WALTHAM, Mass. – Tournament Most Valuable Player Jil Vaughan (Wareham, Mass./Tabor Acad.) scored eight of her 14 points in the second half as the visiting 16th-ranked Colby College women's basketball team defeated host Brandeis, 60-44, in the championship game of the 2011 Judges Classic. The Mules held the Judges to just two field goals over the final 12 minutes as they pulled away for the victory. In the consolation game, Clark University defeated Endicott College, 57-47.
Over the first 28 minutes of action in today's final, Colby (2-0) was unable to pull away from Brandeis (2-2). Thanks to a balanced attack that saw eight different players score points, the Judges were within three points at 22-19 with just over five minutes left in the first half. Colby held Brandeis to just two free throws the rest of the stanza to take a 28-21 lead in to the locker room.
Mule senior guard Aarika Ritchie (Lee, Maine/Lee Acad.) led all players with eight points at the break, while Vaughan, senior Rachael Mack (Augusta, Maine/Cony) and junior guard Diana Manduca (Portland, Maine/Deering) had six each. Brandeis rookie Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) and sophomore Julia Scanlon (Long Valley, N.J./West Morris) had four each. Mack had eight rebounds to lead all players.
After Mack hit the first bucket of the second half to make it a 30-21 edge for the visitors, Brandeis went on a big run to get back in the contest. The Judges outscored 14-6 over the next five minutes, with graduate student guard Diana Cincotta (Plymouth, Mass./W. Boylston) kicking off the run with a driving lay-up and adding a 3-pointer. Senior guard Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) capped the run with a trifecta of her own at the 13:55 mark that made it 36-35 in favor of the Mules.
Unfortunately for the Judges, that would be the last Brandeis basket for more than 11 minutes. Vaughan answered Ethier's hoop with a bucket in the paint on a nice feed from Ritchie. After Scanlon hit two free throws to get the deficit back to one point, the Mules outscored Brandeis 22-7 over the final 12:19 of the contest to pull away.
For the game, Vaughan and Ritchie tied for game-high honors with 14 points. Vaughan averaged 15 points and nine rebounds over the two games to take home MVP honors, hitting 14-of-26 from the field (53.8%). She had 16 rebounds last night and two today. Ritchie finished today with 14 points and five assists, tied for game-high honors. Manduca also reached double figures with 11 points while also finishing with a game-high four steals. A night after doubling up Clark on the boards and grabbing 26 on the offensive glass, Colby wasn't nearly as dominant, with a 41-36 edge, 13-11 on the offensive end. The Mules were efficient with their chances, though, outscoring Brandeis 15-7 on second-chance points, and 14-9 in points off turnovers despite committing only one miscue fewer than the Judges.
Brandeis was paced by Cincotta, who had seven of her team-high 10 points in the second half. Ethier added six of her eight after the break. Cain had a fine performance with team- and career-bests of seven rebounds and five assists.
In the consolation game today, Clark pulled away from Endicott in the second half, shooting 51.7% from the floor after the break to pull away for the 57-47 win. Endicott trailed by just three at halftime, 22-19, and got within one after Jordan Ferland (Charlestown, N.H./Fall Mountain Regional) opened the half with a lay-up. Ferland also scored the Gulls' next four points from the line, making it a 30-25 Cougar lead with 16:57 on the clock.
Clark pulled away at that point, as they hit 10-of-15 shots while holding Endicott to just 3-of-14 with five turnovers over the next nine minutes. Six different Clark players contributed to the run, with sophomore Ashleigh Condon's (Hull, Mass./Hull) hitting three in a row to push the lead from nine to 15 at 42-27 at the 12:30 mark. The lead ballooned to as many as 20 at 52-32 on sophomore Emily Reilly's (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) lay-up with 8:21 before the Gulls closed on a 15-5 run to make it a 10-point final margin.
For Clark, Condon led all players with 15 points, 11 coming after the intermission, while junior forward Kelsey Giedymin (Shrewsbury, Mass./Shrewsbury) had 10. Four different Clark players had either six or seven rebounds, with sophomore reserve forward Esther Cohn (Chapel Hill, N.C./Carolina Friends School) leading the Cougars with seven boards and three assists. Giedymin, sophomore Annmarie Fransen (Belmont, Mass./Belmont) and senior Kate Minister (Manchester, England/Proctor Acad.) had six caroms each.
Endicott got 14 points and eight rebounds from Ferland to lead the team. Sophomore Jennifer White (Lisbon, N.H./Lisbon Regional) also had eight boards, while senior Nicole Heffernan (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) had seven caroms, helping her team to a 44-43 edge on the glass. Sophomore guard Sarah Robinson (Norwich, Vt./Hanover (N.H.)) had three assists to pace Endicott.
In addition to Colby's Jil Vaughan as the MVP, the All-Tournament team consisted of Rachael Mack from Colby, Diana Cincotta and Kelly Ethier from Brandeis, Kate Minister from Clark and Nicole Heffernan from Endicott.