Sports

Brown Bears beat Black Bears in title game

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 28, 2011

Over Thanksgiving break, the women’s basketball team traveled to Orono, Maine and captured the Dead River Company Classic title.

The Bears (3-3) defeated Evansville 55-47 Friday evening and then took down the tournament’s host team, the University of Maine, 61-59 in an overtime nail-biter to win the tournament.

Head Coach Jean Burr said the Bears entered the tournament “really anxious to do well” after a 64-49 loss to Bryant last Tuesday.

The first half of Bruno’s opener against the Evansville Purple Aces (1-4) was a back-and-forth affair — the score was tied six times in the first 20 minutes of play. Co-captain Hannah Passafuime ’12 netted a jumper right before the halftime buzzer, sending the teams to the locker room deadlocked at 26.

“We were on the attack mode,” Burr said. “And you could really see it.”

After the break, the Evansville squad surged ahead with a 13-4 run to go up 39-30, its biggest lead of the night.

Lindsay Nickel ’13 began Bruno’s charge back, scoring a jumper and a three-pointer to narrow the deficit to four at the 11:10 mark. Propelled by Nickel’s initiative, Bruno fought back to tie the game at 44 with six minutes of play remaining.

The teams remained close until the one-minute mark, when Passafuime and guard Sheila Dixon ’13 went on the attack. Their combined seven points in the last minute put the Bears on top at the end of the game and sent them to the final round of the tournament.

Co-captains Aileen Daniels ’12 and Passafuime were the high scorers of the night, netting 17 points apiece. Passafuime went six for 12 from the field, including two of three from three-point range.

“The seniors’ fight and determination was really evident,” Burr said. “They had a lot of hustle.”

The next day, the Bears had to face the tournament hosts on their territory.

“It was a hard-fought battle on their home court,” Burr said. “We knew we had the chips against us going into the game.”

Despite the unfriendly environment, the Bears started off hot, taking a five-point lead in the first three minutes. The Bears continued to dominate, going up 19-10 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

But the Black Bears (2-3) did not back down, going on a 14-8 run to cut the deficit to three at the halftime mark.

Bruno was able to build its lead back up to seven with 12 minutes remaining, but that would be the last time the Bears could sit comfortably. The Black Bears inched closer, but with the help of back-to-back three-pointers from Nickel, Bruno was able to go up by six with 1:50 remaining in the second half.

“Nickel really stepped up this weekend,” Burr said. “There was an air of determination there.”

But in the last 90 seconds, Brown missed four free-throw opportunities and with 19 seconds remaining, Maine guard Ashleigh Roberts put in a layup to tie the game at 56. After several missed opportunities from both squads, the teams went into overtime.

In extra time, just one player from each team scored. Corinne Wellington put in a jump shot and a free throw for the Black Bears, but point guard Lauren Clarke ’14 outscored Wellington, putting up five points to give the Bears the 61-59 win and the title.

Daniels was named the tournament MVP with 29 tournament points and a combined 13 rebounds. Passafuime was given All-Tournament Team honors after netting 25 points and 16 rebounds in the two games.

The Bears will return to the Pizzitola Center to face Fairfield Wednesday evening at 5 p.m. and will then host the Brown Bear Classic this weekend.