Sports

Bruno keeps winning record alive in Ivy play

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, February 27, 2012

The women’s basketball team had an uneven weekend, dropping a late-game heartbreaker to Cornell Friday night but bouncing back the next night to defeat Columbia 75-63.

Cornell 51, Brown 50

After Cornell (11-14, 5-6 Ivy) forward Clare Fitzpatrick missed a jumper with five seconds remaining in the game, it appeared the Bears (16-10, 7-5) had narrowly escaped a defeat to the Big Red. But Fitzpatrick was able to corral her own miss and call a timeout. 

The 30-second break to draw up a final play proved to be precisely what the Big Red needed. The squad set up Fitzpatrick for another shot, and this time, there was no need for a rebound. Her shot sailed up and in with four seconds remaining, giving Cornell the final advantage 51-50. Before Fitzpatrick’s last second heroics, co-captain Aileen Daniels ’12 hit a jumper with 18 seconds remaining to give the Bears a one-point edge.

The teams were evenly matched all night. Bruno held a five-point advantage — its biggest lead of the night — early on, but in the final 10 minutes of the first half, the teams traded baskets and stayed within two points of each other. The squads filed into the locker rooms tied 25-25.

“We weren’t aggressive enough in the first half,” said Head Coach Jean Marie Burr. “They forced us to take outside shots, and with that defense, you just need to have a killer instinct.”

Guard Lindsay Nickel ’13 led the Bears, putting up 11 of her 16 points in the first 20 minutes and contributing six rebounds throughout the game. Point guard Lauren Clarke ’14 added nine points and four rebounds for the Bears.

Brown 75, Columbia 63 

After the heartbreaker in Ithaca, Bruno headed to New York City to play a struggling Lions squad (3-22, 1-10). Daniels played a crucial part in the win, exploding for 25 points to lead the Bears’ offensive onslaught in the 12-point win.

“We always know that Aileen is capable of that every night,” Burr said. “She was very clear on the fact that she was going to challenge them on the inside.”

But Columbia gave the Bears a scare at the start of the game. Bruno struggled to get ahead in the first half, falling behind by one, its only deficit of the night, before Nickel hit a three-pointer midway through the first half that set the tone for the rest of the game. Nickel had a near perfect shooting game, scoring 16 points on six-for-seven shooting from the field, including four-of-five from beyond the arc.

“A lot of Aileen’s points were from ‘Baker Boards,’ a term named for alum Maia Baker ’90, who would get points from her own rebounds and put them right back up,” Burr said. “It was a tribute to an alum, and second efforts are important — they really boosted the team.”

Bruno got the victory without major contributions from its leading scorer, Sheila Dixon ’13. Dixon, who played just 17 minutes due to early foul trouble, struggled from the field and only netted six points. But without Dixon’s usual production, others Bears stepped up and the team snapped out of its spell of cold shooting. The squad shot 44 percent from the field and 52 percent from the three-point line over the two games, a substantial improvement from last weekend’s 30 and 26 percent respective efforts. 

Bruno closes out its regular season this weekend at home, hosting Penn (11-14, 4-7) and Princeton (21-4, 11-0), who have wrapped up the Ivy League crown with an unblemished conference record to this point. When the squads matched up in New Jersey earlier this season, the Bears gave the Tigers their toughest in-conference matchup of the season, falling 57-45.