Sports

Women’s basketball looks to carry momentum into road trip north

Matchups with fellow bottom feeders Harvard, Dartmouth provide chance to escape Ivy cellar

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 6, 2015

Rebecca Musgrove ’17 looks for a teammate on offense. The Bears secured their first conference win of the season against Columbia last weekend.

After notching its first conference win in a decisive victory over Columbia last Saturday, the women’s basketball team looks to carry this momentum into the weekend when the squad hits the road to take on Harvard and Dartmouth.

Last weekend, the Bears (7-11, 1-3 Ivy) struggled against top-ranked Cornell (12-6, 3-1) but impressively bounced back the next day with solid performances across the board, enabling Bruno to claim its first Ivy win against Columbia (6-12, 0-4). The Bears must summon the same intensity this weekend, as the coming matchups are guaranteed to be close ones. Bruno is currently in a three-way tie with Harvard (8-10, 1-3) and Dartmouth (10-8, 1-3) for fifth place in the conference.

In preparation for the upcoming contests, the Bears have focused on each of their opponents’ specific strengths and weaknesses.

“We’ve studied their tendencies, plays and personnel,” said starting guard Rebecca Musgrove ’17. “We focused in on their key players, and I am confident in our matchups. We are well-prepared and ready to battle with both teams this weekend.”

The team will make its first stop in Cambridge to take on an under-performing Harvard squad. Though the Crimson was predicted to sit high in the Ancient Eight in a media poll earlier in the season, the team has found it difficult to live up to the lofty expectations and is currently in the midst of a two-game losing streak. In spite of this shortcoming, Bruno must remain aggressive in its defensive play. The Crimson average two more board than the Bears and shoot about 40 percent from the field, the third-highest percentage in the conference. Leading the way for the Crimson is Temi Fagbenle. The imposing forward stands 6-foot-4 and averages a double-double: 14.5 points and 10.4 boards. She is one of three Crimson players to average 10 or more points per game.

Bruno’s defensive capabilities will also be tested in the matchup against Dartmouth. The Big Green’s offense is led by Fanni Szabo, the leading scorer in the Ivy League. The team also boasts the conference’s deadliest shooter from behind the arc. In spite of its potential scoring threats, Dartmouth has struggled to gain second-chance opportunities on missed shots — the squad averages just over nine offensive rebounds per game, a conference low. This lack of activity on the glass is beneficial to the Bears, as the squad does remarkably well when its players are able to rebound the ball and quickly run down the court, often converting the opportunity into a layup or short jumper.

Musgrove believes that Bruno’s strengths lie in the team’s balanced offense. “I feel confident with our ability to score,” Musgrove said.

In the team’s last victory, four Bears scored in double figures, and all but one player that saw action in the contest chipped in at least three points. Bruno must summon this ability to be a team with multiple contributors to be successful this weekend.