Sports

Women’s basketball heads into crucial Ivy weekend

Columbia, Cornell next opportunites for Bikofsky ’15 and last-place Brown to secure first Ivy win

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 30, 2015

Jordin Alexander ’16 defends the Brown basket from an onrushing Yale guard. The Bears will look to put two losses to the Elis in the rearview mirror before hosting the Lions and the Big Red.

After coming up short in both games in the series against Yale, the women’s basketball team will look to collect its first conference wins when it takes on Cornell and Columbia at the Pizzitola Sports Center this weekend.

“We are very excited going into the weekend,” said guard Rebecca Musgrove ’17.  “And we’re looking forward to wearing the throwback uniforms on Saturday evening.”

Last week, the Bears (6-10, 0-2 Ivy) were plagued by inconsistent play. Though the squad demolished the New Jersey Institute of Technology earlier in the week and then immediately came out on the attack against visiting Yale in Friday’s contest, a breakdown in Bruno’s defensive intensity in the second half spurred a comeback by the Bulldogs. 

“In our past games, we have shown weakness on the defensive end,” Musgrove said. “We’ve recognized this and have really been focusing on communicating and getting stops. In order to be victorious, we must play with heart and fight from the tip-off. We can’t afford to take any plays off and must focus on our defense and shutting down their key players.”

The Bears must unearth their ability to deliver strong performances on both ends of the floor for the entire 40 minutes this Friday, as their matchup against Cornell (11-5, 2-0) is likely to be a tough one. The Big Red, which boasts a potent offense, will come to Providence looking to lengthen its five-game winning streak.

Leading the charge is 6-foot sophomore Nia Marshall, who chips in just over 17 points per game — the third-highest scoring average in the Ivy League — and has eclipsed the 30-point mark in three games this season. She has also been named the Ivy League’s player of the week three times in the 2014-2015 season.

In the teams’ last meeting, Cornell’s tight defense rattled the Bears, creating 13 turnovers and allowing the squad to connect on only 23 percent of its shots from the field. The Big Red has emerged victorious in four of its last five matchups with the Bears.

While Cornell sits atop the conference, Columbia (6-10, 0-2) is currently in last place. In spite of the squad’s far from impressive season, Bruno must be wary of its opponents’ prowess on the glass. The Lions lead the conference in rebounds with 42 per game. Last year, the Bears split the series with Columbia, with each team notching its win on the road, but the Lions lag behind Bruno in the all-time series, 24-34.

In addition to solid defense, the Bears’ success seems linked to the performance of captain Sophie Bikofsky ’15. In all but one of the team’s victories, Bikofsky has recorded at least 13 points. The senior guard had only one and four points, respectively, in the team’s losses against Yale.

“It has been an adjustment with a new staff and a new style of play,” Musgrove said. “We had to adjust to a whole new offense, and we continue to make adjustments as the season progresses.”

Nevertheless, Bruno has seen solid contributions from other members of the squad. Jordin Alexander ’16 has made tremendous contributions throughout the season. Musgrove and Natalie Ball ’16 were both on the Ivy League’s honor roll last week for their impressive performances in the team’s most recent contests.

Not much is expected from the Bears in the Ivy League: An early season poll predicted Brown would come in last place.

“We have a lot of people to prove wrong,” Musgrove said. “We are a great team and look forward to displaying that.”