Sports

Ivy opponents top women’s basketball twice over long weekend

Against both Princeton and Penn, Bruno falters early and cannot erase early deficits

By
Sports Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The women’s basketball team traveled down to the southern part of the Ivy League over the long weekend, falling 81-70 to Princeton Friday and 78-51 to Penn Saturday. Brown’s opponents are currently tied for second in the Ivy League, possessing the best offense and the best defense in the conference, respectively.

 

Friday: Princeton 81, Brown 70

The Bears (8-14, 2-6 Ivy) knew their biggest challenge against Princeton (15-6, 6-1) would be holding back the Tigers’ efficient offense. Princeton averages over 70 points per game and a 47.8  field goal percentage, making it seventh in Division I of the NCAA in that category. Unfortunately for the Bears, their defense fell victim to a quick offensive start from Princeton Friday.

Bruno took the lead for the first and only time in the game when Lauren Clarke ’14 made a trey less than 90 seconds into the first half, putting the Bears up 3-2. But over the next four minutes the Tigers went on a 15-1 run, leaving Bruno with a double-digit deficit early in the game.

The Bears seemed ready for a comeback, as they slowly inched closer and cut the deficit to seven at 21-14 with 8:54 to play in the first half. But immediately after, the Tigers — led by guard Blake Dietrick and forward Alex Wheatley — scored eight points in little over a minute of play and put Bruno back in a hole.

Dietrick and Wheatley led the Tigers in scoring through the whole first half, putting up 14 and 12 points, respectively. Their joint threat to the Brown defense, combined with the Bears’ low efficiency up front in the first half, making less than 30 percent of shots from the field, sent the Bears into halftime down 46-31.

In the second half, Princeton took its foot off the pedal while Brown improved offensively. This resulted in a second half much more equal than the first, with both teams making around 43 percent of their field goals.

The closest the Bears came to a comeback was at the 5:52 mark, when Rebecca Musgrove ’17 made a three-point shot to bring the Bears within 11 points, at 71-60. But once again, the Tigers proved they could control the game when they felt threatened and went on another 8-0 run to get their largest lead of the game and guarantee a safe margin for the last couple of minutes.

With the victory, Princeton extends its winning streak over Brown to 16 games. The last time the Bears defeated Princeton was in 2006.

Dietrick was the top scorer for the game and, despite playing less than 30 minutes, notched 27 points for Princeton, scoring 10 of 12 from the field and not missing any of her four treys or three free throws. For the Bears, Clarke, Musgrove and Sophie Bikofsky ’15 all registered double digits, scoring 13, 12 and 11 points, respectively.

 

Saturday: Penn 78, Brown 51

After facing an offensively minded team, the Bears faced the challenge of playing against the best defense in the Ivy League Saturday. The Quakers (16-5, 6-1) have an impressive record of only allowing their opponents an average field goal percentage of 34.1 percent for the season and an average of 57.2 points per game in Ivy League play. As if that were not enough, Penn came into Saturday’s game with the momentum and confidence of a seven-game winning streak.

It was a deja vu kind of game for the Bears, as the night in Philadelphia started off almost identically to the one in Princeton. The Bears took the lead at 18:42 when Clarke sunk a three-pointer and put the Bears up 3-2. For a while it did not seem like the night before would repeat itself, as Bruno kept close in the first four minutes.

But soon enough, the second part of the deja vu — where the other team surges ahead — appeared even worse than it did the previous night. For the next 10 minutes, the Quakers kept the Bears scoreless as they grabbed 18 points. When the Bears finally broke their dry spell at 6:37, the game was already 27-10 in favor of the Quakers.

Even when the Bears scored, it did not diminish the Quakers’ pace, as Penn continued to score while keeping the Bears at a 21.7 field goal percentage in the first half. When the buzzer sounded for halftime, Penn was up 43-15, with an astounding 28-point lead after only one half.

If the Bears thought the Quakers would come back to the second half slowly, they were bitterly surprised. Penn opened the half with a 16-7 run, and at 14:30 was up 59-22, with a massive 37-point lead.

After this, the Bears finally seemed to wake up and went on a 15-0 run to try to cut the deficit. But with only eight minutes left to play, Bruno’s reaction proved to be too little, too late, and the Quakers easily cruised to the end of the half on their comfortable point cushion.

The final score of 78-51 added one more victory to the Quakers’ now eight-game winning streak this season.

Guard Alyssa Baron was the top scorer once again for Penn with 22 points, in addition to her seven assists. First-year center Sydney Stipanovich, who has been a key piece of the current Quaker team with the NCAA’s third-best 3.9 blocks and 11.4 points per game, also stood out in Saturday’s game with a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Clarke led the Bears’ scorers and was the only player to score over 10 points, netting 14. Bikofsky, who continues to lead the NCAA in three-point shooting percentage, contributed nine points as she shot 3-of-5 from behind the arc.

In one of the few memorable aspects of an otherwise unsuccessful weekend, Clarke moved into ninth place on Brown’s all-time top scorer list. She reached 1,224 career points, passing Margaret Mitchell ’91.

The Bears will return home to face off against Columbia (5-17, 2-6) Friday and Cornell (12-10, 4-4) Saturday.