No. 19 women rally but fall short against No. 24 WashU, 61-55

WALTHAM, Mass. - The 19th-ranked Brandeis University women's basketball team managed to erase one eight-point deficit in the second half, but couldn't do it twice as the visiting Washington University Bears, ranked 24th, went on a 15-6 run after the Judges took their first lead of the second half to take a 61-55 University Athletic Association victory. With the loss, Brandeis falls to 12-4, 2-4 in the UAA, while Washington improves to 13-4, 5-1 in the UAA, keeping pace with Rochester and NYU atop the conference standings.

      Brandeis had the game's two high scorers. Junior guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima) had 18 points - nine in each half - and a game-high nine rebounds, coming one board shy of her second career double-double. Senior forward Lauren Orlando (Peabody, Mass./Peabody) added 13 points, including nine in the second half, when she went 7-for-7 from the line and finished 9-for-9, and grabbed six boards. The Judges struggled from 3-point range. The league-leaders in 3-point percentage at 38.3 percent on the season, Brandeis missed their first 22 shots from downtown, with their only trifecta coming with just two seconds left in the contest.

      Washington U. was paced by senior Jamie McFarlin (Monroe, N.Y./Burke Catholic), who had nine of her team-high 11 points in the second half, and senior guard Halsey Ward (Little Rock, Ark./Pulaski Acad.), who had 11 off the bench. Ward guided the Bear reserves to a 30-6 scoring advantage over the Judges' subs. McFarlin also led WashU with eight rebounds and five steals, while senior guard Shanna-Lei Dacanay (Honolulu, Hawaii/Punahou School) had a game-high four assists, as the Bears had 15 helpers on 21 baskets, despite committing 15 turnovers.

      Brandeis opened the game on a 13-6 run, forcing six Bear turnovers in the first 10 minutes of action to open up the lead. The lead was still six following a Chapin jumper with 5:49 remaining, when WashU started taking care of the ball. The visitors closed on a 16-4 run, claiming their first lead on 3-pointer by Ward with 2:01 left. Over the same stretch, Brandeis went 1-for-6 from the floor with two missed free throws and four turnovers. Ten of 11 Washington players who got in the game scored in the first half, offsetting Chapin's nine points.

      In the second half, back-to-back jumpers by Washington U. senior Zoe Unruh (San Fransisco, Calif./St. Ignatius Prep) gave the visitors a pair of eight-point leads, including a 37-29 edge with 16:45 left. The Judges responded by scoring 12 of the next 15 points, including a traditional three-point play by Orlando to ignite the run, followed by a Cassidy Dadaos (Healdsburg, Calif./Healdsburg) jumper and seven-straight points by Chapin. She capped the run with a lay-in and a free throw following a nice feed from junior backcourt-mate Lauren Rashford (Whitesboro, N.Y.), giving the Judges a 41-40 lead with 9:48 on the clock.

      WashU answered with back-to-back steals by McFarlin that were converted into buckets, putting the visitors ahead, 46-43, with 7:08 left. The next four points of the game were scored at the line, leaving the score at 48-45, WashU, with 4:14 left. McFarlin then scored the next two buckets, taking advantage of two Brandeis miscues, to push the lead back to seven. Two more Orlando freebies cut the lead back to 52-47 with 2:48 left and the Judges got two stops on their next two possessions, but both times had their own shots rattle around rim before bouncing out. That opened the door for Ward to drain another trifecta from the top of the key to ice the game, 55-47, with 1:02 left. The Judges closed within four after a couple of missed WashU free throws, but could get any closer as the Bears hit five of their last six to clinch the win.

      The Judges will try to get a split of the UAA weekend on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. against No. 20 Chicago.

BOX SCORE