March 1, 2008

Simon wins No. 300 as women's hoops downs NYU, 63-60

WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University women's basketball coach Carol Simon picked up the 300th win of her career today as the Judges defeated visiting New York University, 63-60, in the regular-season finale for both teams.

Brandeis (18-7, 9-5 University Athletic Association) improved their chances at an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament as three starters scored in double figures. Sophomore guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y.) led all players with 20 points. She hit eight-of-12 from the field with two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws. Senior guards Jaime Capra (Old Bridge, N.J.) and Kiersten Holgash (Easton, Pa.) each had 13 points. Capra recorded her third double-double of the season with a team-high 10 rebounds, while Holgash established a new scoring high by connecting on five-of-seven from the floor and making all three attempts from beyond the arc. Sophomore Lauren Rashford (Whitesboro, N.Y.) led the Judges with five assists off the bench. The Brandeis starters outscored NYU's, 54-24.

NYU (14-11, 3-11 UAA) was paced by junior Jessica McEntee (Flushing, N.Y.). McEntee led the Judges with 19 points – 13 in the second half - tying the UAA single-season points record with 301 in the process. McEntee also pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for her 17th double-double of the season and tied for game-high honors with five assists. Rookies Olivia Tromm (Beach Haven, N.J.) and Bianca Storts (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) tallied 12 and 11 points off the bench, respectively.

The first half of the contest was a low-scoring affair. The Violets owned a 10-6 lead seven minutes in after two McEntee free throws, but Brandeis went on an 11-0 run over the next 5:21 to take a 17-10 lead on a fast-break bucket by Holgash. NYU cut the lead back to one with six in a straight, but Brandeis pushed the lead to eight before taking a 30-23 into the locker room. The Judges outscored New York, 22-6, in the paint and 12-0 in points off turnovers. Chapin led all scorers with 16 first-half points, while Capra had eight boards before the break. McEntee had six points and seven rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

Brandeis opened the second half on a 9-1 run over the first 3:23 as they connected on four of their first six shots. The Judges took their biggest lead of the game, 47-30, on a Holgash trifecta with 12:58 remaining. The lead stayed in double figures until the six-minute mark, when a pair of McEntee free throws trimmed the lead to 57-49. It was still eight at 59-51 after a Chapin lay-up with 4:35 left, but the Violets didn't go away, as they held Brandeis to just one field goal the rest of the way. Tromm made it a one-possession game, 61-58, with a trifecta from the corner with 3:29 left, but the Judges answered on a Cassidy Dadaos (Healdsburg, Calif.) jumper.

The teams held on the next five possessions before a McEntee hoop with 1:13 trimmed the lead back to three, 63-60. The Judges missed the front end of their next two one-and-one attempts, but were able to force McEntee into a turnover with 15 seconds left, while her desperation trifecta as the clock ran out only grazed the rim, allowing the Judges to emerge victorious for the first time in four games against the Violets.