January 3, 2007

Women's hoops enters UAA play unbeaten after 57-45 win at Tufts

MEDFORD, Mass. (taken from a Tufts press release) -- Despite shooting just 26.9 percent from the field (14/52), the Brandeis University women's basketball team toughed out a 57-45 victory at Tufts University in non-conference action between local schools on Wednesday night at Cousens Gym. The Judges remained undefeated at 9-0 with the win.

Tufts (7-3) gave their visitors, who are ranked 8th in the USA Today/ESPN national poll, a run for their money. However, Brandeis out-scored the Jumbos 26-8 at the free throw line and were able to make more clutch plays down the stretch in a game that was closer than the final score indicates.

Junior guard Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) scored 14 points (8-for-10 from the line) with six rebounds to lead Brandeis. Senior Caitlin Malcolm (Windsor Locks, Conn.) finished with 13 points, including 11 in the second half, to go with five rebounds. Cassidy Dadaos (Healdsburg, Calif.) came off the bench for 11 points and six rebounds.

Tufts was paced by 10 points apiece from senior Valerie Krah (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) and senior co-captain Laura Jasinski (Leverett, Mass.). Junior Jenna Gomez (Norfolk, MA) added seven points and seven boards.

The first half was a defensive struggle that finished with Brandeis leading 23-21. The Judges had just six first-half baskets, but were 10-for-12 from the free-throw line. Capra's six points led the visitors at the break. Tufts won the battle of the boards (20-14) in the first half, led by Gomez's six, and went into halftime on pace with their nationally-ranked opponent.

The teams remained close for six minutes into the second half, when it appeared Brandeis might pull away for good. They scored 10 straight points to turn a 32-29 advantage into a 13-point, 42-29 lead at the 11:16 mark. Four points by Lauren Orlando (Peabody, Mass.) led the charge.

Tufts fought back with a run of its own and was twice within four points. Sophomore Stacy Filocco (Olney, Md.) came in cold off the bench and knocked down two three-pointers that keyed a 10-1 Tufts spurt that made it 43-39 with 7:38 to play. After two free throws by Jasinski at 6:53, the Brandeis lead was 45-41. However, Tufts ultimately could not convert its possessions down the stretch. Krah's lay-up with 7:38 remaining would be their last field goal of the game.

Even at that, the Jumbos were within 49-44 with 1:15 on the clock following two free throws by Kim Moynihan (West Hartford, Conn.). But Malcolm, who finished 9-for-11 at the line, dropped clutch pairs of free throws at 1:06 and 0:54 for an eight-point Judges lead (53-45). A Tufts turnover and two free throws by Capra with 32 seconds remaining wrapped it up.

Brandeis shot 78.8 percent from the line (26/33) for the night, making up for their poor shooting otherwise which included 3 for 19 (15.8 percent) from three-point land. Tufts, which proved itself as a strong defensive team, had 27 turnovers.