SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team couldn't overcome an ice-cold first half tonight as the Judges dropped their ECAC Division III Tournament opening round game at Springfield College, 58-46, at the SC's Naismith Arena. The Pride now advance to Friday's quarterfinals at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, where they will meet Stevenson University.
Brandeis struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 2-of-24 from the floor. The Judges trailed 19-4 after the first quarter after shooting 2-for-16. If not for a last-minute 3-pointer by Springfield's Chelsea McAllister Brandeis nearly outscored the hosts in the second quarter despite not hitting a field goal (0-8). Brandeis made 8-of-12 from the line in the period, but SC had the 9-8 edge, taking a 28-12 lead into the locker room.
The Judges turned things around in the third period, as they hit 8-of-18 from the field. Brandeis matched their entire first-half scoring output in just eight minutes, getting within nine on a Kat Puda (Whitinsville, Mass./Worcester Academy) 3-pointer at the 2:18 mark. A steal and lay-up by Brandeis rookie Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) got the Judges within seven. After SC scored their next three points at the line, Puda converted another 3-pointer and a driving layup with under a minute to go in the half, getting Brandeis within five at 37-32 with 57 ticks on the clock.
Brandeis got another stop, but couldn't convert, nor could they take advantage of having the ball first in the fourth quarter. Springfield made the Judges pay for their mistakes, as Lauren Rudolph and Alex Goslin each dialed long distance in the first minute of the last period to push the Pride's lead quickly back to 11 points at 43-32. Brandeis could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way, as Springfield hit 9 of their last 10 free throws to keep the Judges at bay. The Judges shot a respectable 7-for-16 in the fourth, and 15-for-34 overall in the second half (44.1%). SC had the advantage from the line in the second half, going 14-for-18, while Brandeis shot just two foul shots in the final 20 minutes.
For the game, Brandeis had two players score in double figures, with Puda netting eight of her 10 points in the third quarter comeback, while senior Noel Hodges (Southampton, N.Y./Southampton) also had 10 in her final game, with six coming in the second half. Casanueva tied with senior Eva Hart (Manasquan, N.J./Manasquan) and sophomore Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) for team-high honors with five rebounds each. The Judges won the battle of the boards, 40-33. Casanueva also set a career-high with five steals.
Springfield had just one player score in double figures as Alex Goslin tallied a game-high 19 points on 5-of-9 from the field, 2-of-3 from downtown and 7-of-8 from the line. She scored seven points in the first quarter and 10 in the fourth. Goslin also topped the Pride with three assists and three steals. Gracie Restituyo led all players with nine rebounds. In addition to their 17-10 scoring edge from the line, Springfield won the turnover battle. Brandeis committed 22 miscues to 20 for SC, but the Pride were able to turn them into a 25-16 advantage in points off those turnovers.
With the loss, the Judges' season comes to a close with a 12-13 record. Brandeis loses two senior starters in Hodges and Hart, but return Second Team All-UAA forward Nicholson and UAA Rookie of the Year Casanueva.