CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Brandeis University women's basketball team got a career performance from junior transfer Courtney Thrun (Regina, Sask./Wilbraham and Monson Academy) and a near triple-double from classmate Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) as the Judges defeated host Case Western Reserve University, 80-71, in a University Athletic Association contest. With the win, the Judges improve to 13-6 overall and 3-5 in the UAA, clinching their first winning season since 2014-15. The Spartans drop their first home game of the season and fall to 10-9 overall, 5-3 UAA.
Thrun recorded game- and career-highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench. She hit 5-of-12 from the field, 2-of-3 from downtown and 5-of-6 from the line. Three of her 12 rebounds came on the offensive glass. Thrun had a balanced game, scoring eight points in the first half and nine in the second. She helped the Brandeis reserves outscore their CWRU counterparts, 34-22.
Casanueva finished just short of her first career triple-double, scoring 16 points with nine rebounds and a game-high nine assists. Ten of Casanueva's 16 points came in the fourth quarter when she hit 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. Her nine assists were one shy of a career-best.
Two other Judges scored in double digits. Senior forward Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) added 13 points, all coming in the second half, while junior forward Jillian Petrie (Marlborough, Mass./Marlborough) netted eight of her 11 points after the break. Brandeis outrebounded the hosts, 52-38, and outscored them, 13-6 in points off turnovers despite committing six more miscues.
CWRU was paced by Abbey Lawrence, who had 16 points, after scoring 30 a week ago in the game between the two teams in Waltham, won by the Spartans. Lawrence also led the hosts with five assists. McKenna Gross added 15 points off the bench for CWRU, while Isabelle Mills had 13 points and nine boards. Kendall McConnico and Melissa Heath each had 10 points for the Spartans, while McConnico matching Mills for the team-high with nine caroms.
Case Western Reserve started the game on a 7-2 run as Brandeis was held to just one field goal over the first five minutes. The Judges quickly erased the deficit with a 3-pointer from rookie Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) and a Thrun steal that led to a Casanueva jumper. CWRU's Mills answered from downtown to make it 10-7 with 4:02 to go, but the Judges closed out the stanza on a 14-5 string. Six of those points came from Thrun, as the Judges took a 21-15 lead after one quarter.
The teams played even in the second period, which was tied at 15-15, thanks to seven points from Lawrence and six from Marchese. Brandeis opened the second half strong on an 11-0 run over the first three minutes. Nicholson scored seven points in the run, giving the Judges a 47-30 lead. A Thrun trifecta at the 3:11 mark of the third gave the Judges their biggest margin of the contest, 56-38, and the Judges never looked back, as the Spartans would not get closer than three possessions the rest of the way.
Brandeis returns to action on Sunday afternoon at Carnegie Mellon at 2 p.m.