WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University women's basketball team shot 50 percent from the field in the first half, building a 21-point halftime lead en route to a 66-51 non-conference victory over visiting Eastern Nazarene tonight in Red Auerbach Arena. With the win, the Judges end their first semester with a 5-4 record, while the Lions fall to 7-4 on the campaign.
The Judges opened the game by doubling up the Lions in the first quarter, 20-10. The Judges were ahead 18-2 as ENC missed 13 of their first 14 shots. Senior guard Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) and senior forward Kerry Tanke (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) each had six points in the stanza. Brandeis continued their dominance in the second period, shooting 57 percent from the floor (8-14) to just 25 percent for Eastern Nazarene (5-20).
After hitting two 3-pointers to start the second period, Casanueva was outscoring the entire ENC roster as the Judges led by as many as 25 points before taking a 43-21 lead into the locker room. Casanueva and Tanke each had 12 points in the first half, combining to hit 9-of-12 from the field, 4-of-6 from downtown – all by Casanueva. The Judges hit 50% in the first (14-28), holding ENC to 24% (9-38), while also dominating the boards, 27-17.
The Judges would take their biggest lead early in the third on a trifecta from senior Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) that made it 48-21 with two minutes gone by. Though they cooled off considerably after that, finishing 1-for-13 from 3-point range in the second half, and 8-for-33 (24 percent), the lead they built was too much for Eastern Nazarene to overcome. The Lions hit four 3-pointers in the second half, after going 0-for-10 in the first, and outscored Brandeis, 30-23, in the final 20 minutes, but it wasn't enough.
For the game, Tanke had a game- and career-high 18 points, hitting 7-of-11 from the floor and 4-of-6 from the line. She also pulled down seven rebounds. Casanueva finished with 13 points and nine rebounds, while first-year guard Caitlin Gresko (Howell, N.J./Howell) pulled down a career- and game-high 10 rebounds. Junior guard Emma Reavis (Miami, Okla./Deerfield (Mass.) Acad.) led all players with seven assists, one shy of a career-best, as Brandeis had 16 helpers on 22 buckets. They also outscored ENC, 15-5 from the free-throw line.
Eastern Nazarene was led by Michala O'Donoghue, who had 14 points, 12 of which came in the second half. She hit 4-of-6 from 3-point range after the break, accounting for all of the Lions' 3-pointers. Sydni Ovatt added 10 points and team-highs of eight rebounds, four assists and three blocked shots. The Lions only turned the ball over 10 times in the game, while forcing 23 Brandeis miscues, but they were only able to turn that into a 15-11 scoring advantage.
Brandeis is off until the semester break. The Judges will take on Gordon College on the road on December 31st and Clark at home on January 3, 2022 to close out their non-conference schedule. Eastern Nazarene takes on Norwich at home on Thursday night at 7 p.m.