Women's hoops cracks d3hoops.com top 25 at No. 12

WALTHAM, Mass. - With wins over two other nationally-ranked teams in the first two weeks of the season, the Brandeis University women's basketball team has entered the d3hoops.com Division III national poll at No. 12.

In coach Carol Simon's 22nd season at the helm, the Judges are off to a 5-0 start for the fifth time in the past six years. They have defeated Bowdoin (then ranked 15th, now 22nd) at home on Nov. 23, 71-44, and topped Tufts (then 16th, now 20th) on the road on Nov. 30, 81-76. In five games overall, Brandeis is defeating its opponents by an average of 19.2 points per game with a +4.0 rebound margin and +3.4 turnover margin.

The Brandeis women are paced by the inside-outside tandem of junior guard Jessica Chapin of Mendon, N.Y., and senior forward/center Lauren Orlando of Peabody, Mass. Chapin leads the Judges in scoring, averaging 14.4 points per game while contributing three steals and 2.4 assists per game. She is shooting 52 percent from the floor (28-53), including 50 percent from 3-point range (12-24). With 87 career trifectas, Chapin is currently ranked No. 6 in Brandeis history and is on pace to become the third player in school history to reach 100 for her career this season. Orlando is second on the team in scoring at 14.0 points per game and is the squad's top rebounder at 6.0 boards per game. Orlando is shooting 58.8 percent from the field (20-34) and 78.1 percent from the free-throw line (25-32), moving into Brandeis's career top-10 in both categories. She is fifth in field-goal percentage (45.3%) and ninth in free-throw percentage (69.3%).

The Judges return to the d3hoops.com poll for the first time since the 2007-08 preseason poll. They are one of four teams from the University Athletic Association in the first d3hoops.com poll of the 2008-09 regular season, along with Rochester (#4), Washington Univ. (#9), and Chicago (#18). They also lead five New England schools, with Amherst (#13) and Southern Maine (#25) joining Bowdoin and Tufts. Brandeis has three more games before the end of the semester, taking on Emmanuel tonight at 7 p.m. in Red Auerbach Arena, before heading to Wheaton on Thursday at 8 p.m. and hosting Babson on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Click here to see the complete d3hoops.com Top 25.