Women improve to 6-1 for first time since 2014-15 with 74-63 win at Clark

Camila Casanueva '21 (photo by Caroline Sippin '21)
Camila Casanueva '21 (photo by Caroline Sippin '21)

WORCESTER, Mass. (taken from a Clark University press release) -- The Brandeis University women's basketball team picked up its sixth win in seven tries tonight to match the program's best start since 2014-15 with a 74-63 non-conference win at Clark University. The Judges are now 6-1, while the Cougars fall to 3-5. 

Brandeis was paced by junior guard Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos), who tied for game-high honors with 20 points and led all players with six assists. It was her second 20-point performance of the season and the sixth of her career. Casanueva shot 6-of-14 from the field, 4-of-11 from 3-point range and 4-of-4 from the line. She also had four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. Casanueva netted 10 of her 20 points in the third quarter. 

Senior forward Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) provided support for the offense with a 14-point, 12-rebound double-double. It was her third double-double of the season and the seventh of her career. Junior center Jillian Petrie (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) scored 10 points on 5-of-11 from the floor.

The Cougars were led by junior Hannah Favaloro (Blackstone, Mass.) who matched the game-high of Casanueva with a 20-point outing of her own to go with five rebounds while sophomore Emily Sifferelen (North Andover, Mass.) contributed 17 points with four assists. Sophomore Ginny Benbow (Durham, Conn.), the reigning NEWMAC Offensive Athlete of the Week, continued her strong play on the season as the sophomore rounded out the double-figure performers for the Cougars with a 16-point outing on a trio of three-pointers.

The Cougars grabbed an early 6-2 lead as three-pointers from Favaloro and Benbow got the offense going. With 6:20 to go in the quarter, Favaloro connected on another longball to spark an 8-3 scoring drive, with the host taking their largest lead of the half at 18-10.

The Judges chipped away over the remaining 4:13 of the quarter as a lay-up from junior center Samira Abdelrehim (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills) triggered a 10-3 drive from the visitors for a 21-20 deficit. Clark would take a two-point lead into the second stanza following a successful free throw from Sifferlen.

A three-pointer from Camila Casanueva got Brandeis started in the second quarter to swing a 23-22 advantage over to the Judges. From there, the visitors went on a 7-2 run to push the lead up to six points before consecutive buckets inside from Favaloro shrunk it back down.

Clark gained the lead two times in the final two minutes of the half with Sifferlen draining a triple with 1:42 to go for a 34-33 advantage before Benbow connected on a floater moments later to give the Cougars a 37-36 lead. Brandeis jumped back in front, 40-37, over the remaining 25 seconds on a pair of free throws by senior guard Lauren Rubinstein (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug).

The teams traded buckets to begin the second half, but Brandeis gained traction on the offensive end quickly after as a jumper from Jillian Petrie sparked a 7-1 scoring run to re-up the advantage to 49-40 with 5:51 in the period.

The Cougars finished strong in the final two minutes as the team erased a 10-point deficit to close the third quarter, starting with a three-pointer by Benbow, who then swiped the ball on the defensive end before finishing on a lay-up to trim the gap to 59-54. But Brandeis regained control before the buzzer to take a 61-56 advantage into the final ten minutes.

Brandeis opened the final quarter with a 6-0 run, with rookie Emma Reavis (Miami, Okla./Deerfield, Mass., Academy) scoring four points in a three-minute span to give the visitors an 11-point cushion. The Judges went onto outscore the Cougars, 13-7, throughout the final quarter en route to the 74-63 final, holding the hosts to just one field goal in 19 attempts.

The Judges controlled a 55-32 advantage on the glass, with the Cougars edging the visitors on points inside the paint by a 28-24 clip. Brandeis shot 24-of-63 (38.1%) to Clark's 22-for-62 from the field (35.5%).

Brandeis will look to surpass the 2014-15 squad's 6-1 start on Saturday afternoon at Johnson and Wales University for a 1 p.m tipoff.