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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Women’s B-ball splits games before critical stretch

Published: February 15, 2008
Section: Sports

02150808.jpgBrandeis Women’s Basketball enters the home stretch of the season in a very precarious position – if the Judges want to have even a prayer at the NCAA’s, they have to win this weekend’s upcoming games against Carnegie Mellon and most importantly, Rochester.

The Judges find themselves in this predicament after blowing a 14 point halftime lead against Emory and falling 75-63. The team, though, managed to minimize the damage somewhat with a convincing 72-63 victory over Case Western.

The Emory match started out in Brandeis’s favor. Four three pointers during an 18 to 2 run gave the Judges a 40-20 lead with 2:25 left in the first half. In what would turn out to be portends for the second half, however, the Eagles scored the last six baskets of the half to cut the lead to 42-28.

“We just played with energy,” Emory’s Erica Kaplan explained. “We were totally flat in the first half. We just started to push the ball fast, try to move the ball on offense… They got us once but we got them this time.”

After the break, Emory proved that their late run was no last gasp, as a three pointer from LeShonda Lillard knotted the game up at 48 apiece and Whitney Martin’s lay-up on a third attempt gave the Eagles the lead for good. Emory forced the Judges to swallow 47 points on 58 percent shooting and were a deadly 7 of 10 from the three point line. Brandeis shot 27 percent in contrast to their 50 percent shooting in the first half and committed 12 of their 17 turnovers in the second frame alone.

Lora Turner, LeShonda Lillard and Katie Corkle led a balanced attack, with Turner picking up 14 points while Lillard and Corkle had 13 points each. Corkle in particular helped catalyze the offense with 10 straight points and pulled down six rebounds, tying her for the team lead with Whitney Martin. Kendall Boyd provided 11 points off the bench thanks to sinking all three of her three point attempts.

Jaime Capra ’08 led the Judges with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jessica Chapin ’10 had 13 while Lauren Orlando ’09 and Kiersten Holgash ’08 rounded out the double-digit scoring with 11 and 10 points respectively. Brandeis lived and died by the three, converting only nine out of 24 attempts.

With this exceptionally bitter defeat fresh in mind, Brandeis managed to regroup to defeat Case Western. A 23 to 5 run in the second half helped keep the Judges out of reach from a Spartan comeback.

Capra had a great all-around performance with 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Bench play was crucial for Brandeis with forward Kasey Gieschen ’10 energizing the Judges with eight points and five rebounds and helped stabilize the middle after Cassidy Dadaos ’09 got into foul trouble and Amanda Wells ’09 left the game with an injury.

Case Western was paced by Ashleigh Tondo with 20 points while Ashley Horton chipped in 12 of her own.

With thirteenth ranked Rochester opening up a two game homestand tonight at 6 p.m. and with five games left in the season, it isn’t lost on Brandeis how much every game counts.

“At this point, every game is a big game,” Coach Carol Simon explained. “We’ve put ourselves in a position that if we win all of them, we make the tournament.”

Jaime Capra was certainly pumped for the upcoming game. “We definitely want revenge against Rochester. We’re ready for their game and we look forward to them,” she said.

Brandeis also takes on Carnegie-Mellon on February 17 at 1 p.m.