BABSON PARK, Mass. (courtesy Babson sports information) - Senior guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y./Honeoye Fall-Lima) scored 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the nationally-ranked Brandeis University Judges to a hard-fought 68-58 victory over host Babson College in a matchup of regional women's basketball rivals at Babson's Staake Gymnasium on Tuesday night. With the win, Brandeis, ranked ninth in the D3hoops.com preseason poll, improved to 2-0, while the Beavers lost their opener to fall to 0-1.
A preseason All-American selection by D3hoops.com, Chapin led all players with 33 points, 10 boards, and six steals while also dishing out two assists and blocking a shot. The Judges' senior co-captain shot 9-for-19 from the floor and 13-for-15 from the line while knocking down a pair of 3-pointers. Her 33 points were one short of a school record, held by Pam Vaughan '89, while the double-double performance was the fifth of her career
Joining Chapin in double figures for Brandeis was fellow senior co-captain Kasey Gieschen (Boonton Township, N.J./Mountain Lakes), who netted 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, matching her career-high set in the season opener. Sophomore reserve Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable) chipped in with six points in the victory, while sophomore Shannon Hassan (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) added four points and six rebounds.
Sophomore Nicki Wurdeman (Rowley, Mass.) was outstanding in defeat for Babson, scoring 23 points to go with six boards and five blocked shots. First-year Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass.) added 10 points, six rebounds, and four blocks off the bench, and first-year Allanah Wynn (Quincy, Mass.) contributed six points and three assists. Sophomore Kathleen King (Framingham, Mass.) was held to just four points on offense but did collect six rebounds, three assists, and a team-high four steals, and senior captain Amanda Grammel (Leominster, Mass.) added three steals and two helpers.
The two teams stayed close throughout the first half, with Babson building five-point advantage on back-to-back lay-ups by Wurdeman with just over a minute remaining. However, Chapin rattled off four straight points, including a foul-line jumper with one second left, to cut the Beavers' lead to 34-33 at the break.
Brandeis extended its run to 12-0 with eight straight points to start the second half, as the visitors jumped out to a seven-point lead at 41-34 with 17:34 left to play. Babson responded with a 7-0 burst over the next two minutes to pull even at 41-41, but Brandeis scored six of the game's next eight points to go up 47-43 with 13:40 on the clock.
A three-pointer by Babson first-year Kelsey Olivere (Braintree, Mass.) pulled Babson to within one at 47-46 with 13:22 remaining, but the Judges' defense would hold the Beavers to just 12 points the rest of the way, including a four-minute, 21-second draught during which Brandeis ripped off seven straight points to make it 53-46. Babson eventually pulled to within six after a pair of free throws by Collins at 7:42, but Chapin answered with a conventional three-point play to push it back to nine at 59-50 with 7:24 left. The hosts would get no closer than seven the rest of the way as Brandeis held on for the 68-58 win.
Both teams return to action on Friday. Brandeis hosts Wentworth in his home opener at 6 p.m., while Babson heads to Hoboken, New Jersey to face Wesleyan at 8 p.m. in the first round of the Stevens Institute of Technology Tip-Off Tournament.