WALTHAM, Mass. – Brandeis University women's basketball senior Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) scored 10 of her team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter this afternoon as the Judges pulled away from the visiting Gordon College Fighting Scots, 67-52. With the win, the Judges continue their best start since 2008-09 as they improve to 9-1. Gordon sees a three-game winning streak come to a close as they fall to 6-4 on the campaign.
The teams were neck-and-neck in a first half that featured five ties and four lead changes. The Judges outscored the visitors, 13-11, but Gordon took the second period by an identical tally as the teams went into the locker room tied at 24-24. Nicholson had eight points in the first 20 minutes, while senior guard Lauren Rubinstein (Southbury, N.Y./Pomperaug) added six. Gordon's Meghan Foley kept her squad in the contest with 14 points, including 11 of the Scots' 13 in the second period. Sarah Gibbs had eight points and seven rebounds at the break.
The Judges opened the second half with the first two buckets, with Nicholson scoring the first and assisting junior Jillian Petrie (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) on the second to give the Judges a 28-24 lead they would not relinquish. Foley got GC within a point with a traditional three-point play at the 6:48 mark that made it 28-27. Brandeis responded by scoring 13 of the game's next 16 points, seven of which came from rookie guard Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy). Her trifecta with 2:30 on the clock made it 41-30, the Judges' largest lead of the third quarter. Gordon would close on an 8-3 string to get within six at 44-38 on two late Foley free throws.
The visitors would climb within four points early in the fourth, and two more Foley freebies midway through the stanza made it 51-49. The Judges put on the defensive clamps at that point, outscoring Gordon 16-3 the rest of the way. They held the Scots to 1-for-6 from the field with two turnovers over that span, while Nicholson scored eight of the team's 16 points, with all of her buckets assisted by junior Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) in the stretch. The Judges' final 15-point margin of victory was their largest lead of the contest.
For the game, Nicholson led the Judges with 20 points on 10-of-14 from the field. It was her eighth straight game scoring in double figures and her second 20-point performance of the season. Marchese was the only other Brandeis player to score in double digits with 10 points – all coming in the second half, including seven in the third quarter. Three other Judges scored between seven and nine points – Casanueva with nine, Rubinstein with eight and junior center Samira Abdelrehim (Burlington, Conn./Lewis S. Mills) with seven. Abdelrehim also led the Judges with seven rebounds off the bench.
Brandeis was excellent distributing the ball, handing out 20 assists on 24 field goals. Casanueva finished with seven helpers to go with her nine points, while rookie Emma Reavis (Miami, Okla./Deerfield, Mass., Academy) had six and Rubinstein had four. Reavis also had a team-high three steals. Brandeis outshot Gordon, 40% to 34.6%, buoyed by 61.5% in the fourth quarter compared to 38.5% for the visitors. The Judges also won the turnover battle, forcing 20 while committing just eight. They turned those miscues into a 21-4 scoring advantage.
Gordon was led by Foley, as Division III's second-leading scorer netted 26 points, half her team's offensive output. She hit 7-of-22 from the field, 3-of-8 from beyond the arc, and 9-of-10 from the line. She also had five rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Gibbs finished with a double-double of 10 points and game-high 10 rebounds. She also had four blocked shots. The rest of the Gordon roster combined for 16 points. The Scots did have a 38-35 rebounding edge for the game.
Brandeis will look to complete their best non-conference campaign since 2008-09 when they travel to Regis College on Saturday, January 4, at 2:00 p.m. The Judges were 10-0 that season when they reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division III tournament. Gordon will host Albertus Magnus in their non-conference finale on Friday, January 3, at 5:30 p.m.