Late first half surge lifts No. 16 WashU women past No. 21 Brandeis, 71-56

Late first half surge lifts No. 16 WashU women past No. 21 Brandeis, 71-56

ST. LOUIS, Mo. -- The 16th-ranked Washington University women's basketball team scored 15 of the last 18 points of the first half, snapping a 23-23 tie, as the Bears claimed a 71-56 University Athletic Association victory today. With the win, WashU improves to 16-4, 8-1 in the UAA, while Brandeis falls to 13-6, 3-6 UAA.

The first half was a game of runs. Brandeis raced out to a 13-4 lead after a trifecta by sophomore Diana Cincotta (W. Boylston, Mass.) just under six-and-a-half minutes into the game. After their slow start, the Bears held the visitors without a field goal for the next 7:30, outscoring the Judges 19-2 over that stretch to go ahead, 23-15, with 6:17 left. Janice Evans had eight of the 19 WashU points in the run. Brandeis snapped out of it with another Cincotta bucket, sparking an 8-0 run that tied the game, 23-23, on a pair of Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y.) free throws.

At that point, WashU went on the decisive run, holding Brandeis to 1-for-4 shooting with six turnovers in the final 4:34. Meanwhile the Bears got contributions from five different players, including seven more points from Evans and a buzzer-beating put-back from Shanna-Lei Dacanay that gave the hosts a 38-26 lead at the intermission.

The Judges got within seven points, 43-36, on a Chapin trifecta with 16:43 left, but WashU's Halsey Ward answered with a deep ball of her own. Brandeis got two Lauren Orlando (Peabody, Mass.) free throws on the next possession, but could not keep the deficit under 10 points the rest of the way.

Brandeis was paced by 18 points from Chapin, who connected on 5-of-10 from the field, including a perfect 4-of-4 from downtown and from the line. She also had five rebounds and five assists Cincotta added 12 points, while senior Amanda Wells (Loudon, N.H.) recorded her second career double-double with 11 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Evans led all players for WashU with 21 points, while Ward and Zoe Unruh had 11 each. Jaime McFarlin had nine rebounds and six steals to lead the hosts, while Dacanay had a game-high eight assists. The Bears outscored Brandeis, 27-4, in points off turnovers and 29-13 in bench points.