The women’s basketball team suffered two close road losses at the hands of conference opponents this weekend at New York University and Brandeis, pushing their record to 18-4 overall and 7-4 in the UAA.Despite a late comeback effort at NYU on Friday, the Yellowjackets fell 59-54. Assistant Coach Beth O’Boyle said the contest was a grueling one. “It was a physical game,” she said. “We did a good job in the first half, but we couldn’t score in the last four minutes.”

UR led at the half by three points, but the Violet’s inside presence won out in the second period, as they dominated the paint.

NYU led by six with less than a minute left, but the Yellowjackets made one more run. Led by junior guard Erika Smith, UR pulled to within one.

Smith drove inside for a layup with 26.8 seconds left. When NYU missed two free throws on the other end, Smith capitalized on the opportunity by hitting a three-pointer to make it 55-54 with just 16.1 seconds remaining.UR fouled on the next possession, but the Violets made both free throws. After missing a three-point attempt, the Yellowjackets had one more chance when NYU kicked the ball out of bounds with four seconds left.

UR’s comeback was not to be. Sophomore center Megan Fish’s inbounds pass was picked off, the Yellow-jackets fouled and NYU made two more from the line.

Smith finished with 13 points and senior forward Anne Gotstein and junior guard Tara Carrozza each had nine.

Despite the loss, O’Boyle felt that the team made a good effort. “We had good intensity all the way through,” she said. “It’s always tougher on the road.”

Sunday’s game at Brandeis didn’t prove any easier. Going into the game, O’Boyle said she knew it would be a defensive battle. Brandeis’ defense held the Yellowjackets to 15 points in the first half as UR shot six of 34 from the field. “It’s hard to win a ballgame when you only score 15 points in the first half,” she said.

The Yellowjackets applied some defensive pressure of their own in the second half to hold Brandeis scoreless over the final 2:51. UR overcame its poor shooting and was able to pull within one on a foul line jumper by Fish and a free throw by Smith.

With the score 50-49 and possession of the ball, the Yellowjackets called two straight timeouts with 11.1 seconds left. Smith drove the lane but missed. Sophomore forward Kelly Wescott grabbed the rebound and UR called a final timeout with one-tenth of a second on the clock.

The Yellowjackets’ buzzer attempt was no good and the team dropped its second game of the weekend by a single point. “Brandeis was a tough game,” O’Boyle said. “The Brandeis defense was solid. We put ourselves in a position to win, but in the end, the shots just didn’t fall.”

The fact that UR had beaten both NYU and Brandeis earlier in the season made last weekend even more disappointing.

Even after the losses, the Yellowjackets still stand a good chance of making the NCAA Division III tournament. With three games reamining, O’Boyle is hopeful that UR will prevail this weekend against UAA opponents University of Chicago and Washington University in St. Louis. “The girls are really motivated for this weekend,” O’Boyle said. “They know that they still control their own destiny.”

O’Boyle sees an important opportunity against Washington — the number one team in the nation. “We gave them a good run earlier this season on their home court,” she said. “Now that they’re coming here, we should be able to win.”

Friday at 6 p.m. UR hopes to pack the Palestra against Washington, and at 3 p.m. on Sunday they will host Chicago.

Taylor can be reached at

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