ROCHESTER, N.Y. - The Brandeis University women's basketball team held host University of Rochester to just one field goal over the last 11 minutes of regulation today as the Judges defeated the No. 2-ranked Yellowjackets, 52-50, in a University Athletic Association contest. Sophomore forward Amber Strodthoff (DePere, Wisc./DePere) scored what proved to be the game-winning bucket with 57 seconds left in regulation. With the win, the Judges earn a season split with the Yellowjackets and improve to 15-6 overall, 5-6 in the UAA, while Rochester falls to 20-2, 10-2 UAA.
Brandeis got a terrific performance in front of a home-town crowd from junior guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima). Playing all 40 minutes, Chapin recorded her second career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds while producing game-highs with six assists and three steals. Her rebound and assist totals both marked career-highs. The Judges also got a career-high-tying 12 points from sophomore guard Diana Cincotta (W. Boylston, Mass./W. Boylston), all coming in the second half.
After a sluggish first half, the Judges trailed, 30-19. They shot just 36.4% from the field (8-22), including 0-for-5 from 3-point range, while allowing Rochester to connect on 40.0% (12-30) overall and from downtown (4-10). Brandeis turned the tables in making their comeback, shooting 54.5% after the break (12-22), including three of their four trifectas, while holding the Yellowjackets to just 25.9% (7-27) from the floor and 22.2% from deep (2-9), as the visitors outscored UR, 33-20, in the final 20 minutes.
Rochester was paced by sophomore Melissa Alwardt (Greece, N.Y./Greece Athena), who finished with a game-high 17 points, connecting on 6-of-13 overall and 5-of-10 from 3-point range. She had nine points in the first half and eight in the second, while also leading the ‘Jackets with five assists. Senior Alex Porter (Rockville, Md./Walter Johnson) recorded her eighth double-double of the campaign with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, while classmate Julie Marriott (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport)had eight points and four assists, but the rest of the UR roster combined for just 13 points. Brandeis's bench outscored Rochester's by a 16-7 margin.
Leading by 11 at the break, Rochester opened the second half on a 5-2 run to open up a 35-21 lead, their biggest of the game, on an Alwardt trifecta with 18:02 remaining. Cincotta answered with back-to-back long-range buckets of her own to get the deficit back to single digits. UR was ahead, 40-28, with just under five minutes gone when the Judges made their first big run. Chapin scored seven points in a 9-1 run over the next three minutes to close the Judges within 41-37 following a rebound and a coast-to-coast drive. Alwardt's trifecta and a Porter put-back pushed the lead back to nine, 46-37, with 11:08 remaining, but the Yellowjackets would scored just one more field goal the rest of the way.
The Judges chipped away at the lead, going ahead 47-46 on a lay-up by senior forward Cassidy Dadaos (Healdsburg, Calif./Healdsburg) with 6:48 left in regulation. It was their first advantage since the 11-minute mark of the first half. The Judges were able to get stops on the next three Rochester possessions, but were unable to convert, and Porter's jumper on a feed from Alwardt with 3:13 left put the hosts back on top, 48-47. The teams traded two empty possessions again before Cincotta converted a driving lay-up with the shot clock winding down and 1:28 on the clock. UR answered with a pair of Porter foul shots just 12 seconds later, but Chapin found Strodthoff open under the bucket with 57 seconds on the clock for what proved to be the game-winning bucket.
The Judges forced Rochester to use two timeouts on the ensuing possession, then forced a turnover on an inbounds play. Cincotta converted one free throw on the following one-and-one, but Strodthoff corralled the offensive rebound. Though Strodthoff missed her one-and-one attempt, the Judges were able to force a bad Rochester shot. Chapin grabbed the final rebound and released the ball down court as the clock expired to give the Judges just their second win in Rochester since 1999.
The Judges are next in action on Friday evening when they return home to take on Emory University in another UAA contest at 6:00 p.m. in Red Auerbach Arena.