W. basketball plays hard, but falls in Thanksgiving tourney

By
Sports Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 1, 2010

While most Brown students headed home for food and family reunions, the women’s basketball team set off to New Rochelle, N.Y., for the Iona Thanksgiving Tournament. The Bears (2-4) put up a tough fight, challenging Iona College (1-4) and UMBC (2-5), but were defeated in both games, falling 73-67 and 75-55, respectively.

The Bears went into the Thanksgiving tournament fresh from a victory in their home opener against Bryant University (0-5) last Tuesday.

In the fight against the host Iona, Bruno held an advantage for over half the game, but a final surge by the Gaels proved to be too much. The Bears held a seven-point advantage, 41-34, midway through the second half, but Iona’s came back to grab a delicate lead with eight minutes left in the game. They increased their lead to 12 and Brown started to fight back, but their efforts came too late and the Gaels eked out a win, 73-67.

“Even when Iona went on their runs we were able to fight our way back and regain our lead,” said guard Lindsay Steele ’12. “In the end, it was a tough battle that didn’t go our way.”

The Bears never held a large advantage, but their lead was steady and was consistently supported by shots from leading scorers Lindsay Nickel ’13 and Sheila Dixon ’13. The sophomore duo put up 20 points apiece for Bruno in the first game. For her total of 26 points over the weekend, Nickel was named to the All-Tournament Team.

In the game against UMBC, the Bears played gritty defense to try and stop UMBC’s three high-scorers that drained two-thirds of the Retriever’s field goals.

“As a team, we really stepped up our defense,” Steele said, “We were able to cut into their lead several times.”

UMBC’s lead was immediate and unwavering and several jump shots put the Bears behind early. A group of talented shooters, UMBC shot 45 percent from the field and 60 percent from behind the three-point line.

 With five minutes remaining in the first half, a layup and free throw by Nickel brought Bruno’s deficit down to ten. UMBC’s high scorer, guard Michelle Kurowski, scored eight points in the final minutes of the half and the Retrievers went into halftime with a 16-point lead.

Kurowski ended the game with 25 points and with the help of her other high-scoring teammates ­— Erin Brown with 14 and Meghan Colabella with 10 — Brown never came close in the second half.

“They controlled the tempo,” said Head Coach Jean Burr. “We scored well with our half-court execution, but we weren’t able to use pressure on them.”

Despite the losses over the weekend, Burr was impressed by the offensive efforts overall last week.

“We scored the most points we have yet this season,” she said. “We are starting to gel offensively and this week we had 3-4 double digit scorers, which really shows unselfish play.”

The Bears return home this weekend to host the Brown BEAR Basketball Classic at the Pizzitola Sports Center. They face in-state rival Providence College on Friday at 7 p.m. and the University of Florida on Saturday at 2 p.m.