A full dance card: men's and women's basketball teams advance to postseason

Women to host Western Connecticut State University on Friday, while men will be on the road against the University of Scranton

Jessica Chapin

Kevin Olson

Both Brandeis basketball teams are back in the NCAA Division III tournament for the third year in a row and for the first time, the Brandeis women will host first- and second-round games. The women take on Western Connecticut State University in the first round on Friday evening at 7 p.m., while the men travel to Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., to take on the University of Scranton at 6 p.m. on Friday.

The men's and women's squads ended the 2008-09 regular season with 17 wins each, including four apiece over nationally-ranked teams. According to d3hoops.com, the women owned the second-toughest schedule in the nation, while the men were ranked no. 11 in strength-of-schedule.

The women, who finished 17-7, 7-7 in fifth place in the University Athletic Association (UAA), earned a fourth-straight at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. Head Coach Carol Simon’s team is paced by junior guard Jessica Chapin of Mendon, N.Y., a second-team All-UAA selection last year. Chapin leads the Judges in scoring (14.1 ppg, 3rd in the UAA), rebounding (6.7 rpg, 6th), assists (3.2 apg, 6th) and steals (3.0 spg, 2nd), making her one of three players in the UAA to rank in the top 10 in all four categories. Senior Lauren Orlando of Peabody, Mass., is the squad's second-leading scorer at 9.5 points per game.

The Brandeis-WCSU game will follow a 5 p.m. match-up between Brockport State University (19-9), champions of the State University of New York Athletic Conference and Mount St. Mary's (N.Y.) College (23-4), winners of the Skyline Conference. Winners of Friday’s first-round games will face off at 5 p.m. on Saturday in the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center. Tickets for both the Brandeis-WCSU and BSU-Mount St. Mary’s games are $6 for adults, $3 for students. One ticket grants admission to both of Friday night’s games. Fans who want to attend the second-round game on Saturday will need to purchase a separate ticket.

The men's basketball team, meanwhile, has earned its third-straight berth in the NCAA Division III tournament as an at-large selection. The Judges posted a 17-8 record, going 10-4 in the UAA and finishing in second place in the conference for the second-straight year. After losing their first three games, the men won 17 of their last 22, ending the season on a five-game winning streak.

Under sixth-year head coach Brian Meehan, who won his 250th career game earlier this season, Brandeis is led on the court by graduate student Steve DeLuca of Merrimack, N.H., and senior Kevin Olson of Rockport, Mass. DeLuca, a d3hoops.com preseason All-American at forward, leads the Judges in scoring and rebounding, averaging 15.2 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, sixth and second in the UAA, respectively. Olson, a sharp shooting guard, averages 12.4 points per game and leads all NCAA Divisions in 3-point shooting, connecting on 59.7 percent from beyond the arc (80-134).

For more information about the men’s and women’s basketball teams, visit the Athletics Web site.

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