi Mojidi (Silver Spring, Md.) answered with a pair of free throws with 2:46 on the clock to give them a 50-49 lead, but that was the Maroons' only scoring in the final five minutes. The Judges only hit three-of-six free throws down the stretch, but they forced three turnovers, while senior Caitlin Malcolm (Windsor Locks, Conn.) pulled down a key rebound on UC's final possession.

Brandeis was paced by 11 points from Capra, who hit four-of-12 from the floor with a 3-pointer, while Chase finished with 10, five in each half. Malcolm added eight points and team-highs with six rebounds and four assists. The Judges were able to turn 22 Chicago turnovers into 18 points to overcome 33 percent shooting from the floor.

UC was paced by Schawnz's 12 points on five-of-10 shooting, including both her 3-pointers. Hackney finished with a fine all-around night with 11 points and game-highs of seven rebounds, three blocks and six steals. The Maroons hit 40.8 percent from the floor, but were unable to overcome just seven points from Mojidi, the UAA's leading scorer.