Demolition of NJIT closes women’s basketball impressive winter break

Road trip success overshadowed by loss to Yale in first Ivy game of the season

Senior Staff Writers
Friday, January 23, 2015

Sophie Bikofsky ’15 rushes into opposing defense. The program’s record holder for best three-point percentage in a single season led the Bears to four wins over winter break.

While the majority of students started the trek back to College Hill, the women’s basketball team wrapped up its six-game winter break tour with a victory at home. The squad went 4-2 in its games during the recess.

“We experienced many ups and downs during the games over break,” said Jordin Alexander ’16. “But I think overall we made many positive strides towards the team we want to be for the rest of the season.”

The Bears (6-9, 0-1 Ivy) began their endeavors with an overtime victory against Fairleigh Dickinson University (5-12, 2-4 NEC). The lead alternated between the two teams throughout regulation. With 32 seconds left in the second half, Janie White ’18 successfully drove for a layup and capitalized on an extra point from the charity stripe, putting Bruno up by three. But Fairleigh Dickinson responded from behind the arc before the final buzzer, sending the match into overtime. Notable efforts during the added time from Ellise Sharpe ’16 and Alexander — who led the team with 20 points — fueled the Bears’ 13-8 run and clinched a 79-74 win.

After a short break, the squad regrouped in Ames, Iowa to participate in the Iowa State Cyclone Challenge. The Bears’ first matchup was against University of California Riverside (10-8, 1-3 Big West). The contest was bound to be a tough one with the Highlanders boasting the nation’s seventh leading scorer in junior guard Brittany Crain. Not to be bested, Bruno also came equipped with a deadly offensive weapon of its own in Sophie Bikofsky ’15. The senior guard showcased her strong offensive abilities by leading the team with 23 points and four assists.

But due to Crain’s scoring and UC Riverside’s capitalization on Bruno’s turnovers — for 22 points — the Highlanders claimed a 79-65 win.

The following day, Bruno faced Howard University (2-15, 2-2 MEAC) in the tournament’s consolation game. The match was marked by season-best performances — Brown shot 43.5 percent from the field and snatched 15 steals. After a competitive first half, the Bears’ aggressive defense began to translate into quick offense. The squad went on a 10-0 run minutes into the second. The surge was fueled by guard Rebecca Musgrove ’17 and a team-high 11 rebounds from Kennedy Martin ’18.

After the tournament, the team headed back to the east coast to battle Morgan State University (6-12, 3-3 MEAC) in Baltimore, Maryland. The contest was a demonstration of the squad’s solid team play. Bruno tallied twelve assists and had seven players put points on the board — three of whom hit double figures. The strong collaborative effort enabled the Bears to top Morgan State and secure their first consecutive victories of the season with the 59-52 win.

Bruno wrapped up its stretch on the road in New Haven to take on Yale (7-8, 1-0 Ivy) in its first conference game of the season. A 12-day break from competition seemed to leave the Bears rusty. The squad went 0-7 from behind the arc. In spite of Bruno’s relentless press in the second half, which resulted in a 11-4 run for Bears, the 16-point deficit from the first stanza proved insurmountable and the Bulldogs were able to claim a 66-49 victory in the Ivy opener.

The squad returned home to the largest crowd of the season for its last non-conference game against NJIT. In spite of a slow start, the Bears outscored the visitors 44-21 in the second half, resulting in a 67-39 victory. A jumper from Megan Reilly ’18 late in the contest established a 35-point differential — the largest of the game.

In addition to constantly solid performances from veterans Bikofsky and Alexander, the matchups over winter break served as a showcase for some of the team’s newest members. Consistent contributions across the stat sheet from three of the team’s first-years — Martin, White and Reilly — and Musgrove, a sophomore guard, show a lot of promise for the Bears’ future.

Bruno looks to redeem itself against Yale on Friday at the Pizzitola Center.

“If we are able to start each game with intensity and a sense of urgency and play together, we can beat anyone on a given night,” Alexander said. “Right now the biggest thing standing in our way is ourselves. When we play how we know how and everyone does what they need to, there is nothing stopping us.

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