With only three games left in their regular season, the women’s basketball team had two objectives this past weekend. The first was obvious: win.
The second? Revenge.
After last weekend’s wins against Case Western Reserve University and Carnegie Mellon University, the women were looking to strengthen their record. But standing in the way were the Brandeis University Judges who bested UR 50-60 when the ‘Jackets played them on enemy ground one month ago as well as the New York University Violets.
This past Friday, utilizing the home court advantage offered by the Palestra, the women came out roaring, grabbing the lead and holding steady. The Judges fought back, though, finding their footing in the second half and silencing the Yellowjackets to win 65-67 in an intense game.
UR managed to pull itself together in time for Sunday’s game against NYU, but the Violets didn’t make it easy, with the Yellowjackets finally eking out a 60-59 victory.
Against Brandeis, the women seemed virtually untouchable at first. Led primarily by sophomore forward/center Jodie Luther, UR ran the score to 15-6 in just under four minutes. Reinforced by the prowess of senior guard Jessica Mastronardi, sophomore forward Kate Agan and freshman forward-center Amy Woods, UR cruised through the first 20 minutes, garnering an 18-point margin and a 43-25 lead going into halftime.
But as the UR Pep Band entertained the audience with a rousing edition of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance,” Brandeis began plotting a stunning comeback, which started with senior guard and ace-up-the-sleeve Jessica Chapin, the University Athletic Association’s leading scorer. Chapin, who had been sitting on the bench for the first half of the game, took to the court four minutes into the second half.
‘We knew that they were going to come at us hard in the second half but we could not respond,” Agan said.
With Chapin supported by junior forward Amber Strodthoff, the Judges rallied to rule the second half, preventing UR from scoring another point for over eight minutes and bringing the game even keel with just over six minutes left in the half. When UR fouled in the last seconds, two ensuring shots sealed UR’s fate.
‘We were defeated by ourselves,” Agan said.
Despite the loss, UR pulled itself up and looked to squash NYU this past Sunday. And in a game that seemed to be almost a perfect reversal of the Brandeis game, the Yellowjackets fought to a 60-59 victory.
The Violets started strong, maintaining roughly an eight-point lead until well into the second half.
A layup by sophomore forward-center Madeline Korber brought the margin down to five points, and a three-pointer by junior guard Melissa Alwardt reduced the margin even further. Then NYU made the mistake of fouling Luther, who netted two perfect shots to tie the game. NYU proved unable to handle UR’s push, and the final blow came when a foul on Agan pushed the Yellowjackets to 60-59 and a crucial victory.
Despite the Brandeis setback, UR’s 17-6 record places them in the NCAA tournament, which will make a win this weekend the icing on the cake.
‘We owe it to our seniors to finish the regular season with a win,” Agan said. ‘We will definitely come out strong.”
This Saturday, UR will face Emory University in the final game of the regular season, and yet again the ‘Jackets will be looking to settle an old score. Emory won the last away game 50-60. But that was also in December, and this Yellowjackets team has seen a lot more action.
This weekend’s game will demonstrate if three months is enough.
Brenneman is a Take Five Scholar.