Dean, Vitale, Hodges honored by UAA

WALTHAM, Mass. – Three members of the Brandeis University women's basketball team have been named All-University Athletic Association for their performance in the 2013-14 season. Senior guard Kasey Dean of Southbury, Conn., was a second-team honoree, while senior forward Nicolina Vitale of Clinton Township, Mich., and rookie guard Paris Hodges of Southampton, N.Y., were honorable mentions.

      Dean, who was an honorable mention selection as a junior, led the Judges in scoring (9.9 points per game) and assists (2.8 apg). She improved her scoring to 10.4 ppg in UAA contests. Dean led the team in scoring eight times this season, including six times during the conference campaign. She scored in double figures in 12 of the Judges' 25 games, including a stretch of seven in a row that included a career-best 20 points in a Feb. 14 loss to second-ranked Washington University, 61-51, in which the Judges led at the half. Dean also led Brandeis in assists 15 times, seven times in the UAA, including a career-high seven helpers in a 71-58 win over Case Western Reserve on Feb. 7. Dean has started every game during the last two seasons and played in 95 of a possible 100 contests for her career.

      Vitale earned her first All-UAA accolade after finishing second on the team in scoring at 9.8 points per game, scoring just one point fewer than Dean on the campaign (247-246). She was the squad's leader in rebounding (5.4 rpg) and in blocked shots (24), ranking 15th and fifth in the UAA, respectively. She led the team in scoring four times and in rebounding eight times, including three times in the league. Vitale had 15 double-digit scoring games and registered two double-double performances, Nov. 16 against Colby (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Dec. 3 against UMass Dartmouth (11 points, 10 rebounds). Her performance against Colby helped Vitale earn All-Tournament honors at the Brandeis Invitational. Vitale ended the regular season with 53 career blocked shots, fifth in Brandeis history.

      Hodges had a terrific rookie season for the Judges, starting all 25 games. She averaged 6.7 points per game, fifth on the squad, and 4.7 rebounds per game, tied for second behind Vitale. She also finished second to Dean with 2.4 assists per contest. In UAA contests, Hodges improved her numbers to 8.1 points and 2.6 assists per game. She led the team in scoring twice, rebounding five times and assists nine times.

Hodges had four double-digit scoring games and two 10-rebound performances. One of her top games came Jan. 31 when Hodges scored all of her career-high 14 points in the second half at Case Western Reserve for a 63-58 come-from-behind win.

      Brandeis is in its 27th season under head coach Carol Simon. The Judges finished the regular season with a 13-12 record, their first winning campaign since 2009-10. They have earned a berth in the 2014 ECAC Division III New England tournament, their first postseason bid since 08-09. As the eighth seed, they will travel to top-seeded Emmanuel College on March 5th for a 7 p.m. game. The Judges upset then-nationally-ranked Emmanuel, 80-72, back in November.