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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Women’s basketball season preview

Published: November 13, 2009
Section: Sports

As the Judges return to the court after a record year last spring, the team seems ready for action. The women made it all the way to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Division III tournament for the first time in the program’s history, coming just short of the Final Four. Based on that performance as well as high expectations for this season, the Brandeis women’s basketball team has been ranked ninth in the country in the d3hoops preseason poll. According to the NCAA website, the Judges also hold the ninth spot in the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Division III Coaches’ preseason poll.

The Brandeis women lost four players at the end of last season as Lauren Goyette, Cassidy Dadaos, Amanda Wells and Lauren Orlando all graduated. Orlando and Dadaos started every game in the 2008-09 season, as well as nearly every game in the previous season. Combined the two averaged 17 points per game. Wells also played in every game last season, coming off the bench to contribute an average of 3.8 points in each game with a .363 percentage.

While those losses are certainly important, Brandeis does have a number of great players returning to the team this year including co-captain guard Jessica Chapin ’10. Chapin received an honorable mention in the All-America selection last season, but was recently named a fourth-team pre-season All-American. She is currently second on Brandeis’ all-time career leaders list in trifectas with 121 and fifth all-time with 190 steals. Last season she set the single-season record with 46 three-pointers.

Chapin is one of two returning players who ranks in the top 10 for scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals in the UAA. Last season she led the Judges with an average of 14.1 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.9 steals per game.

Classmate Lauren Rashford ’10 will be returning to the court as well for the first time since Feb. 1. Rashford started the first 17 games of the season before being sidelined due to a knee injury which she had surgery on during the off-season. As of Feb. 1 she had 44 assists and 21 steals on the season, in addition to averaging 8.1 points in each contest.

Guard Morgan Kendrew ’12 stepped in at that point to start the last 11 games of the season. Kendrew was the only rookie to play in every game last season and averaged six points per game as well as putting up 31 assists, 15 steals and 80 rebounds over the course of the season. After she took over for Rashford she was third on the team with 8.1 points per game and 21 assists.

Another returning starter is guard Diana Cincotta ’11 who averages 6.9 points per game, 62 assists on the season, and 21 steals. She also put up 31 three-pointers over the course of the year.

There are still holes that need to be filled on the team with the loss of so many front-court players. Co-captain and center Kasey Gieschen ’10 came off the bench in 23 games last season, while forward Amber Strodthoff ’11 played in every game.

In addition to the strong returning players, the women also have six rookies on the squad. Guard Micha Broadnax from Bowie, MD, guard Shakara Scott from Philadelphia, forward/center Samantha Anderson from Johnsonville, NY, forward/center Courtney Ness from Norwich, VT, forward/center Angie Miller from Sicklerville, NJ, and forward Shannon Ingram from Floral Park, NY. The size of the recruitment class will give Coach Carol Simon many options and some depth off her bench.

The Judges will take aim at their 5th straight NCAA Division III bid through the guidance of Coach Simon, now entering her 23rd year as head coach. Simon has an overall record of 124-36 with the Judges, including five 20-win seasons. Before earning spots in the NCAA Tournament for the past four years she helped lead Brandeis to back-to-back ECAC Tournament championships in 2004 and 2005.

In October, Simon’s leadership was recognized when she was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Brandeis will open their season on the road against WPI on November 15 at 1 p.m. Last year the Judges beat them 67-54. Their home opener will be the Brandeis Tournament on November 20-21 when they will face Wentworth on Friday the 20 at 6 p.m.