Sports

Women’s basketball undone by buzzer beater

The team rallied from a 17 point deficit to take the lead, only to fall to Army in the final second

By
Sports Staff Writer
Sunday, November 24, 2013

The women’s basketball team lost to Army in dramatic fashion Saturday, allowing a putback layup with just one second left on the clock. Sophie Bikofsky ’15 heaved a prayer as time expired but could not complete what would have been a 17-point comeback for the Bears.

Army escaped Bruno’s late rally, clinching a victory with a final score of 67-65.

“It was a disappointing end, but this game showed that we have a lot of potential,” Bikofsky said. “We can come back from anything — this was the second time we were down by a significant number of points, and we were able to fight back and put ourselves in a position to win.”

Army (4-1) pressured Bruno (2-2) from the beginning, opening up a double-digit lead less than 10 minutes into the game. The two star players for the Black Knights, Kelsey Minato and Jen Hazlett, lit up the Bears’ defense, collectively scoring 17 of Army’s 36 points in the first half.

“We definitely focused our defensive efforts on (Minato) and (Hazlett),” Bikofsky said. “We had to make some in-game adjustments after they started so hot. We tried not to help off of them, and we switched onto them quickly on picks and screens to try to contain them.”

Carly Wellington ’14 kept Bruno in the game, scoring 10 of the team’s first 14 points, including two shots from beyond the arc. Captain Lauren Clarke ’14 also had a strong first half, posting seven points, two rebounds and a steal.

The Bears managed to claw back into the game, heading into halftime down by just five points.

At the start of the second half, Minato again came out strong, leading Army on a 17-5 run over the course of 10 minutes.

“I had the job of guarding (Minato),” said starting point guard Rebecca Musgrove ’17. “We knew she was a very capable playmaker who was going to run the offense for them. I tried my best to get around screens, get the ball out of her hands and keep her away from the basket.”

Musgrove had an off night from the field, shooting 0-7 and collecting her three points on free throws. But her main focus was slowing Minato down.

“I’m not making excuses, I didn’t shoot the ball well,” Musgrove said. “But I knew I could count on my teammates — we have great shooters with a lot of experience in (Clarke) and (Bikofsky), so I knew I didn’t have to do as much on offense as long as I stopped the ball on defense.”

Clarke and Bikofsky lived up to Musgrove’s expectations, as they exploded for 25 of the Bears’ 34 second-half points, including a five-minute stretch in which the duo scored 13 points in a row for Bruno to cut the Black Knights’ lead to eight.

“My teammates always find me in the right spot,” said Bikofsky, who finished with 16 points and shot 4-5 from three-point land. “They put me in good positions to shoot the ball. We’ve been shooting really well from three as a team, which has allowed us to score points in bunches.”

Bruno stayed aggressive and kept attacking, cutting the lead to just two points. With just 1:49 left in the game, Bikofsky hit a three to give the Bears their first lead of the afternoon at 64-63.

After both sides traded free-throw attempts, the game was tied when Musgrove took a jumper with 21 ticks remaining. Musgrove’s shot was off, leading to a Minato rebound and an immediate Army timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, Minato carried the ball up court and pulled up from inside the arc. Her shot missed, but Hazlett came crashing down the lane, collected the offensive rebound and dropped in the game-winning layup with just one second left on the clock.

“All five players need to be focused on grabbing loose balls and rebounds,” Musgrove said. “We’re a very undersized team, so most teams will out-rebound us pretty easily. We have to stay focused and keep the opposition boxed out.”

“We don’t have one big player who’s going to collect 10 rebounds a game,” Bikofsky said. “It doesn’t matter who ends up getting the board, as long as everyone is crashing and boxing out and giving a full effort. We got lazy for one play, and it cost us the game.”

The team will try to shake off the heartbreaking loss with a team Thanksgiving dinner at Clarke’s house before heading down to Annapolis, Md., to take on the Naval Academy  and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County  in the Navy Classic Nov. 29-30.