You would have to go back two months to find the last time the UR women’s basketball team lost a game. Since that time, the team has won 11 straight, including an impressive 62-55 victory against the third-ranked New York University Violets this past Friday and a championship win at the JP Morgan Chase Tournament two weeks ago. Most recently, the women’s team defeated University Athletic Association rival Brandeis University on Sunday afternoon, 77-61.

Against the Judges, the ‘Jackets dominated in the paint, holding a 32-22 scoring advantage inside. They also got huge play from their bench players, namely freshman guard Melissa Alwardt, who had a career-high 20 points while also adding three blocks.

Brandeis jumped out to take the lead early in the ball game, going up by as many as eight in the first 15 minutes of play. The ‘Jackets responded quickly, however, and got good production from reserve freshmen center Courtney Donovan, in for UR’s leading scorer on the season, junior center Julie Marriott, who was on the bench with two fouls. Donovan had seven points in the first half and finished the game with nine. Juniors forward Alex Porter and guard Johanna McNelis also added seven points each before halftime for the Yellowjackets.

In the second half, UR never trailed, finishing the game on a 24-9 run. Marriott came back with 10 points after halftime, going four for five from the field while also dishing out five assists. She finished the game with 14 points and three rebounds. Alwardt had 17 of her 20 points after halftime. She shot 50 percent from the field and was perfect at the foul line. Porter finished the game with 14 points and was key defensively, tallying nine rebounds and six steals.

Against NYU on Friday night, UR posted three players in double-figure scoring, coming back from four down at the half en route to victory. Marriott led all ‘Jacket scorers with 17 points and also added three assists. Porter contributed 14 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Helen Baroody added 13 points, while grabbing four boards.

In the first half, UR was down by as many as six, mainly due to NYU’s reigning UAA player of the year forward Jessica McEntee’s 11 points. The ‘Jackets fought back, however, thanks to Marriott’s 11 points in the first 20 minutes and strong shooting from senior forward Jessica Waddell and Porter, both of whom had six points before the half.

In the second half, Baroody came out and sank a jumper right out of the gate, cutting the Violet’s lead to two. Following a block by Marriott on NYU’s ensuing possession, freshman guard Caroline Bernal-Silva tied the game up, hitting a mid-range shot to knot the score at 31.

During the next 10 minutes of play, there were seven lead changes, with neither team leading by more than four. With seven minutes remaining, Marriott sank a two-pointer to give UR a 50-49 advantage. The ‘Jackets didn’t trail again for the rest of the game. During that time, Marriott had six of the team’s final 12 points. After Porter put UR up by five with just over a minute to go, the ‘Jackets were able to ice the clock thanks to two free throws made by Alwardt.

The Yellowjackets entered the game against the Violets after being crowned champions in the JP Morgan Chase Tournament the previous weekend.

In the first round of tournament play, UR took on SUNY Geneseo and dominated en route to a 63-37 victory.

In the game, three ‘Jacket players were in double digits. Alwardt led all scorers with 14 points. Marriott had 13 points and nine rebounds, including six on the offensive boards, and junior guard Rachel Stern led the team with five assists. The other UR player in double digits in scoring was Baroody, who had 13 points to go along with three steals.

In the semifinals, UR took on Roberts Wesleyan College, again coming away with a double-digit victory. This time, the ‘Jackets put up a season-high 88 points while holding Roberts to 53 points and only 17.4 percent shooting from the field in the first half.

Four UR players reached double-digit scoring in the game, and Alwardt again led all scorers with 15. Porter had 13 points, six steals and six rebounds. McNelis added 10 points, four assists and two steals. Donovan also contributed 10 points in the game.

The ‘Jackets took on Nazareth College in the finals, and, again, UR dominated its opponent in an 83-46 blow out decision. The Yellowjackets never trailed in the game and jumped out to a 41-23 lead in the first half, attempting 39 shots and shooting 45.5 percent from behind the arc before half time.

In the first half alone, Marriott had 15 points on 66.7 percent shooting, while also adding two steals. Alwardt had 10 points and shot 50 percent from behind the arc before halftime.

The ‘Jackets held a 34-16 advantage in points in the paint for the game, outscored Nazareth 19-4 in points off turnovers and dished out 15 more assists than the Golden Flyers.

Defensively, UR held Nazareth to 35 percent shooting from the field, including 21 percent from three-point range.

Marriott was named the MVP of the tournament, putting up 20 points, seven rebounds and two steals against Nazareth. Alwardt, who was named to the All-Tournament First Team, had 10 points. Baroody also added 10 points in the final and joined Porter, who added nine points in the final, on the All-Tournament Second Team.

Porter was also named to the UAA Honor Roll this past week for her performances against NYU and Brandeis.

The Yellowjackets are away this coming weekend, taking on UAA rivals Emory University on Friday and Case Western Reserve University on Sunday at their respective locations. They return home on Feb. 1 to take on Washington University in St. Louis, who currently sits atop the UAA with the ‘Jackets at 3-0.

Hilfinger is a member of the class of 2010.



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