Sports

Women’s basketball offense lights up scoreboard to clinch wins

Bruno’s 114-28 defeat of Mount Ida marks first time team scores over 100 points in program history

By
Staff Writer
Monday, November 23, 2015

Ellise Sharpe ’16 looks to outlet the ball to a teammate. Sharpe contributed nine points in the contest against Mount Ida Thursday evening.

After a 2-0 start to the season, the women’s basketball team looked to continue its success against Mount Ida and Morgan State. It did so in dominating fashion: Two wins — one an absolute bonanza of Bruno scoring, the other only slightly less of a blowout — continued the Bears’ (4-0) unbeaten start. The wins sent a message to the rest of the Ivy League that the Bears, who went 10-18 last year, are no longer an opponent to be taken lightly.

Brown 114, Mount Ida 28

Yes, you read that correctly: The Bears defeated the Mount Ida Mustangs (1-4) by 86 points, improving to 3-0 on the season.

Nearly from the start, the Bears were in control of the game. With 3:27 remaining in the first quarter, the Mustangs cut their deficit to five on a Breanna Muir jump shot. The Bears proceeded to score 26 unanswered points. The next time Mount Ida scored, Bruno was leading 40-11.

In the blowout, the Bears were able to utilize their bench, giving players who had previously seen only limited minutes opportunities to impress. Every player appeared in the game, and none played for fewer than 11 minutes or more than 19. Taylor Will ’19, who had played only three minutes in the season before the game, played 19 minutes, scoring seven points and pulling down five rebounds. Melissa Heath ’19, who had previously not appeared in a college basketball game, played 15 minutes, scored 12 points and recorded five boards of her own.

Will and Heath “were terrific,” said Head Coach Sarah Behn. “They’ve been excellent. They’re contributing in lots of ways — points, boards, assists. They did really well tonight. I’m really encouraged by the whole team and excited about our youth as well.”

Despite the relatively easy win, Behn said the team would continue working hard in practice, preparing as much as possible to take on Morgan State.

“They’re an athletic team. We played them last year, and we were up by a little bit. Then it got really scrappy,” she said. “They’re 1-1 in a good conference. They’ve got a really good point guard. They’ve got a big kid who’s good, so it’s going to be a battle. We’ve got a lot of prep to do before Saturday.”

Led by 13 points from Erika Steeves ’19, four Bears scored in double digits — only one of whom was a starter. Behn said that she was not ready to declare a permanent starting lineup, and that the continued experimentation was having a positive effect.

“It’s a nice feeling to have options, and I think the girls are responding well,” she said. “It’s not who starts the game, it’s what do you do when you go in.”

Brown 72, Morgan State 45

While the Mount Ida game was an offensive spectacle, Bruno’s offense started out slow against the Morgan State Lady Bears (1-2). After the first quarter, Brown led 8-7 — a far cry from the 31 points they scored in the first quarter against the Mustangs.

“We started off a little tight, I guess,” Behn said. “But we kept executing and doing some good things.”

Sure enough, the Bears’ attack caught fire in the second quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points and ending the first half with a 33-15 lead. They did not make any substantial offensive changes, Behn said. They simply began making their shots.

“We started putting the ball in the basket,” Behn said. The Bears had a “really nice, balanced attack from a lot of people. I feel very encouraged with what they’re doing.”

After the second quarter, the Bears, for the most part, retained control of the game. The Bears kept Morgan State at a distance with their offense, which scored 18 points in the third and 21 in the fourth. Steeves and Jordin Alexander ’16 contributed 19 and 17 points, respectively, and Shayna Mehta ’19 recorded a double-double, her first of the year, with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“Everyone’s working really hard, and today was probably one of our better games as far as executing at both ends of the court,” Behn said.

In practices and throughout the season, Behn has stressed the importance of toughness on defense, and against Morgan State, the Bears exemplified that grit, diving for loose balls and fighting for rebounds.

“They’re really working hard on their defensive stops and rebounding, and we did a really good job with that today,” she said.

The Bears, now 4-0 and one of only two unbeaten Ivy League teams, take on Vermont Monday at home. While confident in her team, Behn remains vigilant.

“Vermont is a much improved team from last year. They’ve got two bigs … that are good. They’re playing Bryant right now, so I’m anxious to see what happens. And they’ve got a transfer point guard that’s very good,” she said. Bryant beat Vermont, 68-52. “So they’re much improved. It’ll be a real tough game.”