Sports

Women’s basketball team closes season with back-to-back losses on the road

Seniors finished their careers on a strong note despite an underwhelming season

By
Sports Staff Writer

The women’s basketball team closed its 2012-2013 campaign last weekend, losing back-to-back games on the road against the Penn Quakers and the Princeton Tigers. The Bears ended their season 9-19, 3-11 in the Ivy League, and will be graduating their three co-captains Sheila Dixon ’13, Caroline King ’13 and Lindsay Nickel ’13.

 

Penn 60, Brown 48

Bruno lost 60-48 to the Quakers (16-11, 9-4) Friday night after falling behind early in the game. Penn put on an aggressive performance from the start, going on a seven-point run only one minute into the game. Led by the Quakers’ leading scorer Keiera Ray, Penn was up 20-8 with 10 minutes left in the half, but Bruno managed to narrow the gap. With a series of treys and jump shots by Sophia Bikofsky ’15 and Dixon, the Bears were within eight  points of Penn at halftime.

Despite an impressive effort by Dixon, who led her team in points and rebounds, Penn capitalized on Bruno’s inconsistency in the second half and built up an overwhelming lead by the close of the game.

“In so many games this year, our team has not been able to put together two solid halves,” Bikofsky said. “This has been a goal in every game, to play consistently enough to play two good halves back to back … One of our big challenges next year will be to play at a high level for all 40 minutes.”

 

Princeton 80, Brown 51

In their final match of the season, the Bears gave a strong early performance against current Ivy League champion Princeton. With stellar performances beyond the arc from Bikofsky and Dixon and a pair of layups by King, Bruno prevented the Tigers from gaining more than a five-point lead during the first half. Thanks to two free throws by Dixon, the Bears went into halftime trailing Princeton by one, 32-33.

Entering the second half, the Tigers were relentless.

“Princeton made adjustments at halftime which allowed them to take away what we did well offensively in the first half,” Bikofsky said.

After six minutes, the Tigers earned a 10-point lead. Bruno cut the deficit down to seven but ultimately couldn’t stop Princeton’s shooting as the Tigers went on a 14-point run and ended the game 80-51.

“It came down to experience and balance, scoring and rebounding,” said Head Coach Jean Burr, reflecting on the Princeton game and the team’s season.

The team suffered a disparity on the boards that contributed to the loss and previous losses to Princeton, she said. “We wanted to keep them below 60 and, had we, it could’ve been a different ball game. … I’ve coached four championships — it comes down to possessions.”

The Bears’ season was plagued by injuries. Dixon, Nickel and Jordin Juker ’14 all took time off the court due to medical complications. These injuries disrupted team consistency, Burr said.

At Dartmouth, “Juker came off a great win, and then she got injured,” Burr said. “It seemed every time we got a rhythm someone got injured.”

Bikofsky said coping with those injuries helped the team grow and learn to “stick together.”

Despite the frustration of an injury-plagued season, the Bears are celebrating players from the senior class.

“They’re a fantastic class, devoted to the game and to the University,” Burr said. “They all embody what it is to be a student athlete.”

The three senior co-captains have contributed to the University, local and global communities through volunteer work, Burr said. King was recently selected to the Allstate WBCA Good Works Team. One of five Division I women’s basketball players to receive the award, King is being recognized for her exceptional contributions off the basketball court. Along with other community service contributions, King coordinated a partnership among the Ivy League schools to fundraise for the Make-A-Wish Foundation last year.

A two-year All-Ivy Second Team selection and Cox Sports Division I Rhode Island Women’s Player of the Year, Dixon is a Presidential Host for the University and has said she hopes to play professional basketball abroad after she graduates.

Nickel was awarded a Royce Fellowship, which she used to travel to South Africa and take part in Hoops 4 Hope, a nonprofit organization that supports youth development in South Africa through athletics.