Judges earn berth in ECAC tournament
The women’s basketball team concluded its season this past Wednesday night as it fell in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Tournament. Its first round defeat came at the hands of Springfield College by a score of 58-46.
The game started out slow for the Judges as they failed to get much offense going. They shot an abysmal 2-24 from the field in the first half. The team only mustered four points in the first quarter, as Springfield scored a much stronger 19. Both of Brandeis’ buckets in the half came in the first half.
The Judges totaled eight points in the second quarter, an improvement on their weak performance in the first. They did so without actually recording a single field goal, going 0-8 from the field in the process. The team was able to put points on the board due to its aggressive play that yielded 12 attempts from the charity stripe.
In the third quarter, the ball started to move crisply for the visiting Judges. The team was an efficient 8-18 from the field, including a couple key three-pointers. Guard Katherine Puda ’21 had two threes of her own, and added an impressive layup as well. Toward the end of the quarter, the Judges got as close as they would all day to Springfield, cutting the lead down to only five points.
In the fourth quarter Brandeis was outscored by seven as they went 7-16 from the field. Overall, in the second half the squad converted on just over 44 percent of its field goal attempts, a marked improvement from its putrid first half. For the game as a whole, they shot 29.3 percent. Keeping them in the contest was the club’s aggressive play on the glass, as they outrebounded Springfield 40-33.
Puda was the leader for the squad on the night, totaling 10 points. She was able to do so coming off the bench and playing 19 minutes. The other player in double figures for Brandeis was guard Noel Hodges ’18. In her final game in a Judges’ uniform, the captain tied a team-high with 10 points. Hodges was also impressive with three offensive rebounds and two assists to add to her box score.
Many players contributed on the way to the team’s strong 40 boards. Guard Camila Casanueva ’21 showcased her athleticism with five rebounds off the glass. Guard Eva Hart ’18 and forward Hannah Nicholson ’20 tied with Casanueva with the team-high five rebounds. Big for the Judges was the fact that three of Nicholson’s five rebounds came on the offensive glass.
The season as a whole was a difficult one for a young Judges team. They were led all year by their two senior captains, Hodges and Hart. The team will look to replace the two veteran leaders next year, and will lean mightily on both Nicholson and Casanueva. The University Athletic Association honored both players recently. Nicholson was named to the conference’s second team, while Casanueva was the Rookie of the Year in the conference, in addition to picking up a spot on the Honorable Mention team.
The squad finished with an overall record of 12-13, and went 4-10 in conference play. That record was good enough for sixth place in the conference, as the title went to the University of Chicago.
The team’s 12-13 record and 4-10 conference record was identical to its results from the 2016 to 2017 campaign. Coincidentally, in the 2015-16 season, the squad also went 12-13 overall. The Judges will look to finally break the trend and record a winning season in the 2018 to 2019 season. New incoming first-years will need to complement returning veterans in order to do so.
While the loss may sting for a while, especially considering the atrocious first half shooting, the team has the young talent to remain competitive in their conference. The team posted a record of 8-3 outside of the tightly contested UAA conference and is returning a lot of young talent. If conference dynamics change, and dominant teams such as the University of Chicago lose a step, the Judges could make next season one to remember.