Women's hoops bows to Kean in NCAA second round, 95-61

UNION, N.J. – The Brandeis University women were able to stay close in the first half despite tough shooting night, but they were unable to overcome the 11th-ranked Kean University Cougars, falling by a 91-65 score in the second round of the NCAA Division III women's basketball tournament.

Kean was paces by junior guard Melissa Beyruti (Union City, N.J.), who knocked down eight three-pointers en-route to scoring 31 points and becoming the all-time leading scorer in Cougar history. Beyruti knocked down 8-of-14 from long range, and scored 17 points after intermission, giving her 1,425 career points. Sophomore guard Cardiss Jackman (Tobyhanna, Pa.) added 17 points, Kean (27-3) tied the program record for wins in a season and advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row.

For Brandeis (19-8), senior guard Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) led the Judges with 19 points, however the Cougar defense limited her to just 7-of-20 shooting from the floor, including 1-of-6 from long range.

The Cougars scored the first 10 points of the game and opened up a 26-9 lead midway through the first half, as Beyruti scored all 14 of her first-half points in the that run. Brandeis battled back with eight straight points to cut the deficit to single digits at 26-17 with 4:38 remaining in the half on a free throw from sophomore guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y.).

Kean extended the lead back out to 14 points on a three-point play by Jackman just 26 seconds later, before the Judges pulled to within four points with 38 seconds left in the half and trailed by just six points at 36-30 at halftime.

In addition to Beyruti’s 14 first-half points, Jackman had eight points, while freshman forward Tiffany Patrick (Piscataway, N.J.) had five points and seven rebounds. Capra led the Judges with seven points, but connected on just 2-of-10 shooting in the first half.

After halftime, the Cougars came out running, scoring 13 unanswered points to cap a 27-8 run to open the half, as Beyruti had 10 points, including her lay-up with 13:11 remaining to break the program’s all-time scoring record.

The Cougars hit three pointers on three straight possessions to push the lead out to 31 points with just under eight minutes remaining en-route to the 34-point victory.

With her eight three-pointers, Beyruti now has 102 for the season, marking back-to-back season that she has eclipsed 100 three-pointers. The program’s all-time leader in three-point field goals made, Beyruti now has 275 for her career, moving her into 14th place in NCAA Division III career history.

Junior guard Ebony Jackson (Newark, N.J.) fell just one assist shy of a double-double, finishing with 12 points and nine assists, while Patrick had her third straight double-double with 11 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

Senior center Chari’ Cooper (Paulsboro, N.J.) battled foul trouble throughout the evening, finishing with 11 points and nine rebounds, to give her 1,497 career rebounds.

For the Judges, junior center Lauren Orlando (Peabody, Mass.) had 11 points, three rebounds and three blocks, while junior forward Cassidy Dadaos (Healdsburg, Calif.) finished with 10 points and four rebounds.