WALTHAM, Mass.- In a grind-it-out, sometimes sloppy, and very physical contest, the sixth-ranked Washington University (Mo.) Bears snapped the Brandeis University women's basketball team's six game winning streak at Red Auerbach Arena, 61-51. The Bears improve to 19-2, 9-1 in the University Athletic Association (UAA) while the Judges fall to 12-9, 6-4 in the UAA.
The game opened up with four missed shots and five turnovers in the first two and a half minutes before WashU's junior guard Maddy Scheppers (Bossier City, La./Airline) hit a 3-pointer from the left wing. The Bears would push their lead to 5-0 on a layup by senior forward Jordan Rettig (Sugar Grove, Ill./Rosary) but that would be their largest, and only, advantage of the period. Brandeis' senior guard Kasey Dean (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) got the Judges on the board with a put-back of her own missed jumper, sparking a 15-2 run over the next four and a half minutes. Rookie guard Paris Hodges (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton) capped the surge with a trifecta at the 12:03 mark to give Brandeis a 15-7 lead.
The Bears never backed down and answered right back with seven straight points to cut their deficit down to 15-14. The Judges were able to push the lead back up to six on a pair of free throws from sophomore guard Samantha Mancinelli (Durham, Conn./Coginchaug Regional) but WashU responded with the last five points of the half and Brandeis headed to the locker rooms clinging to a 21-20 advantage.
In the second half, the fouls piled up as the Judges were called for seven fouls before five minutes had even come off the clock. Both Dean and rookie forward Maria Jackson (Rochester, N.Y./Hilton) were forced out of the game with four fouls apiece. At the time, the Bears led 30-28 but once Dean and Jackson headed to the bench, WashU embarked on a 9-2 run that gave them their largest lead of the contest with 9:57 remaining in the game, 39-30. From there, Brandeis would get no closer than five points. With 8:38 to play, a layup by senior center Angela Miller (Sicklerville, N.J./Timber Creek) made it 39-34. The Judges cut it back down to five for the last time with 6:26 on the clock when senior guard Janelle Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass./Peabody Veterans) drained a long trifecta to make it 42-37. After that basket, WashU put the contest to bed with an 8-0 surge and Brandeis was unable to cut the lead to single digits the rest of the way.
The Judges played an excellent defensive 40 minutes, holding the Bears to under 30% shooting from the field (29.8%) for the first time this season, their fewest made field goals (14), and their lowest scoring output (61). The Judges were called for 26 fouls while the Bears had 13 for the game. That translated into a 35 shot disparity at the charity stripe where WashU went 29-for-43 while Brandeis was 5-for-8.
Brandeis put two starters in double-figures as Dean netted a team-high 13 points followed by Rodriguez who scored 11, including 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Miller led the squad with seven rebounds while Rodriguez and senior forward Nicolina Vitale (Clinton Township, Mich./Chippewa Valley) each grabbed five caroms. Miller and Vitale also shared game-high honors with a block apiece. Mancinelli led the Judges with three assists while rookie forward Sydney Sodine (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollow Hills West) had one of her best efforts of the season with seven points, three boards, and a team-high two steals.
WashU won with an even scoring offense that had four players in double-digits. Scheppers led the squad with a double-double featuring game-highs of 16 points and 10 rebounds. Junior forward Melissa Gilkey (Woodinville, Wash./Woodinville), sophomore guard Jordan Thompson (Webster Groves, Mo./Webster Groves), and junior guard Alyssa Johanson (Orinda, Calif./Miramonte) each added 10 points. Scheppers and Thompson shared squad-high honors with three assists apiece while Scheppers added a game-high three steals.
Brandeis continues their UAA slate with a game against the University of Chicago on Sunday February 16th at 2:00 p.m. The Bears resume their weekend UAA road trip against NYU.