WALTHAM, Mass.- The Brandeis University women's basketball team won the Brandeis Tip-Off Tournament presented by the Park Lodge Hotel Group as head coach Carol Simon earned her 400thcareer victory. The Judges (2-0) cruised past Eastern Nazarene College (1-1) 70-54 in the tournament's championship game.
Coach Simon is currently in the midst of her 29th season on the Judges' bench. So far during her illustrious career, Simon has guided Brandeis to five ECAC tournament appearance including three ECAC Championships as well as four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances from 2005-2009 culminating in a trip to the Elite Eight. Coach Simon is currently 31st on the career victories list among active Division III coaches.
The first quarter saw Brandeis use an 8-0 run to open up a 14-5 advantage with baskets by three different players. After a 3-pointer by Eastern Nazarene's junior guard BreAnna Fraser (Henderson, Nev.) cut the lead to 14-8, the Judges closed the period on a commanding 11-0 spurt. A trifecta by senior guard Niki Laskaris (Swampscott, Mass.) capped the run and put Brandeis up 25-8. The Judges would only build on that advantage as they led by as many as 23 in the first half before heading into the break ahead 47-26.
The second half saw much of the same as Brandeis used their depth and athleticism to continue forcing turnovers and building their lead. Their advantage ballooned to as many as 29 in the third period and 26 on two occasions in the fourth period. A pair of free throws by senior forward Ceara McNamara (Amherst, N.H.) made it 70-44 before the Lions ended the contest on a 10-0 spurt for the final 70-54 score.
The Judges were led by a trio of double-digit scorers as Laskaris netted a game-high 17 points followed by junior forward Sydney Sodine (Dix Hills, N.Y.) with 16, and classmate guard Paris Hodges (Southampton, N.Y.) added 12. Tournament MVP junior forward Maria Jackson(Rochester, N.Y.) topped her squad in multiple categories with an all-around performance that included eight rebounds (four offensive), six assists, four steals, three blocks, and six points.
Sophomore guard Jaysa Cooper (Frisco, Texas) had a team-high 12 points for the Lions while Cooper and senior guard Nicole Greer (Odenton, Md.) each pulled down five rebounds. Senior guard Jasmine Mata (Santa Barbara, Calif.) led the squad with three assists and three blocks.
During the consolation game earlier in the afternoon, the Lasell College Lasers (1-1) routed the Mount Holyoke Lyons (0-2) 81-46. The Lasers jumped out to a 7-0 advantage in the first period and never looked back as they built a 43-27 lead by the break.
Lasell continued to add to their edge in the second half led by senior guard Katie Stopera (Hollis, N.H.). Stopera poured in 30 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the field, including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc. She also contributed six rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Classmate guard Deanna Barrett (Berlin, Conn.) had a team-high eight rebounds (four offensive) and six assists.
The Lyons were led by senior guard Genelle Green (Windsor, Conn.) who earned a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds (seven offensive). Classmate forward Siyao Sui (ShenZhen, China) joined her in double-digits with 13 points.
The All-Tournament team named after the conclusion of the championship game featured Lasell's Katie Stopera, Eastern Nazarene's Elia Salazar, and Brandeis' Paris Hodges, Sydney Sodine, and Niki Laskaris. Maria Jackson was named the tournament's MVP.