It was a bittersweet weekend for the UR women’s basketball team, as it suffered a 71-64 loss on Friday at Brandeis University and followed it with a vital 73-65 win against the Violets of New York University on Sunday. Their 1-1 weekend record gives the ‘Jackets an 8-3 conference record and puts them in a four-team tie for first place in the University Athletic Association along with Brandeis, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago. This means that, with three games left in conference play, the race for the No. 1 spot is wide open.
The ‘Jackets’ loss on Friday was their third-straight in less than two weeks. Junior forward Alex Porter kicked off the scoring less than 20 seconds into the game with a layup that was assisted by freshman forward Caroline Bernal-Silva. Brandeis answered seconds later with a 3-pointer and continued to dominate for much of the first half. UR trailed at the end of the first, 32-37.
Brandeis continued to show its dominance in the second half, leading by as many as 15 points on three separate occasions, the last of which was with 8:41 left to play in the game. The ‘Jackets pushed back to come within two points with 1:50 remaining,
largely thanks to freshman guard Melissa Alwardt, who scored 10 of her 15 points in the last eight minutes of play.
Unfortunately, the Yellowjackets could never quite grasp the lead and finished the game down by seven.
Alwardt was the leading scorer for UR and also contributed three rebounds in 24 minutes of play. Senior forward Jessica Waddell also had an impressive game, tallying 12 points, and junior forward Julie Marriot had 10 points and three rebounds.
The Yellowjackets turned it around Sunday with a crucial win over NYU. UR controlled the first half, ultimately ending it ahead 38-19. Porter and Waddell contributed four points apiece during a 13-0 run for the ‘Jackets late in the first half.
The ‘Jackets almost doubled NYU’s shooting percentage from the floor in the first half, making 47 percent of their shots from the floor compared to NYU’s 25 percent.
UR continued to control the game in the second, leading by as much as 22, thanks to a 3-pointer by junior guard Helen Baroody that pushed the score to 49-27 with 15:53 left to play in the game. Although the Yellowjackets stayed strong throughout the second half, NYU made a bold effort at a comeback, thanks to a high percentage from the free-throw line. With 2:09 left in the game, the Violets were within nine.
Fortunately, a free throw each from Marriott and Alwardt solidified the ‘Jackets’ lead, putting them up by 11 points with 32 seconds left, which was enough for the win.
Although all the ‘Jackets came to play on Sunday, they were led by impressive performances by Baroody, Marriott and Waddell. Baroody finished with 14 points, four rebounds, two blocks and three steals. She made all four of the ‘Jackets’ 3-pointers and was five for nine from the floor. Marriott had 14 points as well and contributed two blocks, three steals and four rebounds. Rounding out the trio was Waddell, who also had 14 points, as well as six rebounds, one block and two steals. Overall, the ‘Jackets pushed ahead of the Violets thanks to great play in the paint, scoring 22 points under the basket compared to just 10 from NYU.
UR finishes its regular season home games this weekend at the Palestra.
On Friday, they match up against Case Western Reserve University, who sits at the No. 3 spot in the UAA, at 6 p.m. On Sunday, the ‘Jackets will face off against the Eagles of Emory University at 2 p.m.
Since the rights for the No. 1 spot in the UAA is up for grabs, and with the two home games this weekend, the ‘Jackets have the potential to move past Brandeis, Wash U and Chicago to claim sole possession of the conference.
On a national level, UR dropped from No. 13 to No. 19, according to d3hoops.com. They are the only remaining UAA team in the Top 25, due to Wash U dropping out of the rankings after losing to Emory this past weekend. Chicago received votes in the poll but was unable to break into the Top 25.
Hamilton is a member ofthe class of 2011.