Waltham, Mass. – Despite a slow start, the Brandeis University women's basketball team came from 12 points down at the start of the second half to defeat University Athletic Association conference foe Carnegie Mellon University, 59-54, in Auerbach Arena. The Judges defeated the Tartans for the second time this season, and their 19th straight win in the series. With the victory the Judges improve to 11-10, 3-7 in the UAA. The loss drops CMU to 2-19, 0-10 in conference.
Brandeis scored the opening shot, but struggled to get into the game in the first half. After a shot from outside at 13:24 by senior forward Mia DePalo (Rumson, N.J./Red Bank Catholic), the score was 12-7, CMU. Over the next three minutes, the Tartans held the Judges to 0-3 from the floor and forced four turnovers and scored 14 unanswered points to put the score at 26-7. The run included three baskets from sophomore forward Emily Peel (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris Central) and two 3-pointers. With the Tartans still ahead, 32-15, at 3:35, Brandeis scored seven of the next nine points, four coming from rookie Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomeraug). Dean scored the final bucket of the half on a put-back, making the score 34-22, and putting the Judges within striking distance.
A series of fouls sent Brandeis to the line at the beginning of the second half to begin closing the gap. With two good free-throws from sophomore forward Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.H./Hoosic Valley) and a layup from junior guard Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable), the Judges cut the deficit to eight points, making the score 39-31 at 14:40. DePalo hit a 3-pointer to make it a 5-point game. Over the next three minutes, the Judges held their opponent to just two points and scored three more of their own. At 11:26 Kendrew hit a shot from deep to make the score 41-39.
The game was at a stand-still until 6:15, when senior forward Amber Strodthoff (DePere, Wis./DePere) made two free throws to cut the Tartan lead to one point at 44-43. Jacquie Shaw (Portland, Ore./Grant) was sent to the line where she made both shots to make put her team up by three at 5:05 . A 3-pointer from Kendrew at 4:55, tied the game for the first time, at 46-46. CMU answered back with a layup from Nicole Vaccarella (Colts Neck, N.J./Colts Neck) to regain the lead. Not to be denied, DePalo came through with a shot from outside, making the score, 49-48, at 3:44 and giving the Judges the lead for the first time since the score was 2-0 at the start of the game.
At 3:08, Strodthoff was sent to the line and sunk both shots to put Brandeis up by three, 51-48. A layup from Peel brought it back to a one point game. Kendrew was fouled on an offensive rebound and sent to the free-throw line, where she made one of two to put the Judges back up by two, 52-50. Shaw hit a shot in the paint to tie the game for the second and final time. Kendrew sank a 3- pointer from the right corner on a fast break to make the score, 56-53, with 37.6 seconds remaining. Shaw hit another layup on a drive to the hoop to bring the Tartans within one, with just 22 seconds left on the clock. A 3-point shot attempt from Vaccarella that would have knotted the game was blocked by DePalo at with seven seconds. Brandeis kept the Tartans at bay, making 4-of-4 from the charity stripe to end the game 59-54.
The Judges were paced by Kendrew who scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. DePalo continued to be a threat from deep, making nine of her 11 points from 3-point range. Ness posted a career- and game-high 11 rebounds, seven coming in the second half. Dean had a career-high eight rebounds and scored eight points for the Judges.
The Tartans were led by Vaccarella, with a game-high 18 points and six rebounds. Peel also scored in double digits with 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds. Rookie guard Gina Tudi (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) posted a career- and game-high nine assists, eight coming in the first half and just one shy of the Carnegie Mellon school record. Shaw scored 11 points with eight rebounds.
The Judges play their last regular season home game on Sunday when they take on Case Western Reserve University, at 2:00 p.m.
Carnegie Mellon continues conference action Sunday when they face off against New York University at 2:00 p.m.