Alexander ’16 leads women’s basketball with 21 points in loss to Bulldogs

After weak second half, Bears drop rematch against Bulldogs to start Ivy season 0-2

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 26, 2015

Rebecca Musgrove ’17 looks to escape her defender. The Bears played a strong first half but were outscored 46-33 in the second half.

Despite a superb demonstration Tuesday against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the women’s basketball team fell short and handed another conference victory to the Yale Bulldogs (8-8, 2-0 Ivy) Friday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center.

Last week’s matchup against the Ivy League opponent appeared to be a show of Yale’s dominance, but on Friday it was the Bears (6-10, 0-2 Ivy) who set the tone and seized momentum early in the game. From the tip-off, Bruno displayed an aggressive offense. The squad seemed unafraid to put the ball on the floor and drive to the basket.

Thirty-two of the team’s points came from inside of the paint. Forward Natalie Ball ’16 led the way and made tremendous efforts down low with her commanding presence, resulting in a career-high 20 points.

“I think we did particularly well offensively,” Ball said.  “We had a lot of ball movement and shot 43 percent from the field. We had a bunch of fast break baskets and shot well from the free throw line.”

Though the Bears had momentum and the crowd on their side, the determined Bulldogs fought to keep themselves in the game. The suspenseful first half saw five lead changes and seven instances in which the teams’ scores were equalized.

With just over a minute left in the half, Janie White ’18 chipped in two foul shots to put the squad up by six — the Bears’ largest lead of the contest. Not to be bested, the Bulldogs hit a free throw of their own and a quick layup seconds before the buzzer to cut Bruno’s lead to just three points at halftime.

“Going into the locker room we felt pretty good,” Ball said. “We had a solid offensive half, but we knew we would have to have a better defensive half to win the game.”

After the intermission, the Bears struggled to maintain their slight lead. Following a media timeout, the Bulldogs began a second half scoring surge and went on a 12-4 run to take a 52-46 lead with 12 minutes left to play.

In an attempt to remedy the deficit, the Bears implemented a full-court press, which resulted in a pair of steals from Ellise Sharpe ’16 and Rebecca Musgrove ’17. On both occasions, the guards made quick outlet passes to Ball, who was able to hit the layup and bring the team within two points of the Bulldogs. Bruno’s defensive pressure seemed to be working well until a blunder in Brown’s backcourt left a Yale player alone by the basket, allowing for an uncontested two points.

As the Bulldogs continued to sink shot after shot — approximately 67 percent of their field goal attempts in the second half connected — the Bears found it impossible to close the gap by more than five points for the remainder of the contest, and Yale was able to claim the 79-69 win.

Jordin Alexander ’16 led the team in scoring for the sixth time this season with 21 points and added a team-high six rebounds. Kennedy Martin ’18 also made a considerable impact from off the bench, matching Alexander’s contribution with six boards and four points of her own.

Up next, the Bears will compete in their first Ivy League doubleheader of the season when they host a strong Cornell squad (11-5, 2-0 Ivy) Friday and Columbia (6-10, 0-2 Ivy)  Saturday at Pizzitola.

To find success in future games, Ball believes the team must increase its intensity on the defensive end.

“We need to hold teams to fewer points and need to get more offensive boards and second chance baskets,” the junior forward said. “Although we shoot well as a team, we need to play tougher defense.”

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