Nicholson's ninth double-double not enough as women fall to WashU, 72-60

Hannah Nicholson '20 (Photo by
Hannah Nicholson '20 (Photo by

WALTHAM, Mass. --- The Brandeis University women's basketball team started out on fire, outscoring visiting Washington University 20-2 over the first 6:20, but the Judges were unable to keep the momentum going, eventually falling to the Bears, 72-60, in Red Aurebach Arena tonight. With the loss, the Judges fall to 13-10, 3-9 in the University Athletic Association. WashU improves to 14-9, 7-5 UAA.

The Judges hit eight of their first 12 shots, including 4-of-6 from beyond the arc as they built their 18-point lead. Meanwhile, Washington U. missed nine of its first 10 shots. The Bears made four of their last five, but Brandeis also kept on scoring, taking a 27-11 lead after 10 minutes of play. Brandeis shot 69% (11-18) from the field and 63% (5-8) from 3-point range in the first period, while the visitors were at 33% (5-15) and 17% (1-6), respectively in the first quarter.

WashU turned the tables in the second. After Brandeis's Hannah Nicholson (Sunderland, Vt./Burr and Burton Academy) hit the opening bucket of the stanza, WashU held the Judges to just one more hoop until less than two minutes remained in the first half. The Bears closed to within two points on a Molly Gannon 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining before Brandeis's Courtney Thrun (Regina, Sask./Wilbraham and Monson Academy) and Nicholson scored the last two buckets to give the hosts a 35-29 lead at the half.

The Bears opened the third period on a 9-2 run over the first three minutes, taking their first lead at 38-37 on a 3-pointer by Sammi Matoush. Brandeis senior Lauren Rubinstein (Southbury, Conn./Pomperaug) gave Brandeis the advantage with a pair of free throws, but WashU scored the game's next 10 points and never looked back. They outscored Brandeis, 21-8, in the third quarter, holding the Judges to just 18% from the floor (3-17), including 0-for-8 from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Bears hit 50% overall (9-18) and from downtown (2-4). Though the Judges shot a bit better in the fourth, they were still just 1-8 from deep, finishing the half at 1-for-16, as WashU outscored Brandeis 22-17, to finish with the 12-point margin of victory.

Brandeis was led by Nicholson, who scored 14 points and led all players with 11 rebounds. She leads the UAA with nine double-doubles this season. Nicholson also set a career-high with four assists to lead the team. Rookie Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) added nine points on three 3-pointers off the bench, and three other players had seven points for the Judges. Brandeis won the turnover battled, 12-10.

WashU had four starters score in double figures, paced by Matoush's game-high 20 points. She also pulled down nine rebounds and had two assists. Thirteen of her 20 came in the second half. Samantha Weaver added 18 points and seven boards while Gannon had 13 points and a game-high five helpers. Kristina Schmelter rounded out the double-digit scorers with 12 points, a team-high nine rebounds along with two assists and two steals. WashU outrebounded Brandeis, 45-32, including 14-9 on the offensive glass.

The Judges return to action on Sunday at 2 p.m. against 21st-ranked University of Chicago. WashU is at NYU at the same time.