The No. 18-ranked Emory women’s basketball team recorded two victories this weekend. The Eagles were victorious in games on both Friday and Saturday nights against Brandeis University (Mass.) and New York University (N.Y.), respectively.
On Friday, the women defeated Brandeis with a final score of 59-28. The Eagles raised their overall record to 15-2 on the season and 5-1 in University Athletic Association (UAA) after this game.
Junior guard Hannah Lilly scored 11 points, following senior forward Misha Jackson who added 12 points. The two lead the team to victory against Brandeis as the team made 24-of-59 shots from the floor, including 8-of-21 from the three-point range.
Jackson’s five-of-seven successful shots from the floor gave her 13th double-figure scoring presentation of the year. Lilly continued the precedent set by Jackson with three three-pointers and four successful field goal attempts.
Senior center Danielle Landry finished the game with 11 rebounds, her fourth double-digit rebounding effort of the season.
The Eagles were ahead in this game early on with a whopping lead of 20-2 within eight minutes of the game. The women had a large, 20-point cushion, towards the end of the first half. At halftime, they were at a 32-12 advantage. Junior point guard Savannah Morgan and freshman guard Ilene Tsao contributed to this effort, scoring five points apiece.
Although Brandeis was more successful offensively during the opening of the second half, the team’s final score of 28 points represented one of the lowest scoring efforts against the Eagles and the lowest turned in by a conference opponent.
“These were two very different games,” Thomaskutty said. “We played well enough on Friday night but we got lucky that Brandeis didn’t make some easy shots. We weren’t necessarily fully focused for 40 minutes. That is what made Sunday special, this time the girls were. I was very pleased with the team’s performance against NYU.”
On Sunday, the Eagles pushed the NYU Violets record down to 8-10 overall and 1-6 in the conference with a win of 73-49.
The Emory women, on the other hand, were looking at a fifth consecutive win. They now have a record of 16-2 overall and 6-1 in the UAA. At the midway point of the conference season, the Eagles are in a tie for first place.
In this game, Lilly continued to step up her play with a contribution of 19 points.
The Eagles were ahead the entire game, making 27-of-64 shots from the floor, eight shots from beyond the arc and an impressive 43-31 lead in rebounding. This was the seventh time this year that Emory held a double-figure advantage in this category.
The women continued to impress, pressuring the Violets into 24 turnovers. The Violets’ turnovers led to a 21-5 growth for Emory, the women’s eighth straight success recording 20 plus points off of the competitors’ errors.
Lilly dropped a season-high of five three-point field goals, marking her 22nd straight game with at least one three pointer. She also hit seven shots from the field.
“Hannah had one of her best shooting games of the season,” Thomaskutty said. “She played hard, anchored defensively, and had strong and vital rebounds. It was definitely her best all around game of the season, especially against a team with speed like NYU’s.”
Junior guard Selena Castillo contributed 13 points and four steals, raising her total to 54 this year, adequate for a ninth-place tie on Emory’s seasonal list. Morgan crowned the team’s double-figure contributors with 12 points, accompanied by eight assists and six rebounds.
By halftime the Eagles held a comfortable 40-21 lead. The points in the first half came from a number of offensive runs, as well as strong defensive play and continuous movement forward on the court.
“At Sunday’s game we finally played our game and it didn’t matter what the other team did,” Lilly said. “It’s important that we played well going into the second half of conference season.”
NYU stepped up its game in the beginning of the second half, cutting down Emory’s lead with back-to-back three pointers, but the Violets still trailed 40-27. The score stayed at 45-32 until another burst from Emory’s Tsao and Landry, pushing the Eagles ahead with less than ten minutes left in the game. The game ended with a final score of 73-49.
“We did a lot of the little things right this weekend,” Landry said. “We all boxed out, crashed on offense, played help defense, we did it all. We ran the court really well and had a ton of points in transition in both games.”
The Eagles will be back on the court this Friday at 6:00 p.m., kicking off the month of February with another exciting game against Brandeis University up in Massachusetts.
“We are looking forward to going to New York and Boston next weekend and will hopefully have the same results,” said Landry.
— By Nicola Braginsky