Women's hoops rallies to defeat Southern Maine, 74-71

UNION, New Jersey -- Senior guard Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Brandeis University Judges to a 74-71, come-from-behind win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies Friday in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship in Harwood Arena at Kean University in Union, N.J.

With the win, Brandeis improves to 19-7 overall and will face regional host Kean University tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. in the second round of the 2008 Division III
Women's Basketball Championship on Saturday. With the loss, Southern Maine concludes its season with a 25-4 overall record.

Capra scored 19 of her game-high 25 in the second half as the Judges, who trailed by as many as 15, rallied for the victory. Rookie forward Amber Strodthoff finished as the only other Brandeis player in double figures with 13 points off of the bench. Senior guard Kiersten Holgash added nine points a team-high six rebounds.

Southern Maine junior forward Stacey Kent and senior forward Angela Santa Fe combined to score 44 points to pace the Huskies. Kent finished with a team-high 22 points and five rebounds while Santa Fe tossed in 20 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Becky Dixon added nine points and two blocked shots off of the bench, while senior forward Josalee Danieli
chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.

In the first half, both teams shot the ball extremely well with Southern Maine sneaking out a narrow, 38-37 lead at the break. The Huskies shot 53.8% (14-for-26) from the field and a scorching 7-for-12 (58.3%) from 3-point range, including four from Kent and three from Santa Fe. The Judges made 12-of-25 of its shots from the floor (48.0%) and were bolstered by a 7-for-9 effort from the free throw line.

In the second half, Southern Maine was clicking on both sides of the ball and took a 15-point (61-46) on a 3-pointer from senior guard Dawn Ross. Both teams exchanged baskets over the next two minutes and the Huskies held a 14-point (65-51) advantage following a lay-up by Kent with 6:51 to play.

That was the last field goal the Huskies would make for the next 3:31 as the Judges, led by Capra, began their comeback. Brandeis scored 12 unanswered points, including seven by Capra on a 3-pointer, a steal and a lay-up. Capra's free throws pulled the Judges to within two, 65-63, with 3:20 left.

Dixon finally ended USM's drought, sinking two free-throws with 2:32 to play to put the Huskies up four (67-63). However, Capra again responded for the Judges scoring five consecutive points on a lay-up and a
trifecta from the left wing to put her team ahead 68-67 with 1:56 to play.

Brandeis continued to add to its lead on the free throw line taking a four-point advantage (71-67) on 1-of-2 from Capra and a pair from Strodthoff with 45 seconds to play. USM outscored the Judges 4-1 over the next 25 seconds on a lay-up from Santa Fe and two free throws from Kent to pull within one, 72-71 with 19 seconds on the clock. Strodthoff sank two more free throws on Brandeis' next possession to give the Judges a three-point lead. Both teams missed shots in the final seconds of the game.

Brandeis outscored the Huskies 23-6 in the final 6:51 to pull out the win. Southern Maine connected on just two its final eight field goals and committed six turnovers in the final seven minutes.