Women break out of scoring slump but fall to UR, 72-58

Kasey Dean '14 (Photo by Sportspix/Jan Volk)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- The Brandeis women's basketball team matched its offensive output from each of the previous two games in the first half today, and the Judges had three players score in double figures, but it wasn't enough to overcome the four players from host Rochester with at least 10 points as the host Yellowjackets earned a 72-58 home University Athletic Association victory.

With the loss, the Judges' sixth in a row, Brandeis falls to 7-11 overall, 1-6 in the UAA. Rochester keeps pace with Washington University and Emory at the top of the conference standings at 14-4, 6-1 UAA.

The Judges got of to a terrific start. With the game tied at 7-7 just over six minutes into the game, Brandeis scored nine unanswered points, five of which came from junior guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) on a 3-pointer to start the run and a jumper at the 11:07 mark to make it a 16-7 lead. Brandeis forced two turnovers and got three offensive rebounds in the run. The Judges were still ahead, 20-14, after an Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) hoop with 8:47 left when the UR offense got back on track.

The Yellowjackets outscored Brandeis, 22-8, the rest of the way before halftime. The hosts claimed their first lead at 23-22 on a Danielle McNabb bucket off an offensive rebound at the at 6:42 mark, and never looked back. The Judges still trailed by one, 29-28, on a Higginbottom lay-up at the 3:11 mark, but UR'S Ally Zywicki answered, and Breanna Madrazo scored a 3-pointer and a steal and lay-up to give the 'Jackets a 7-0 closing run and 36-28 halftime lead. Those two Rochester players scored eight first-half points to lead all players, while Rodriguez had seven to pace the Judges, who had scored only 28 point in losses at Washington University and Emory in their previous two contests. 

Brandeis clawed back within five points on an early 3-pointer by sophomore guard Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester), but after Jackie Walker answered from downtown for the 'Jackets, the Judges were unable to get any closer. Walker scored 12 points and Paige Aleski had 11 after the break to help keep the visitors at bay as UR led by as many as 17 points before the 72-58 victory.

Brandeis, who had just one double figure scorer in its previous two contests, put three starters in double digits in this one. Dean led the Judges with 14 points, eight in the second half. She hit 7-of-12 overall from the floor. Cain and Rodriguez each finished with 12 points. Cain was 4-for-15 from the field, 1-for-3 from deep, and hit 3-of-5 from the line, Brandeis's only free throws of the game. Rodriguez was 5-of-13 overall, 2-of-4 from deep. Cain also led the Judges with six rebounds, while Higginbottom had a team-high three assists. Brandeis narrowly lost the battle of the boards, 37-35, while grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. After shooting below 20 percent in their last two games, the Judges hit 38.5% today (25-65). 

Rochester was led by 18 points from Walker and 15 off the bench from Aleski, who outscored the entire Brandeis reserves on her own (15-8). Aleski was on fire from 3-point range, hitting 4-of-6. Zywicki added 12 points and registered a double-double with 10 assists. Madrazo finished with 10 points as the 'Jackets put up the second-highest point total against Brandeis this season. Amy Woods pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds. Rochester hit 45.6% from the floor (26-57), 40.9% from beyond the arc (9-22) and 73.3% from the line (11-15), where they outscored the Judges by an 11-3 margin.

Brandeis returns from a four-game UAA road trip next weekend when they host the two teams they visited this weekend. Emory will be in town next Friday at 6 p.m. followed by Rochester Sunday at 2 p.m. The 'Jackets will head to NYU on Friday night to kick off a stretch of five of their last seven on the road.