Women close regular season on high note with 72-61 win at NYU

Erika Higginbottom '13 (Photo by Sportspix.biz/Jan Volk)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team overcame an eight-point halftime deficit today to defeat host NYU, 72-61, in the regular season finale for both University Athletic Association squads. Both the Judges and Violets finish 2012-13 with 10-15 overall record. Brandeis ends up in sixth place with a 4-10 UAA record, while NYU is tied for seventh at 3-11.

Brandeis trailed 36-28 at the break, and they were still down by eight after NYU's Riley Wurtz hit a 3-pointer at the 12:24 mark made it 44-38 in favor of the Violets. The Judges turned up the heat on defense at that point, holding their rivals without a field goal for close to seven minutes. Their 14-3 run saw balanced scoring, with senior Erika Higginbottom (Millbury, Mass./Worcester Acad.) scoring four points early in the string. Classmate Samantha Anderson (Johnsonville, N.Y./Hoosic Valley) tied the game at 47-47 with a traditional three-point play with 9:10 left on the clock, while junior Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) connected from downtown at 7:47 to give Brandeis their first lead since 10-9.

After Brandeis rookie Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchaug Regional) scored with just under six minutes left to make it a two-possession game at 52-47, Wurtz snapped the Violets' woes from the field, but three points was as close as NYU would get. The Judges never trailed again, hitting 14-of-16 from the line down the stretch to keep the Violets at bay. In all, Brandeis outscored NYU, 44-25, in the final 20 minutes. The Judges held the hosts to 20 percent shooting from the field (7-35) and forced 14 turnovers. Meanwhile, Brandeis connected on 41 percent from the floor (12-29) and 91 percent from the line (19-21) while making just seven turnovers after the break.

Brandeis nearly put all five starters in double figures. Higginbottom led all players with 16 points, notching seven in the first half and nine in the second. Anderson and Rodriguez each finished with 12 points, while junior Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) and sophomore Hannah Cain (Gloucester, Mass./Gloucester) had nine points each. Higginbottom, who had 18 points in last year's season finale against NYU, hit 7-of-10 from the field today, including a pair of 3-pointers. Cain led the Judges with seven rebounds, while Rodriguez added five assists and three steals. The Judges' 72 points marked their second-highest scoring total of the season.  Brandeis completed just the third season sweep of NYU in school history and first since 2009-10 as they won the 50th meeting between the two schools.

NYU was led by Wurtz' double-double, as she finished with 12 points and game-highs of 10 rebounds and six assists. She also committed nine of the Violets' 25 turnovers. Nicole Lem also had 12 points for the home team, while Cassidy Jourdan and Alexis Doherty had nine points each.