November 22, 2011

Rodriguez, reserves help women fend off Wellesley, 65-61

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Brandeis University sophomore guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Memorial) hit all four of her 3-pointers, scoring a career-high 12 points off the bench, leading the Judges' reserves to a 23-4 advantage tonight as they defeated host Wellesley College, 65-61. The win improves the Judges to 3-2 on the season, while the Blue fall to 1-2. 

Rodriguez was one point shy of her career-high in the first half, when she connected on three of her four long bombs. Two of those 3-pointers came in a key 10-0 run midway through the half when the Judges took the lead for good. Trailing 16-13, senior Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) started the key run at the 10:33 mark. Rookie Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) scored the go-ahead basket with 9:24 left in the first, followed by Rodriguez's second and third trifecats of the night that made the game 23-16 with 7:46 to go. Brandeis took a 32-26 lead into the break and were able to maintain it throughout the second half.

The advantage bulged to 10 points later in the second, but the Judges were never able to pull away. Wellesley's leading scorer Malia Maier made it a 39-38 deficit for the Blue less than five minutes into the stanza. Ethier answered with a lay-up, followed by a 3-pointer from graduate student Diana Cincotta (Plymouth, Mass./W. Boylston) that sent the lead back to six. The teams traded buckets for eight solid minutes before an Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) hoop pushed the lead to 52-42 at the 6:42 mark. The Blue weren't done, as a Maier trifecta and a Meghan Sargent lay-up trimmed the lead in half, but senior Shannon Hassan (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) answered and the Judges hung on for the lead. 

In addition to Rodriguez, Hassan also finished with 12 points. Hassan hit 3-of-5 from the field and 6-of-9 from the line. Cincotta reached double figures as well with 10 points. Cain had nine points and five assists, tied for game-high honors, while Ethier stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, a team-high six rebounds, two blocks, a steal and an assist. Rodriguez's bench help came from Higginbottom, who had six points, three from junior Courtney Ness (Norwich, Vt./Hanover, N.H.) and a pair from sophomore Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug)

Maier led all players with 21 points and five steals, becoming Wellesley's all-time leader in that category with 231. Leslie Leong finished with 12 points and game-highs of eight rebounds and five assists, while Ashleigh Sargent finished with 11 points. 

Brandeis returns to action on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. against Tufts University, while Wellesley opens NEWMAC action next Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. at MIT.