Sports

Women’s basketball splits weekend games

Both squads enter the competition with just one loss, but struggle against talented Ivy foes

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, February 10, 2014

For women’s basketball, a win and a loss this weekend were good enough to hold onto sixth place in the Ivy League, though the team had hoped for better. After being foiled by lights-out shooting from Harvard, the Bears rebounded to with a victory over Dartmouth.

 

Harvard 91, Brown 71

Recent history has not favored the Bears (8-12, 2-4 Ivy) against Harvard (15-5, 5-1): The Crimson had won 12 of its past 14 games going into Friday’s matchup. It quickly became another one of those nights. Harvard opened the game with an offensively astounding first half, giving itself enough of a cushion to coast through the second.

The Crimson took the lead right off the bat, scoring 12 points in three and a half minutes as they kept the Bears scoreless. Bruno’s late start proved fatal, as the lead only increased over the first half.

Despite 13 first-half points from Lauren Clarke ’14, the Bears were still vastly outscored by the Crimson, who went into halftime with a 20-point lead, 53-33, and an impressive 76 percent field goal percentage.

The second half was much more balanced, as both teams scored at about an even pace. However, 38 second-half points would not be enough to prevent another Crimson victory.

Though Harvard suffered a slight dip in the second half, it still finished the game with over a 60 percent conversion rate in all offensive categories, making 30 of 47 from the field, 10 of 16 on three-pointers and 21 of 31 on free throws.

Four Harvard players scored over 10 points, and Crimson guard Christine Clarke led all scorers with 19 points. Clarke — who was recognized before the game for having set a Brown record with 183 career three-pointers — led the Bears with 17 points. Sophie Bikofsky ’15 scored another 14, and Jordin Juker ’14 added a career-high 10 points, despite only being on the court for 12 minutes.

 

Brown 71, Dartmouth 55

After hosting the Ivy leaders, the Bears faced off against last-place Dartmouth (3-17, 0-6) Saturday. The Big Green have struggled mightily against Ivy opponents this season, conceding over 70 points and losing by at least 10 every game.

Saturday was no different, and the Bears took advantage of the fragile Dartmouth squad to secure their second Ivy victory.

After scoring the first points of the night, Dartmouth soon fell behind and trailed for the rest of the game. Dartmouth could not regain the momentum, as Bruno’s lead steadily increased as the night went on.

Around the 12-minute mark in the first half, Dartmouth had its best chance of taking back the lead when Fanni Szabo’s two consecutive three-pointers brought the Big Green to within one point, trailing only 14-13.

But after two scoreless minutes, it was Clarke who once again distanced the Bears from Dartmouth. Her coast-to-coast layup, followed by another lay-in seconds later, put the Bears up 18-13 with 8:46 to go in the half.

Bruno had more than twice as many assists as Dartmouth, 13-6, reflecting the Bears’ efficient passing. One such assist was an agile play by Ellise Sharpe ’16, who dribbled past her defender and dished the ball between two Dartmouth players into the hands of an incoming Carly Wellington ’14, who needed only to flip the ball over the rim for another two points.

Despite collecting no offensive rebounds in the first half, the Bears still finished the period ahead 29-24, a reflection of their superior field goal conversion rate — 57.8 percent to the Big Green’s 38.1 percent.

Coming out of the locker room, Bruno quickly took definitive control of the game, reaching a 10-point lead for the first time at 16:44.

Forced to play more offensively, the Big Green left its defense vulnerable to counterattacks, and the Bears took notice. Around the eight-minute mark, Sharpe finished three consecutive fast breaks in a minute.

The Bears attained the largest lead of the game with 4:55 left, as Sophie Beutel ’14 made a layup to put the Bears up 62-40. The Big Green tried to catch up with a 7-0 run, but ran out of time before it could close the deficit.

The Bears had their highest field goal conversion rate of the season, 55.6 percent. The team was led by Bikofsky, who scored 14 points going 4-of-8 on treys, maintaining her position as the nation’s best shooter from behind the arc at 51.1 percent this season. Clarke also scored 13 points. She now finds herself 10 points short of entering the top-10 scorers in Brown history, with 1,194 career points.

With the weekend’s combined results, Brown maintains its sixth-place ranking in the Ivy League, while Harvard leads, and Dartmouth remains at the bottom.

The Bears will travel to Princeton (13-6, 4-1) and Penn (14-5, 4-1) next weekend. Both teams are tied for second in the league.