Women's hoops falls just short against Chicago, 49-47

WALTHAM, Mass. - University of Chicago sophomore guard Bryann Halfhill (Canfield, Ohio/Canfield) had key steal and scored the game's last three points from the free-throw line today to give the visiting Maroons a key University Athletic Association (UAA) victory over the host Brandeis University Judges in Red Auerbach Arena. With the win, Chicago improves to 17-5, 9-2 in the Association, keeping them a game behind league-leading Washington University  in the standings, while Brandeis falls to 13-8, 6-5 in the UAA.

In a game that featured nine ties and 11 lead changes, the Maroons were able to win the contest at the end. Brandeis had gone ahead, 47-46, on a Kasey Gieschen (Boonton Township, N.J./Mountain Lakes) jumper with 1:31 on the clock. UC turned the ball over just 11 seconds later on a traveling violation, but Halfhill's pressure turned into a steal with just over a minute remaining. Fouled on the way to the hoop, she drained both free throws to give the visitors a 48-47 lead with 56 ticks on the clock.

On the Judges' ensuing possession, they missed their initial shot but earned the offensive rebound on a jump ball. They were unable to get a quality shot and were forced to foul twice to send UC to the line. Halfhill hit her first attempt, but missed the second, making it a two-point game with 13 seconds on the clock.

Brandeis got the ball up the court, but were unable to shake leading scorer Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima) free for a shot. A desperation jumper at the buzzer missed to give the visitors the win.

Halfhill led all scorers with 19 points, 13 coming in the second half. She also had a game-high five steals. Senior Molly Hackney (E. Lansing, Mich./Lansing Catholic) had seven rebounds to lead all players, as the Maroons owned a 42-27 edge on the boards, including 16-5 on the offensive glass.

Chapin scored 10 of her team-high 14 points after the break, hitting 3-of-4, including her only 3-pointer, in the second. Sophomore Shannon Hassan (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) added seven points and a team-high six rebounds off the bench. The Judges forced Chicago into 25 turnovers, but with 18 of their own were only able to convert the edge into a 20-16 scoring margin in points off miscues.

Brandeis led for much of the first half. With a 15-14 lead midway through the stanza, Hassan scored four straight points and junior Mia DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) added a back-door lay-up to give the Judges their largest lead at 21-14, with 4:16 on the clock. Maroon senior guard Jamie Stinson (Topeka, Kans./Shawnee Heights) stopped the bleeding with a trifecta, sparking an 8-1 that tied the game at 22-22 with 2:19 on the clock. Brandeis scored the half's final three points to take a 25-22 edge into the locker room.

Chicago came out and scored the first eight points after the break. Halfhill tied the game from downtown to open the scoring, and the Maroons claimed a 30-25 edge on a Meghan Herrick (Cedarsburg, Wisc./Cedarsburg) trifecta. The Judges answered with a 9-3 streak of their own, going back on top on a fast-break bucket by Chapin that was started with a steal by classmate Lauren Rashford (Whitesboro, N.Y./Whitesboro). The game's final 14 minutes featured six ties and five lead changes before Halfhill's final heroics.

Brandeis next hits the road to take on the University of Rochester next Friday at 6 p.m. in their final UAA road trip of the season.

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