Sports

Women’s basketball drops season opener to Lafayette in late-game thriller

The Leopards exploited their height to out-rebound and limit Brown’s scoring in the matchup

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 11, 2013

The women’s basketball team fell to Lafayette College in its season opener Sunday, losing 70-69 on a last minute shot.

The Bears (0-1) kept the lead for much of the second half, but the Leopards (2-0) came out on top in a game with 13 lead changes.

More than half of Lafayette’s points came from two players: forward Emily Homan, who was the afternoon top scorer with 21 points, and guard Jamie O’Hare, who followed closely with 19 points.

Bruno, on the other hand, had several players share the scoring burden, led by Sophie Bikofsky ’15 and Jordin Alexander ’16, with 16 and 14 points, respectively. The other two players providing double digits on offense were Lauren Clarke ’14, who scored 13 points, and KJ Veldman ’17, with 11.

“I think it really takes the heat off of Clarke and Bikofsky to know that we have balanced scoring,” said Head Coach Jean Marie Burr. “It really bodes well for an up-tempo game, and that’s something we’ve been working on doing.”

The winning shot came with 24 seconds left on the clock, when Homan made a layup to put Lafayette ahead 70-69. The Bears desperately tried to regain the lead in the last couple seconds, but Danielle Fiacco blocked Clarke’s shot to deny one last turnaround and secure a victory for the Leopards.

The game started out with several lead switches as well. The Leopards broke away from the Bears towards the latter part of the first half and managed the largest lead up to that point, going up 25-20. But the Bears quickly came back, gaining momentum from Bikofsky’s 3-point jump shot and scoring 10 straight points.

The Bears went into halftime five points ahead, a lead they maintained for most of the second half. Lafayette kept close, rapidly closing any larger gap that Brown tried to extend.

The tight back-and-forth scoring exchange carried on to the very end. Alexander made a layup at 3 minutes, 42 seconds to give Bruno a 69-63 lead. Following the score, the Bears found themselves in a scoring slump, failing to sink any more shots for the rest of the game and watched Lafayette snatch back the lead in the last minute.

“Showing a little more patience in the offensive end I think would have given us … the point cushion we needed,” Burr said.

The Leopards had an “oversized team” relative to the Bears, Burr said, with seven of its 15 players measuring over six feet tall. This physical supremacy showed in each team’s block tally — Lafayette totaled eight, with 6’7” Fiacco denying Bruno six times, while Bruno had none.

The Leopards also led in rebounds, retrieving the ball 44 times compared to Brown’s 30.

Burr said the game was an improvement over last year’s, when Lafayette “dominated … with their inside play,” and beat Brown 56-32. “This year we were able to kind of neutralize that,” Burr said. “Unfortunately we weren’t able to take them away completely to notch the win.”

The Bears found most of their scoring opportunities from the free throw line and behind the arc. Bikofsky made four of her five attempted 3-point shots, with Clarke close behind with three successful attempts — the Leopards only made three all game.

Veldman led the game from the line, making nine of her 12 free throw attempts in her first game for Brown.

“I think this game is really going to make us hungry,” Burr said.

The Bears will continue their search for the first win of the season this Saturday, when they travel to New Jersey to face Saint Peter’s University.