Women push #16 Chicago to overtime before falling 68-60

Camila Casanueva '21 (Photo by Sportspix.com)
Camila Casanueva '21 (Photo by Sportspix.com)

CHICAGO, Ill. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team pushed the 16th-ranked University of Chicago to overtime, but the Judges went cold from the field in the extra session, falling to the Maroons, 68-60, in a University Athletic Association contest today. With the loss, the Judges fall to 12-4 overall, 2-3 in the UAA, while the Maroons improve to 13-3, 4-1 UAA.

Regulation was a back-and-forth affair that featured eight ties and 14 lead changes. Chicago took a 17-14 lead after one quarter thanks to a late 3-pointer, while the Judges held the hosts to just eight points in the second to climb within one at 25-24. UC scored the first six points of the second half to take their largest lead of regulation, 31-24, after Grace Hynes got an offensive rebound and fed Klaire Steffens 2:24 in the third. Brandeis coach Carol Simon called timeout to regroup, and the Judges scored six points in just over a minute afterward to climb back within one, 31-30, on a steal and lay-up by junior forward Jillian Petrie (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) with 6:27 on the clock. Both teams went cold for the next two-plus minutes before Brandeis junior Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) hit a jumper to give Brandeis their first lead since 10-9 early in the first half. Chicago answered with the next five points, but late 3-pointers by rookie Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) and Petrie gave Brandeis a 40-38 lead headed into the fourth quarter.

After a sluggish start to the final 10 minutes of regulation, the Judges caught fire and took their biggest lead after junior Samira Abdelrehim (Burlington, Conn./Lewis E. Mills) hit a pair of free throws with 5:07 remaining to make it 47-42. Chicago responded with the next four points and the Maroons reclaimed the lead on two Taylor Lake freebies with 2:11 to go that made it 51-50.

Brandeis senior guard Lauren Rubinstein (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) got the lead back for the Judges from the line, 52-51, and after senior Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) blocked a shot on the other end, Casanueva made a driving lay-up with 35.1 seconds to go to give Brandeis a three-point lead. Chicago called timeout, and the Maroons were able to get the ball to Grace Hynes, who buried a long 3-pointer from straight away to tie the game 53-53, giving Brandeis the last shot in regulation with 18.3 seconds to go. Casanueva's short jumper was blocked, and Chicago's desperation attempt was off the mark, forcing overtime for the second time this season for each team.

The Judges were unable to find their legs in overtime, as they missed their first five shots from the floor. UC scored the first eight points of the extra session, and though the Judges pulled within three on a Marchese trifecta with 51.0 seconds to go, Chicago answered with a 3-ball of their own on the following possession to ice the game.

For the game, Brandeis had three players score in double figures. Casanueva led the way with 13 points but needed 5-of-19 from the field to get there. She was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and hit both of her free throws. Ten of her 13 points came in the second half as the Judges climbed back into the contest. Rubinstein and Marchese each scored 11 points. Rubinstein also grabbed eight rebounds and hit 9-of-10 from the line. Marchese had three of the Judges' five 3-pointers and outscored the entire Chicago bench, 11-7. Nicholson led Brandeis with 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive glass, while Rubinstein's three assists paced the Judges. Despite hitting just 29% for the game (18-62), Brandeis held Chicago to 33% (25-75) to stay in the contest. The Judges also outscored Chicago, 19-12, from the line, missing just one free throw as the #2-ranked free-throw shooting team in Division III. Brandeis held UC to 33% from the field (25-75) but were just 29% on their own (18-62).

Chicago had four starters score in double digits. Miranda Burt led UC with 16  points, while Lake added 15. Steffens had 12 points and Mia Farrell had 11, seven coming in the first half. Steffans added 17 rebounds to her 12 points. Farrell led the Maroons with three assists. Chicago outrebounded the Judges, 49-47, including 16-12 on the offensive glass. They also forced 20 turnovers while committing just 12, though the points off turnovers were 17 apiece.

Brandeis will return home next Friday evening when they play host to Case Western Reserve University at 6 p.m.