Casanueva keys Judges to first UAA win, 66-59, at Rochester

Camila Casanueva following through on a 3-pointer against NYU
Camila Casanueva '22 (photo by Cayla Fernandes)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (taken from a U. of Rochester press release) – Brandeis University women's basketball senior Camila Casanueva (Santa Barbara, Calif./Dos Pueblos) scored six points in a crucial 13-1 run in the second half to help the Judges take control in a 66-59 University Athletic Association road victory over the University of Rochester at the Louis Alexander Palestra on Sunday afternoon. Casanueva led all scorers with 21 points as the Judges broke a six-game losing streak. Brandeis is 6-10 overall, 1-6 in the UAA. Rochester slipped to 12-6 overall, 4-3 UAA. 

Casanueva added eight rebounds, three assists - both tying for game-high honors - and one steal. She hit 7-of-15 from the floor, 2-of-4 outside the arc, and 5-of-5 at the line/ Eleven of her 21 points came in the fourth period. Senior forward Kerry Tanke (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan) scored 13 points for Brandeis, and junior guard Francesca Marchese (Staten Island, N.Y./Staten Island Academy) scored 11, including three 3-pointers.

Rochester's leader was Julianna Okoniewski who scored 20 points, hitting  7-12 from the field, 6-8 at the line. She had eight rebounds, tying Casanueva, and three blocks. Maura Leverone and Hannah Lindemuth scored 10 points apiece for Rochester.

There were eight lead changes and 11 ties in the contest. Rochester led, 30-28, at halftime. Brandeis tied it on four straight possessions to open the third. The Judges led, 40-38, when junior Emma Revis (Miami, Okla./Deerfield, Mass., Academy) made two free throws. Rochester answered with a conventional three-point play from Abby Gress and a hook shot from Haley Dumiak. It put UR ahead, 43-40.

Brandeis warmed up at that point. Rookie Mollie Obar (North Yarmouth, Maine / Greely) hit a trey from the right wing with two minutes left in the third to tie the score. That ignited the key 13-1 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters. Marchese's hit a trifecta on the next possession put the Judges ahead to stay, 46-43, with 1:26 left in the third. Casanueva hit a 16-footer from the left side, drove for a layup, then made two free throws – all in a span of 103 seconds. Tanke made one free throw to push the lead to nine, 53-44 with 6:24 left to play.

UR cut the deficit down to one with just over four minutes to play. Charlotte Adler made a reverse layup. Lindemuth was 2-of-2 at the line. Okoniewski scored on a putback, then made two free throws to get within 53-52 with 3:58 remaining.

Casanueva calmly sank a trey from the top of the key on the next possession for Brandeis, making it a two-possession game, 58-54, with 3:28 to go. Junior Tathiana Pierre (Jericho, N.Y. / Sacred Heart Academy) was 1-of-2 at the line (57-52). Adler's layup made it 57-54, Judges, with two minutes to go. Tanke's layup and two free throws from Casanueva gave the Judges a 61-54 lead with 38 seconds left and the visitors sank five of six from the line in the last 30 seconds to secure the win.

Brandeis has won two of their last three meetings with Rochester in the Palestra. Brandeis outshot UR, 37% to 31% overall, holding the Yellowjackets to just 1-of-20 from 3-point range, while hitting 7-of-18 from downtown themselves. They also outscored Rochester 19-16 from the free-throw line and earned a 47-45 advantage in rebounding.

Brandeis and Rochester will meet again next Sunday in Waltham at 2 p.m. The Judges return to action against Emory next Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.