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Best start in years for women’s basketball

Published: December 5, 2014
Section: Sports


Despite a tough loss to the Tufts Jumbos on Nov. 22 by 74-51, the first loss of the season for the Brandeis women’s basketball team, the team pulled themselves together for a home game against the Emmanuel Saints last Tuesday with a 12-point victory, 66-54. The Judges then kept up their winning streak for the new season at Red Auerbach Arena with a 4-1 record, marking the best start since the 2009-10 season.

The efficiency of guard Niki Laskaris ’16 and the aggressive performance from Noel Hodges ’18 maintained a close half with the Jumbos leading 27-23. Laskaris scored seven points with three field goals including one from downtown, while Hodges posed as a threat to the opponent’s front court players as she earned five free throw attempts, causing two starting forwards from the Jumbos to pick up two fouls each. However, the Judges defense struggled with 10 turnovers early in the game and the steal stat came to a one to six deficit. Additionally, nine offensive rebounds were snatched by the Jumbos which hurt the Judges a lot when the Jumbos had 14 more shot attempts and 16 more three-point attempts.

These problems became the game changer in the second half when the top shooter and scorer for the Jumbos, Hannah Foley ’15, knocked down four threes with only six attempts and two of them nailed the defeat for the Judges after Maria Jackson ’17’s lay-up which put the Judges behind by a 13-point deficit. The turnover crisis continued for the Judges as nine turnovers were forced by the opponent with seven steals and the points lost off turnovers for the Judges turned out to be 25, compared to five for the Judges. Another blowout on the stat line occurred in second chance points as the Jumbos caught 20 offensive rebounds. Laskaris scored a team high 15 points and despite the defeat, the performance from Noel Hodges and Olivia Shaw ’18 were quite impressive as Hodges scored five points without missing a shot, and Shaw contributed nine points off the bench.

Shining performances came from the young players for the Judges in the game against Emmanuel. Hodges stayed aggressive with 12 free throw attempts, making eight. Shaw collected nine rebounds in 21 minutes on the court and guard Kyle Gabriel ’17 joined the “bench storm,” scoring six points. With their effort, an eight-point advantage was achieved by the Judges to help win the game. The starters contributed with Maria Jackson’s double-double, with 13 points and 10 rebounds for the game. However, some problems from the previous game remained unfixed for the Judges as they lost control of the ball 30 times during the game. However, the Judges’ defense managed to hold the Saints’ top scorers, Sarah Higgins ’16 and Jennifer Bujnowski ’15, below their average. Higgins gave a three-for-15 shooting performance and Vanessa Bramente ’16 struggled with the Judges’ defense, shooting five-for-18. The improvement on both offense and defense secured the perfect home record for the Judges.

The Judges face Johnson & Wales University this Saturday at 1 p.m. at home.