January 26, 2014

Dean leads women past #7 Emory, 65-61

WALTHAM, Mass. — The Brandeis University women's basketball team scored a major University Athletic Association (UAA) upset today, as the Judges defeated No. 7 Emory University, 65-61, in Red Auerbach Arena. Senior guard Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) scored eight of her team-high 19 points in the final 7:25, including the go-ahead bucket as the shot clock expired and 55.3 seconds to go as the Judges overcame a 10-point deficit to win.

Brandeis (8-8, 2-3 UAA) trailed, 58-48, with 8:24 to go after Emory (14-2, 3-2 UAA) senior Selena Castillo (Tampa, Fla./Academy of the Holy Names) connected from 3-point range and fed sophomore Khadijah Sayyid (Longomnt, Colo./Peak to Peak) for jumper on the next possession. After that, the Judges scored 17 of the game's final 20 points, holding the Eagles to just one field goal in their last 14 attempts, while forcing three turnovers down the stretch.

Brandeis rookie Paris Hodges (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton) scored on a fall-away jumper at the 7:25 mark to kick-start the comeback. After an EU miss, Brandeis senior forward Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) hit two from the free throw line. A steal and lay-in by Sayyid pushed the Eagle lead back to eight at 60-52 with just over five minutes to do, but Dean connected at the 4:41 mark to get the deficit back down to six.

After Emory was whistled for traveling, Vitale found Dean for a 12-footer to make it 60-54 with 4:04 to go. The teams traded misses over the next 90 seconds before Dean struck again on a nice pass from rookie center Maria Jackson (Rochester, N.Y./Hilton). Jackson grabbed the rebound on Emory's next miss, and on the next offensive possession, Brandeis worked the shot clock under 10 before Hodges drove the lane and got to the glass, tying the game at 60-60 with 1:52 to go, tying the game for the first time since the start.

The Eagles had two more chances to go ahead after a miss and an offensive rebound by senior Savannah Morgan (San Jose, Calif./Presentation) on their next possession, but Vitale was in position for the next miss as the ball was swatted out of bounds by an Emory player with 1:29 on the clock. After Brandeis inbounded the ball, they called timeout in the front court. The Judges worked the ball around, but had trouble penetrating the Emory defense. With the shot clock winding down, Hodges found Dean, who launched an off-balance jumper from the right side and beat the buzzer with a swish and 55.3 seconds on the clock to give the Judges their first lead since 3:33 in the first half.

On the ensuing possession, Emory again grabbed an offensive rebound, but Castillo only hit one of two free throws with 44.4 seconds showing. Hodges grabbed the rebound, and brought the ball up. After back-to-back Brandeis timeouts, again the Judges tried to find an opening in the Eagle defense. This time, Hodges found a wide-open Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchaug Regional) in the corner with two seconds left on the shot clock and 7.9 on the game clock, and Mancinelli drained her only 3-pointer of the game, making it a 65-61 game. The Judges then kept the Eagles from getting any closer when Jackson drew a charge with under three seconds to go to seal the win.

Brandeis put four players in double figures in scoring for just the second time all season. Dean led the squad with 19 points, 12 coming in the second half and eight in the final comeback. She hit 8-of-14 from the floor, with one 3-pointer and 2-of-3 from the line, also pulled down eight rebounds. Jackson finished with 14 points – eight in the first half – and eight boards, while Mancinelli and Vitale each had 10 points. Hodges had a terrific all-around game, with eight points and game-highs of 10 points and six assists, which were a career-high as well.

The Judges had 20 points on their 26 baskets, with Vitale matching her career-best. They also outrebounded the Eagles, 48-38, and outshot them, 44.1% to 32.8%. In the second half, the Judges connected on 51.9% (14-27) and held the visitors to just 27.3% (9-33).

Emory had three players in double figures, led by Castillo's game-high 20, which came on 8-of-21 from the floor, 3-of-5 from downtown and 1-of-2 from the line. Morgan added 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and a game-high four steals, while senior Hannah Lilly (Mercer Island, Wash./Mercer Island) added 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds. The Eagles built their 10-point lead thanks to a 21-9 advantage in points off turnovers.

Brandeis hits the road for more UAA action next weekend at Case Western Reserve for a 6 p.m. start, while Emory hosts Chicago at the same time.