February 25, 2012

Kendrew, seniors go out on high note as women's hoops defeats NYU, 62-55

WALTHAM, Mass. – Four Brandeis University women's basketball seniors ended their careers on a high note today as the Judges defeated rival New York University, 62-55, in the University Athletic Association (UAA) season finale for both teams. Brandeis wraps its campaign at 9-16, 2-12 in the UAA, while NYU ends up at 10-15, 2-12 UAA. The squad tied for 7th in the final league standings.

Senior guard Morgan Kendrew (Cotuit, Mass./Barnstable) guided the Judges with 21 points, while junior forward Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) added a career-high 18. Kendrew connected on 6-of-9 overall, 3-of-5 from deep and all six of her free throws. She finishes her career ranked 10th on Brandeis's all-time scoring list with 974 points, jumping two places in her final game to pass Christine Clancy '06. She also ranks second on the career list with an .813 free-throw percentage and tied for third with 113 3-pointers. Higginbottom's 18 points came on 8-of-12 from the floor with a pair of free throws. She also had a game-high nine rebounds, four on the offensive glass.

The Judges also got six points from senior guard Kelly Ethier (Springfield, Mass./Minnechaug Regional), who hit all six of her free throws. She also had a team-high three assists and two blocked shots, finishing the season with 22, tied for seventh-most in a single season, while her 42 career blocks are sixth all-time. Guard Diana Cincotta (W. Boylston, Mass./W. Boylston) and forward Shannon Hassan (Merrimack, N.H./Merrimack) each had three points in their final games. Brandeis controlled the boards, 37-26, while shooting 44 percent from the field (20-45) and a season-best 89.5% from the line (17-19).

NYU had just one player score in double figures, senior guard Cara Bonito (Teaneck, N.J./Acad. of the Holy Angels), who scored 16, eight in each half. Bonito hit 6-of-14 overall, 3-of-10 from beyond the arc and 1-of-2 from the line. She also led all players with four assists. Classmate Shelby Coon (Briarcliff, N.Y./Briarcliff) just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds, tying Higginbottom for game-high honors. The Violets won the turnover battle, 16-7, turning those miscues into a 19-7 scoring advantage.

An entertaining first half of the contest featured two ties and seven lead changes. NYU's largest lead was four at 12-8 after a Bonito 3-pointer at the 11:34 mark. After Makenzie Hirz (Santa Ana, Calif./Foothill) gave the Violets a 16-15 edge with 8:11 remaining before the break, Higginbottom scored eight of the game's next 10 points, capping the run with a jumper from just above the free-throw line that made the score 23-18 in favor of the Judges. NYU was able to knot the game at 25-25 with a 7-2 string, but sophomore Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) hit a late bucket with four seconds left to give Brandeis a two-point lead at the break. Higginbottom led all players with 10 points and five rebounds at halftime, while Kendrew added eight. Bonito had eight of her points in the first half for NYU.

Brandeis was still up one, 33-32, five minutes into the second half before Hassan and Cincotta hit from downtown on back-to-back possessions, capping an 8-2 run that made it 41-34. NYU bounced back with eight of the next 10 points, getting back to within one at 9:36 on a pair of free throws. With her team up one, 55-54, with just under seven minutes on the clock, Kendrew took over. She hit a 3-pointer at the 6:00 mark, scoring nine straight points for the Judges over a span of 1:45, making it a 54-46 game from the line, and the Judges never looked back. Kendrew finished with 13 second-half points.