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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Judges Face Challenge in Early Season as They Fall to Tufts and Emmanuel

Published: November 30, 2012
Section: Sports

After finishing last season with a record of 9-16, the women’s basketball team started off the new year strong, winning the Judges Classic for the first time in a few seasons, but they have yet to find their groove as they have fallen short in the past couple of games. Now holding a record of 2-3, the Judges look to bounce back from their recent losses against Tufts University and Emmanuel College by regrouping and working to improve their game consistency.

Sophomore guard Hannah Cain ’15 has high hopes for her team this season and believes that they have improved in key areas from last year.

“I think the chemistry of the team this year is great and that the players and coaches are all on the same page,” Cain said. “We are hungry for wins and dedicated, which I think are two of the most important ingredients in a successful season.”

The starter, who played in all 25 games her rookie year, has become one of the leading scorers and passers for the Judges. She was even ranked UAA 7th in scoring and 13th in rebounding during her first year. When asked how she felt about not being a rookie anymore she said, “Now that I am not a freshman I feel that my role has changed in some aspects like my coach and teammates expecting me to be more vocal and in control.”

Although the 5’7” sophomore from Gloucester, Mass., was able to score five points against Tufts and seven against Emmanuel, the Judges had a difficult time in both games. The Tufts Jumbos, the number-one ranked team in the NESCAC conference, hold a current record of 5-0 and managed a 70-32 win against the Judges. The more evenly matched team, the Emmanuel Saints, hold a number two rank in the GNAC conference and beat the Judges by a score of 62-46.

Sunday night’s away game against the Jumbos proved to be the ultimate test of the Judge’s hard work in preseason and preparation for the tougher competition. Cain was able to score the first basket of the game but the Judges lacked consistency in their scoring abilities. After senior Courtney Ness ’13 sunk a free throw in the 17th minute to bring the score to 3-6, a player from Tufts made a 3-point jump shot that sent the Jumbos into a shooting spree for the rest of the half. The Judges, unable to get control of the ball, ended the first half with a score of 12-34.

In the second half, the Judges were able to slightly improve their scoring and ball movement after regrouping during halftime. Rookie guard Samantha Mancinelli ’16 made a pass in the 18th minute to Cain who nailed a 3-pointer to bring the score to 15-38. Off the bench, senior center Angela Miller ’13, the leading scorer for the Judges in the game, recorded a career-high seven points, scoring three in the first half and four in the second. Senior forward Samantha Anderson ’13 contributed six rebounds for the game, the highest total for both teams on the court. The Judges, scoring 20 points in the second half compared to 12 in the first, improved by eight points while the Jumbos, scoring 32 in the first and 36 in the second, only managed a two-point improvement.

At the home game against the 17th-ranked Emmanuel Saints, the Judges saw a more evenly-matched game, but they were still unable to outscore the opponent. Cain scored the first basket of the game for a second time, finishing with a total of seven points. Despite missed layups and jump shots from both teams, the Saints outscored the Judges in the first half with an ending score of 33-14.

The second half saw a huge scoring improvement from the Judges who recorded more than two times the amount of points they managed in the first half. The Saints, on the other hand, saw a decrease in their scoring for the second half, adding only 29 points compared to the Judges’ 32. Off the bench, sophomore guard Mikaela Garvin ’15 recorded a team-high 10 points, while both junior guard Kasey Dean ’14 and senior forward Erika Higginbottom ’13 tallied nine each. Miller added seven more points off the bench and Dean, Higginbottom and junior guard Julia Scanlon ’13 shared a team-high two steals each.

The two matches against Tufts and Emmanuel did not finish in the Judges’ favor, but the Brandeis team is already looking forward to improving their performance in the upcoming games. Cain says that the coaches are already touching up their game by having them work on game-like situations in their practices. “Coach Simon and Coach Foulis have been pushing us both mentally and physically in practice. Our goal in each practice is to practice at a game-like speed, which can be tough when we are tired but our coaches continually stress the importance of an up-tempo pace,” she said.