Brandeis 69, Bridgewater State 70

The Brandeis Women’s Basketball team kicked off their season on the road against the Bridgewater State University Bears. Bridgewater State took control in the second quarter and built their lead off the Judges turnovers to enter halftime 42-22. Things started to look different in the fourth period. Graduate student Shannon Smally M.A. ’23 and Caitlin Gresko ’25 stacked up buckets from all over the floor while the Judges played stellar defense to hold the Bears to a 17% shooting slump. A miraculous 29-9 fourth-quarter effort from Brandeis tied the game at 69-69 with 42 seconds on the clock. The Bears won the match-up 70-69 with a free throw despite the Judges’ late efforts. 

Captain Emma Reavis ’23 led the team by example with 16 points. Katherine Vaughan ’26 shined in her college basketball debut, contributing 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds off the bench. Francesca Marchese ’23 scored nine off three-point bombs and threaded the needle with a career-high four assists.

Brandeis 80, RPI 73 (Overtime)

Women’s basketball hosted the Brandeis Judges Invitational over the weekend, starting off with  a matchup against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Both teams traded buckets after an exciting sequence of four jump-balls in the first 35 seconds. A backdoor cut from Abby Kennedy ’26 off a beautiful feed from Lulu Ohm ’25 put the Judges on top at the end of the first quarter, 14-13. Brandeis’ Molly James ’26 had some elegant footwork as she laid the rock in to start the second period. Reavis found her Co-captain Tathiana Pierre ’23 on another backdoor-cut opportunity and joined the scoring party with her own 5-0 run. James made one from downtown to put the Judges up by double digits for the first time and closed up the half with a strong rebound and two free throws. The Judges took control of the quarter and went into the break with a 39-26 lead. 

Coming out of halftime, Rensselaer altered their game plan by driving into the paint and crashing on the rebounds which cut the Judges’ lead to five. Ohm stepped up with a pair of free throws and a trifecta to restore the temporary lead for the Judges. Brandeis had difficulty handling the ball and making shots fall, while RPI fired from distance to take the lead and forced a Judges’ timeout in the fourth quarter. The visitors enjoyed a brief five-point lead before the Judges found their rhythm down the stretch. Junior Selenya Gonzalez ’24 stole the ball and fed it to Marchese, who rewarded Gonzalez with an assist as she cashed in for three. Marchese came up clutch and sank another deep three with 4:45 on the clock to put Brandeis up by two, but RPI answered with a tough layup to force the overtime period. 

Just five seconds into the overtime, Reavis found the rim with a layup. Pierre and Vaughan joined Reavis in another joint 9-0 run to lead the Judges out of the turmoil, finishing the game with an 80-73 win over RPI. Reavis tallied a career-high 19 points in the winning contest. Pierre put up 14 points, seven rebounds, and three assists: all career-highs for the New Jersey native. James did not miss a single field goal and scored ten in her collegiate debut. And Vaughan showed off her efficiency with a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds in just ten minutes of playing time.

Brandeis 59, Maine Maritime 67

The Brandeis Judges faced off against the Maine Maritime Mariners in the Brandeis Judges Invitational Championship game. After the tip-off, Gresko went on a roll to cancel the Mariners’ offense with seven points of her own. Maine Maritime sped up their game, launched from a distance, and executed a couple backdoor-cut plays to build up a ten-point lead in the first quarter. The Judges tried to stay in the game as they matched up on the shooters in the second period. Smally tried to exploit the mismatch down low and was awarded with a few foul calls that put the Judges in bonus. Gonzalez drew a foul right before the half ended to counter the Mariner’s second-quarter firepower. The Judges trailed 31-41 at halftime. 

Gresko opened the second half for the Judges with another four points of her own, and Vaughan fought hard in the restricted area to attract some foul calls. It took her some time to find her shot from the charity strike, but she eventually made two of them to close the gap to eight for Brandeis. The Mariners tried to extend their lead with another three-point bomb, but Smally responded with a layup to close out the quarter. A minute into the fourth quarter, Marchese connected from the arc, shrinking the deficit to just five. The Mariners wanted to pull away, but Ohm knocked down a three off the transition while Pierre added a couple free throws. However, the Judges struggled to make shots fall for the rest of the game and gave the Mariners the championship. 

Gresko led the team with 13 points. Vaughan stayed productive with eight points and six rebounds in nine minutes. Both Pierre and Vaughan were recognized in the All-Tournament team for their outstanding performances. The Judges will host the Emerson Lions on Tuesday and the Tufts Jumbos on Saturday. Currently ranked tenth in franchise history with 95 career three pointers made, Marchese is on the watch for joining eight former Judges in totalling a hundred three pointers made.