Sports

Cornell and Columbia pound women’s basketball

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, February 24, 2014

The women’s basketball team had a tough weekend at home, falling 66-59 to Columbia Friday and 78-53 to Cornell Saturday. The two losses eliminate the chances that Bruno (8-16, 2-8 Ivy) had at a winning conference record.

The Bears, who had scored over 70 points in five of the last six games, struggled offensively against both foes, and now sit at seventh place in the Ivy League.

 

Friday: Columbia 66, Brown 59

In the last meeting between the Bears and the Lions (6-18, 3-7), Bruno picked up one of its only two Ivy League victories, returning from New York with a 79-57 win.

“We made everything, and our defense was key in that game,” said KJ Veldman ’17.

Friday’s game in Providence was very different from the one in New York, as the Lions held the lead for much of the game. Both teams struggled to convert their shots, Columbia finishing with a 38.9 field goal percentage and Brown at 38.5. Neither team managed to keep a large lead for long.

Similar to both games last week, the Bears started the game slowly, quickly falling behind as Columbia opened up 7-0 in the first two minutes. But unlike the week before, Bruno was able to climb out of its early hole. Sophie Bikofsky’s ’15 three converted free throws brought the Bears closer to the Lions, bringing the score to 9-7 at the 16:52 mark.

Several minutes later, the Bears fell farther behind as the Lions opened a ten-point lead 23-13. Fortunately for Bruno, Rebecca Musgrove ’17 got the squad back on its feet with a trey and a jump shot, so after a long period of six minutes without either team scoring, the Bears scored again to finish their 10-0 run and tie up the game.

This momentum kept the Bears going, and with 2:29 left in the first half, Musgrove made a jump shot to give Brown its first lead of the game, by a margin of 27-25.

Another free throw sent the Bears into halftime ahead for the first time in two weeks, with a three-point lead.

Unfortunately for the Bears, Columbia improved in the second half, with a 46.2 field goal percentage, making 6-of-9 three-point shots.

Miwa Tachibana started a series of seven consecutive treys from both teams two minutes into the half, when her three points put the Lions ahead 31-28. The Bears tied it up three times, but were unable to get the lead back. After a 9-0 run, Columbia was up 46-37 with 11:42 left to play. The Lions used their advantage to trade baskets until the end of the game, and despite the Bears’ best attempts, they could not cut the deficit to fewer than three points.

Veldman said that compared to the last game against the Lions, the Bears “let them get easier passes in” this time.

Tachibana led all scorers with 20 points and shot 5-of-8 on treys. Veldman, Lauren Clarke ’14 and Bikofsky registered double digits for the Bears, scoring 11, 11 and 10, respectively.

 

Saturday: Cornell 78, Brown 53

The Bears faced many of the same problems the following night when they hosted Cornell.

Once again, Bruno suffered from a large deficit early in the game, as the Big Red scored the first nine points in the opening three minutes. But unlike against Columbia, the Bears were unable to bounce back quickly, and by the 12:00 mark, the score was 17-4.

Netting six points in one minute, the Bears brought the deficit back to single digits, but still lagged behind 21-14 with nine minutes left in the half.

A 7-0 Big Red run only complicated the situation for the Bears, who struggled to catch up as every point they scored was countered by their opponents. The Big Red held on to a 39-26 lead at the end of the first half.

In the second half, the Bears were unable to cut the deficit to single digits at any point, and instead watched the Big Red increase its lead to over 20 points on multiple occasions. Bikofsky’s 11 second-half points were not enough to counter the Big Red’s scoring, led by Allyson DiMagno, who tops the Ivy League in free throw percentage.

Bruno never threatened to stage a comeback, and the Big Red continued to increase its lead up until the final whistle. With 43 seconds to go, Cornell led by 28 points.

Bruno once again struggled to sink shots from the field, finishing the game with only 36.1 percent of its field goals converted. This was nowhere near enough to fight against the Big Red, who finished the game with a 54.9 percentage from the field.

“(We need to be) making the most of when the other team turns the ball over, and actually converting on the other end,” Veldman said.

Ellise Sharpe ’16 and Natalie Ball ’16 scored 10 and 11 points, respectively, from the bench, but Cornell, led by Nia Marshall’s 16 points, had four players in double digits.

The loss against Cornell was Bruno’s fourth consecutive defeat.

The Bears will remain at home next weekend, taking on Penn Friday evening and Princeton Saturday. The teams occupy the top two positions in the Ivy League standings.

“We want just to come together and play as a team,” Veldman said. “We know that we can do it.”