Basketball tournaments at arena throughout weekend

Men's and women's squads both off to a good start

This weekend will be busy in Red Auerbach Arena as Brandeis basketball teams host eight games in a span of three days at the Judges Classic tournaments.

The men's team makes its home debut Friday at 6 p.m. taking on Newbury College, followed by Colby versus Curry at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the men's teams start the day, with a consolation game between Friday's losing teams at 1 p.m. and the championship game at 3 p.m. Then women's teams take center stage, with the Judges taking on Connecticut College at 5:30 p.m. and Springfield playing Rhode Island College at 7:30 p.m. The weekend wraps up on Sunday afternoon with the women's consolation game at 1 p.m. and the championship game at 3 p.m.

Brian Meehan's men's basketball team has an almost entirely new look this season. The Judges, who reached the Elite Eight for the second time in three years last season, graduated the winningest senior class in school history, including a pair of first-team All-UAA selections. Returning to lead the squad are All-UAA honorable mention point guard Tyrone Hughes '12 of Dorchester, Mass., sharpshooter Vytas Kriskus '12 of Kvedarna, Lithuania, and forward Christian Yemga '11 of Yaounde, Cameroon.

Hughes started all 29 games as a sophomore and has not missed a contest in two seasons. He averaged 9 points per game and is the team's top returning assist man, averaging 3 helpers per game. Kriskus, who was one of four Judges to average in double figures last season, is the top returning scorer, averaging 12.8 points in just 21.2 minutes per game off the bench as a sophomore. He was second in the Association with 46 3-pointers. Yemga is the leading returning rebounder for the Judges at 3.3 per game; he also finished second on the squad in blocked shots with 12 last season.

In their season opener, the Judges defeated Lasell College, 73-51, on Tuesday, November 16, in the Lasers' gymnasium. Kriskus recorded his first collegiate double-double with 22 points and a career-best 10 rebounds, while rookie forward Alex Schmidt of Dublin, Ireland, had 11 points and 12 rebounds in his collegiate debut. Rookie guard Derek Retos of North Attleboro, Mass., added 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Leading by four points with 13:09 left in regulation, the Judges went on a 20-4 run to put the game away.

Coach Carol Simon's Brandeis women's basketball team finished in a tie for third place in the UAA last season, but missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years. The Judges will try to get back to the Big Dance, but in order for them to do so they will have to make up for the loss of 2010 UAA Player of the Year and first-team All-American Jessica Chapin.

Junior guard Morgan Kendrew of Cotuit, Mass., an All-Association honorable mention, is the squad's top returning scorer after averaging 10.1 points per game, 15th in the league last season. Senior forward Amber Strodthoff of DePere, Wis., also an All-UAA honorable mention, returns to clean up the glass after averaging 7.4 boards per game, fourth in the UAA. Strodthoff also finished fifth in the league in free-throw shooting (.750) and had four double-double performances. Front court players Shannon Hassan of Merrimack, N.H., and Brighid Courtney of Southampton, Mass., both juniors; senior  Mia DePalo of  Rumson, N.J., and junior guard Kelly Ethier of Springfield, Mass. all look to increase their playing time this season, as do a crop of returning sophomores and rookies.

The Judges have split their first two contests this season, both at home. They opened the season on Monday, Nov. 15, with a 55-46 win over Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Kendrew led all players with 18 points, 13 coming in the second half. She hit a pair of key 3-pointers as part of a 25-10 run that ended the game. Rookie guard Julia Scanlon of Long Valley, N.J., scored 12 points off the bench in her collegiate debut, while Ethier and sophomore Samantha Anderson of Johnsonville, N.Y., both doubled their career-bests with six rebounds each.

Two nights later, on Nov. 17, Brandeis faced 13th-ranked Babson and took the Beavers to overtime before bowing, 62-59. Kendrew again caught fire in the second half, scoring 16 of her career-high 21 points, including a 3-pointer with 2.8 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 57-57 and force overtime. She also led the Judges with six rebounds, four coming on the offensive glass. Strodthoff finished with 13 points, nine of which were scored in the first 20 minutes.

Categories: Athletics

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