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Womens’ hoops hits stride

Published: February 3, 2006
Section: Sports


What a weekend it was. There was free pizza and free scoops of ice cream, topped with a nice helping of kick-ass basketball from Brandeis.

After being solidly defeated by Washington University, Brandeis could ill-afford to lose another conference game. In fact, one more loss would likely end their NCAA hopes. There was no better chance for a turnaround though, than last weekends matches against Case Western (76-66) and Emory (75-57). Save for a nice chunk of the second half against Case, Brandeis did not disappoint, defeating both opponents and moving up in both the UAA and Division III standings.

In their victory against UAA foe, Emory, the Judges demonstrated the powerhouse capabilities that Brandeis faithful have only glimpsed this year, as Brandeis dominated all 40 minutes of play. Caitlin Malcolm '07 led the charge with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Christine Clancy 06 and Jaime Capra 08 each had 13 points with Clancy pulling down a game high 6 rebounds and Capra tying teammate Alison Chase 07 with 5 assists. For Emory, rookie forward Lora Turner 09 dominated at times, putting up 17 points and 5 rebounds on 8-10 shooting. The rest of the team was largely ineffective, and only rookie point guard Erica Kaplan 09 reached double digits, with 10 points on 4-6 shooting including two three pointers. Please keep in mind that Emory was no push-over;

they defeated NYU on Friday before playing Brandeis.

We talked about that after the game, Kaplan explained, We were feeling a little too satisfied, maybe focusing too much on the past and not enough on the game.
For most of the game, Coach Carol Simon used a tight rotation of eight players in an attempt to keep the team fresh and focused, which apparently worked. Not only did Brandeis get strong play from its starters but the bench players helped keep up the energy and momentum while outscoring Emory's bench 25-15. Lauren Orlando 09, was particularly effective, putting up 8 points and going 3-4 from the free throw line. Her performance was especially note-worthy as she had a shaky performance against Case-Western prior to this game.

Much better, much better, Coach Simon responded when asked about the bench play, especially after the Case game, where I dont think they played extremely well. I thought they responded extremely well.

Fridays game against Case Western exposed the Jekyll-Hyde like tendencies of the Judges: they can dominate efficiently, but at times they can easily lose focus and play very ugly basketball.

Brandeis went on a 35-9 run and ended the first half up 43-25. In the second half, the Brandeis starters continued tacking on the points and had built a 20 point lead when Case Western counter-attacked. Taking advantage of surprisingly listless and sloppy play from the Judges bench players, which in turn forced Coach Simon to use her starters far longer than she wanted to, Case Western scored 41 points in the half and came to within six points of tying the game. Ultimately, the gap was too great to close, due to the post play of Christine Clancy and Caitlin Malcolm (17 points each).

Alison Chase also provided some offensive punch with 14 points, but this was a game that left a lot of questions to be answered. Hopefully, the Judges victory against Emory has answered them.

The highest point of the weekend, however, came from one player who didnt even make a basket. With one minute left to go and victory against Emory assured, rookie walk-on Diana Benlevy 09, entered her first game to massive applause and she pulled down a rebound, but failed to convert on the shot attempt.

I feel as if Ive achieved my biggest goal, Benlevy explained afterwards. I was shocked, I was ecstatic, I thought she [Coach Simon] had called the wrong namethe amount of support I got from the crowd was unbelievable. I wish that shot went, but I did what I could, Benlevy said.

Brandeis has seven games left, starting with a pair of grudge matches against Emory in Atlanta on February 3rd, and Case-Western in Ohio on the 5th. The Emory game is one that Malcolm is not looking forward to, having told the Hoot that based on past experience, the referees there are particularly biased. Still, confidence abounds, especially from the energetic Benlevy.

If we play the way we did that Sunday against every team we have coming up, I think we have a very good chance, Benlevy remarked.
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Both the men's and women's basketball teams are away until the weekend of Friday the 17th. That evening and Sunday the 19th the Judges will be facing Washington University St.Louis and Rochester University respectively. All games will be available on WBRS.
Go Judges!