Sports

Women’s basketball splits final weekend, finishes sixth in Ivy League

Bikofsky ’15 leads Bruno’s scoring against Ivy foes, sets Bears’ single-season field goal percentage record

By
Sports Staff Writer
Monday, March 10, 2014

Guard Lauren Clarke ’14 helped secure the team’s fourth Ivy win of the season with her free-throw shooting in the last 40 seconds of the game. She finished off her Brown career with 25 points in her final two games.

The Bears finished their season this weekend on the road with a 46-43 win over Dartmouth Friday and an 87-67 loss to Harvard Saturday. The split results lands Bruno sixth place in the Ivy League, one position better than last year.

 

Brown 46, Dartmouth 43

The Bears (10-18, 4-10 Ivy) traveled to New Hampshire Friday night to play last-in-the-league Dartmouth. In the previous matchup between the two, the Bears defeated the Big Green (5-23, 2-12) by a score of 71-55.

Both teams started the game slowly, stumbling through the first minutes without any points. In a low-scoring half, the first points of the night came when Dartmouth made a layup just over three minutes into the game. It took yet another two minutes for the next successful shot, this time by Brown.

Sophie Bikofsky ’15, who led the Bears’ offense with 12 first-half points, gave Brown the lead with a free throw to make it 5-4 with 13:13 left in the first half. The Bears followed up with an 11-2 run over the next 10 minutes to leave Dartmouth in a hole.

As the first half drew to a close, the Bears claimed their largest lead of the game when Bikofsky made a three-pointer with 15 seconds left on the clock. Bruno ended the half up 19-8, a score indicative of both teams’ offensive struggles. Neither team had an efficient offense, as the Bears ended the half with a 28.6 percent field goal percentage, and the Big Green managed a mere 15.8 percent, making only three shots from the field.

In the second half both teams improved, but Dartmouth came back with more energy. The Big Green boosted its field goal percentage to 55.6 percent, threatening Bruno from the start. A quick seven points in two and a half minutes surprised the Bears and put the Big Green back into game at 19-15.

Dartmouth continued to press and finally tied the score at 23 with 13:22 left to play. The Bears relied on three-point shots to keep the Big Green at bay, sinking four consecutive treys in as many minutes.

Despite Bruno’s best efforts to gain some distance, Dartmouth took the lead when Fanni Szabo made a three-pointer with 2:56 left on the clock. But KJ Veldman ’17 made her own trey 40 seconds later to take back the lead for the Bears, 42-41. In the game’s final 40 seconds, the Bears counted on clutch free-throw shooting from Lauren Clarke ’14 to secure their fourth Ivy win of the season.

With the final buzzer the Bears recorded their best defensive result of the season, surrendering a season-low 43 points. Bikofsky led all scorers with 15 points. Szabo, the Big Green’s leading scorer, led Dartmouth’s offense with 11 points.

 

Harvard 87, Brown 67

Harvard (21-7, 11-3) still had a chance at the Ivy League title coming into the weekend, but to do so, it needed to win both its games and see Penn and Princeton lose. The Crimson counted on a favorable recent history against the Bears, having won 13 of the past 15 games, and an efficient offense to do their part in their season finale.

In the last meeting, Harvard opened the scoring with a fast-paced first half to give themselves a comfortable lead in the second. The Crimson used this same recipe Saturday, shooting an impressive 66.7 percent from the field in the first half and keeping Bruno under 40 percent, going into halftime with a 19-point lead.

It was the Bears who opened up the scoring in Cambridge with two shots from Jordin Juker ’14, making it 4-0 in the first two minutes. But Harvard quickly responded with a 22-3 run to leave the Bears far behind, bringing the score to 22-7 just nine minutes into the game.

The Bears tried to pull within single digits again, but to no avail as every shot seemed to be countered by the Crimson seconds later. Things only got worse for Bruno as the Crimson mounted a shattering 13-0 run to take the score to 43-16 with three minutes to go in the half.

Fortunately for Bruno, Bikofsky and Rebecca Musgrove ’17 were able to do a bit of damage control, scoring a combined eight points in the final minutes to cut the deficit to 43-24 heading into the locker room.

If the Bears had hoped their momentum from the last couple minutes would carry over to the second half, they were quickly dissuaded by the Crimson’s 10-0 run to start the second. The Bears kept up the fight in the second half, and both teams played a mostly even period, trading baskets in a game with much better offensive performances than on Friday night.

Harvard took its largest lead of the night with 11:26 left when a jump shot put the Crimson up 65-35. But the Bears continued to try to close the gap, and a 12-3 run with three minutes to go reduced Harvard’s lead to below 20.

Both teams realized the result was more than solidified and played the final minute and a half of both their seasons without scoring any points. With 23 seconds to go, Head Coach Jean Marie Burr subbed out all five seniors at once, adding a symbolic finish to their Brown basketball careers.

Harvard’s Christine Clark scored 20 points and was the game’s leading scorer. Bikofsky, who set a Brown record for single-season field goal percentage with 60.6 percent, led Brown with 18 points. Clarke followed with 14, finishing her career with 1,304 points, the seventh-most in Brown history.

Clarke, Juker, Sophie Beutel ’14, Carly Wellington ’14 and Jessica Eason ’14 all played their last official game for the Bears. Losing this much experience will surely be hard for the Bears next year, but the younger players on the team, like Bikofsky, Musgrove and Natalie Ball ’16, who sat out the last games due to a broken nose, have been stepping up to the plate throughout the season and hold promise for next year.

Despite this weekend ending the season for most teams, the Ivy champion still has not been decided. Princeton and Penn, who are tied in first with an 11-2 record, still have to play each other once more. The game to decide this year’s Ivy winners will be played Tuesday in New Jersey.