February 17, 2008

Women's hoops leads wire-to-wire in 69-60 win over CMU for Simon's 299th career win

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team never trailed today in defeating the visiting Carnegie Mellon University Tartans, 69-60, in a University Athletic Association (UAA) contest in Red Auerbach Arena. With the win, head coach Carol Simon recorded the 299th victory of her career.

Brandeis (17-5, 8-3 UAA) put three players in double figures in scoring. Junior forward Lauren Orlando (Peabody, Mass.) led the way with 16 points in just 21 minutes of action, hitting six-of-seven from the field and four-of-five from the line. Orlando also had five rebounds. Senior guard Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) had 15 points in 19 minutes, while sophomore backcourt mate Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y.) had 11 points thanks to three 3-pointers. Senior guard Kiersten Holgash (Easton, Pa.) had six assists to lead all players, while sophomore reserve forward Kasey Gieschen (Boonton Township, N.J.) had a team-high six rebounds, including six on the offensive glass. Brandeis owned the boards, 34-23, including 13-4 on the offensive end that they converted into a 22-6 advantage in second-chance points. The Judges also scored 21 points off of 18 CMU turnovers, while the Tartans had just 11 points from 16 Brandeis miscues.

CMU (7-15, 0-11) was paced by junior forward Rachelle Roll (Ostrander, Ohio), who recorded her second double-double of the season with 17 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Classmate Stacey Aleski (Pittsburgh, Pa.) led all players with 19 points on the day. Aleski hit seven-of-16 from the field, including four-of-10 from beyond the arc, and a free throw. She also tied for team-high honors with four assists. Senior guard Leah Feola (Pittsburgh, Pa.) added nine points, four assists and five steals. The Tartans outshot Brandeis for the game, 49% (25-51) to 46% (24-52), holding the Judges to just 36% (8-22) in the second half.

Brandeis opened the game on an 11-2 run over the first five minutes, as CMU missed four of its first five shots and committed three turnovers in the early going. Brandeis took its first double-digit lead, 18-8, on a Chapin long-distance bomb just under eight minutes in. The lead went between seven and 12 points for the rest of the half before Chapin again hit from beyond the arc with nine seconds left to give the Judges a 43-28 lead at the intermission. Orlando led all players with 13 first-half points, as she hit five-of-five from the floor and three-of-three from the line, while Roll had 11 points before the break.

The Judges opened the second half by scoring the first nine points, with a Capra lay-in giving them a 52-28 lead with 3:10 elapsed. Brandeis maintained the 20-point lead for the next nine minutes before CMU scored nine straight points – seven by Aleski - in less than a minute between 7:58 and 7:03 to cut the lead to 61-46. After the teams traded buckets, the Judges were able to stay the momentum by using nearly one full minute on their next possession, grabbing an offensive rebound and getting another Chapin 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to go ahead by 14, 66-52, with 2:20 left in the game. CMU closed on a 10-3 run to make the final score 69-60.

The Judges hit the road in search of Simon's 300th career win locked in a four-way tie for the UAA lead with the University of Rochester, Washington University and the University of Chicago. Brandeis is in St. Louis to take on WashU next Friday night and at Chicago next Sunday afternoon.