Women's hoops pushes #13 Babson to OT before falling, 62-59

Women's hoops pushes #13 Babson to OT before falling, 62-59

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team got a fine second-half performance from junior Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable) for the second night in a row, but the 13th-ranked Babson College Beavers got the last word, overcoming an eight-point deficit with 4:30 left on the clock and prevailing in overtime, 62-59.

Brandeis (1-1) never trailed in the first 39-and-a-half minutes of the contest, including a 27-20 lead at the break thanks to nine first-half points by senior forward Amber Strodthoff (DePere, Wis./DePere). Sophomore center Sarah Collins (Weymouth, Mass./Weymouth) kept Babson (1-0) in the contest with 10 points, accounting for half of her team's offense. Collins scored the first five points of the second half off Brandeis turnovers, with a 3-pointer and a steal and lay-up, but the Judges answered with six straight points to match their biggest lead at eight points, 33-25, with 17:39 remaining in regulation.

The Beavers got within one point at 37-36 on a Collins put-back with 11:13 on the clock, but after three empty possessions for both sides, a pair of Kendrew free throws put momentum back in Brandeis's court. After Strodthoff found Kendrew for a back-door lay-up, senior Mia DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Red Bank Catholic) coverted a traditional three-point play with 5:38 remaining to push the lead back to eight at 52-44 with 5:38 on the clock. A Collins lay-up on a post-to-post pass from junior Nicole Wurdeman (Rowley, Mass./Triton Regional) was answered by two freebies by Brandeis rookie Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris), for a 54-46 lead with 4:30 on the clock.

At that point, Babson started their comeback. The next possession was key, as senior guard Becky Bowman (Melrose, Mass./Arlington, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer from the corner. On an aggressive box-out, DePalo was called for a foul, and Bowman converted the four-point play to cut the lead in half one possession. Neither team scored over the next two-and-a-half minutes, with tight defense taking over. The Beavers chipped away at the lead, as Collins and Wurdeman each hit one of two free throws at the 1:34 and 49-second marks to get the visitors within two.

The Beavers took their first lead with just 29 seconds left on the clock when Collins stole the ball and found Bowman on the fast break. Bowman converted the lay-up and was fouled in the process, converting the traditional three-point play to give the visitors a 55-54 edge. After two timeouts, Brandeis was unable to convert, as Kendrew's drive to the hole was denied. Bowman tied up the ensuing rebound with the possession arrow favoring Babson. The Judges sent Wurdeman to the line, and she hit both free throws with 9.8 seconds left, pushing the lead to three points, 57-54.

Not to be denied, Brandeis called a timeout, and Kendrew pushed the ball up the floor. Strodthoff set a terrific screen at the top of the key, freeing her teammate to hit from the elbow with 2.8 seconds left in regulation and force the extra session.

In overtime, with both teams beginning to tire, the game went more than three minutes with no one scoring. Babson junior Kathleen King (Framingham, Mass./Framingham) finally broke the ice from the line, drawing a foul after rebounding her own miss with 1:57 left. After King hit both free throws, Brandeis junior Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) hit an open jumper on a nice feed from classmate Brighid Courtney (Southampton, Mass./Northampton). The Beavers pushed the ball on the ensuing possession and King scored what proved to be the game-winning hoop with 1:15 left on feed from sophomore Allanah Wynn (Quincy, Mass./Milton Acad.).

The Judges weren't quite done yet, however. After Babson got a stop on their next possession, Strodthoff grabbed a rebound with 28 seconds left on a Collins miss. The Judges moved the ball the other way and worked it into Kendrew's hands. She drove the lane and appeared to hit another game-tying shot with 13 seconds on the clock, but two Babson defenders converged on the spot and drew a charge call, negating Kendrew's bucket. Wynn hit one of two after getting fouled with three seconds left, and Brandeis  called timeout. The Judges executed a nifty play to get Ethier free for a long 3-pointer, and she drew iron from about 23 feet away, but it was unkind, and the hosts were unable to send the fans home with more extra time.

For the game, Kendrew led Brandeis with 21 points, a career-best. She scored 16 in the second half, after scoring 13 in the second half in the Judges' season opener. Kendrew also led the Judges with six rebounds, four coming on the offensive glass. Strodthoff finished with 13 points, nine coming in the first 20 minutes. Four Brandeis players tied for team-high honors with two assists each.

For Babson, Collins led all player with 26 points, matching Kendrew with 16 in the second half. Collins also had five steals and three blocked shots. King finished with 12 points, including four of the Beavers' five in OT, and a game-high 10 rebounds. Bowman had 11 points off the bench. Wynn and sophomore reserve Jessica Aruda (Hanover, Mass./Notre Dame Acad.) tied for game-high honors with four assists each.

Brandeis is next in action on Saturday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. against Connecticut College in the Judges Classic tournament, while Babson takes on Regis College Saturday at 1 p.m.