WALTHAM, Mass. - Brandeis senior guard Jessica Chapin (Mendon, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima) scored 23 of her game-high 29 points in the first half, including her school-record setting 138th career 3-pointer, but it was former Judge assistant coach Anthony Ewing's University of New England Nor'easters who got the last laugh tonight, rallying from a 12-point halftime deficit to take an 81-77 decision in Red Auerbach Arena. UNE improves to 8-3 with the win, while Brandeis closes its non-conference slate at 7-3.
The Judges never trailed in the first half and led by as many as 18 points. With 5:42 left in the stanza, Chapin surpassed Jen Curran '01 with her fourth trifecta of the game. She was fouled in the process and completed the four-point play to give Brandeis a 35-17 lead. At that point, the senior co-captain was outscoring the visitors by herself, 19-17.
UNE closed the gap quickly, going on an 11-2 run over the next 3:20. They gotback to within single digits at 37-28 on a deep shot by junior forward Chelsey Meszaros (North Clarendon, Vt./Mill River Union). Brandeis sophomore Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable) nailed a 3-pointer of her own with 41 seconds left to close out the first-half scoring as the Judges owned a 42-30 lead. Kendrew had 11 first-half points.
In the second half, Brandeis struggled from the floor early, missing their first seven shots as the Nor'easters climbed back into the contest. UNE outscored the Judges, 11-3, in the first 4:15 after intermission. The run included a pair of traditional three-point plays by sophomore guards Kari Pelletier (South Paris, Maine/Oxford Hills) and Kelley Paradis (Newport, Maine/Nokomis Regional) and was capped by a deep 3-point bucket by junior guard Carrie Bunnell (Barnet, Vt./St. Johnsbury Acad.) that trimmed the lead to 45-43.
Brandeis answered with back-to-back buckets from a pair of post players, junior Amber Strodhoff (DePere, Wisc./DePere) and rookie Courtney Ness (Norwich, Vt./Hanover (N.H.)), but Meszaros answered from deep to stem the tide. The teams traded punches over the next five minutes, with the Judges' edge bouncing between two and five points. The lead was four, 59-55, with 8:17 left on the clock when Ness found an open Strodhoff for a bucket.
UNE answered with the next six points of the game, taking the lead at 61-59 with 7:08 remaining on a Paradis trifecta, her first of the contest. Chapin responded with her fifth trifecta of the game and Kendrew added a bucket to put the Judges ahead 64-61, but Meszaros connected from beyond the arc again, knotting the game at 64-64 with five minutes left in the contest.
After a Brandeis free throw, the Nor'easters answered with their fifth 3-pointer of the second half, this time by Bunnell, putting the visitors ahead for good. That bucket sparked a 7-2 run, and solid free throw shooting (8-of-10) down the stretch salted the game away.
Brandeis was paced by Chapin's 29, but after going eight-for-11 from the field in the first half, she connected on just one-of-nine in the second. She finished five-of-12 from downtown, giving her 139 career 3-pointers. Kendrew and Strodhoff each finished with 15 points. Strodthoff also had a game-high 12 rebounds for her first career double-double. The Judges owned a 42-31 rebounding advantage but were outscored 28-13 from the free-throw line, falling to 2-3 in games when their opponents take more foul shots.
UNE put four players in double figures, led by 20 from Paradis on seven-of-10 from the field with a 3-pointer and five-of-seven from the line. Fourteen of her 20 points came in the second half. Senior forward Katie Diggins (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) had 14 points, while sophomore forward Margo Russell (Madison, Maine/Madison Area) hit 10-of-14 from the line en route to 14 points. Russell also led the Nor'easters with eight rebounds. Meszaros has a perfect shooting night in 13 minutes off the bench with 11 points, hitting all three of her 3-point attempts and both free-throw attempts. Pelletier and Bunnell also each finished with nine points.
UNE shot 52.2% from the floor in the second (12-of-23), including 83.3% from deep (5-of-6) to overcome their slow start. They used a 17-8 edge in bench scoring, as Meszaros outscored all Brandeis reserves with her 11 points.
Brandeis is next in action on Saturday for their University Athletic Association opener at 2 p.m. at New York University, while UNE is at Thomas College Thursday at 7:30 p.m.