Balanced Scoring Attack Lifts Spartan Women Past NYU in Defensive Battle

Brooke Orcutt scored nine points off of the bench (photo by Marcello Cutti/Starlight Media Illustrated)
Brooke Orcutt scored nine points off of the bench (photo by Marcello Cutti/Starlight Media Illustrated)

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A balanced offensive effort with nine different scorers coupled with a dominant defensive performance lifted the Case Western Reserve University women's basketball team to a 55-47 victory versus New York University in University Athletic Association action on Sunday afternoon inside the Jerome S. Coles Center.

Following two-straight conference weekends on the road, the Spartans (10-8, 3-4 UAA) return home next Friday evening on a two-game win streak to welcome the Judges of Brandeis University (Mass.) into Horsburgh Gymnasium at 6:00 p.m. as part of CWRU's seventh annual Throwback Weekend. With the loss, the Violets fall to 9-9 overall and 1-6 in the Association.

The Spartans got out of the gate quick and scored the contest's initial seven points on three-consecutive possessions with a lay-up by senior forward Erin Hollinger (Chardon, Ohio/Chardon), a three-pointer from junior Marissa Miles (McDonald, Pa./Fort Cherry) and a pair of free throws from senior Chelsea Peck (Pittsburgh, Pa./Oakland Catholic) at 17:07. The hosts answered with a 15-2 run covering nearly the next eight minutes, grabbing on to a 15-9 advantage with 9:27 left. The Spartan women responded with an 8-2 run of their own, knotting the contest at 17-17 with 5:20 left as freshman guard Rachel Beaty (Carrollton, Texas/Hebron) hit two free throws. Both teams struggled to find the bottom of the net for the rest of the opening stanza as NYU took a slim three-point advantage (24-21) into the locker room.

In the second half, the visitors slowly chipped away at the Violet advantage eventually knotting the contest at 26-26 on another triple by Miles with 16:30 left. Over the next 3:38 of play, the Violets ripped off a 9-2 run of their own making the score 35-28. Not done, Spartan freshman Brooke Orcutt (Morrison, Colo./Dakota Ridge) converted an old-fashioned three-point play, junior guard Erica Iafelice (North Canton, Ohio/Canton Hoover) buried a jumper and Beaty knocked down a shot from beyond the arc, giving the Spartans their first lead (36-35) since the 5:20 mark of the first half.

That surge continued for the Spartans as they went on a 16-7 run capped off by bucket in the paint by junior center Emily Mueller (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair) on an assist from Hollinger, giving the visitors their largest lead of the contest (52-42) with just 1:46 left. NYU never threatened from that point as the Spartans picked up their 10th win of the season.

Orcutt led nine Spartan scorers with nine points, while Hollinger, Miles and Peck each chipped in with eight. Peck added a team-high seven boards as the Spartans won the rebounding battle, 45-35, while Iafelice added five points, four rebounds and a team-high five assists.

Tana Bertino recorded a game-high 12 points in the setback for NYU, while Makenzie Hirz posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Additionally, the Spartan defense limited NYU to just 26.3 percent shooting (15-of-57) from the floor. It is the 14th time this winter it has limited opponents below 40 percent shooting and third time under 30 percent.