Women’s basketball splits weekend, claims first Ivy win

After falling to Cornell, three Bears record career-bests in Saturday’s victory over Columbia

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, February 2, 2015

Opening the six-week stretch of conference doubleheaders at home in the Pizzitola Sports Center, the women’s basketball team came up short against a strong Cornell squad Friday but managed to salvage the weekend with an impressive win against Columbia

The Big Red (12-6, 3-1 Ivy) displayed an aggressive offense early in the contest, as the team jumped out on the Bears (7-11, 1-3) to claim an early 6-2 advantage. Not to be bested, Janie White ’18 swished a shot from behind the arc to bring the squad within one. A free throw from Kennedy Martin ’18 equalized the score after just under six and a half minutes of play. Shortly after, the Big Red launched into a quick offense. Bruno struggled in transition, and Cornell capitalized on the mishaps with two fast break layups before Head Coach Sarah Behn called a timeout to straighten out her squad. Coming out of the timeout, the teams went shot for shot for about five minutes, and Cornell managed to keep its lead. A layup — immediately followed by a three-pointer from Ellise Sharpe ’16 toward the end of the first half — broke the seesaw pattern and brought the Bears within three points of the Big Red — the closest Brown would be able to come to its opponents for the rest of the contest. Cornell responded with two baskets of its own in an attempt to regain some distance from the Bears. With just under a minute left in the half, Jordin Alexander ’16 connected on a midrange jumper for the last basket of the first period, bringing the score to 31-26 as the squads headed to the locker rooms for halftime.

Returning to the court after intermission, the Big Red started the second half with a 5-0 run, giving the visitors a double-digit lead. The Bears managed to cut Cornell’s lead several times in the second stanza, but the Big Red always managed to pull away.
Nicholle Aston and Nia Marshall led Cornell in points and rebounds, respectively. The Bears struggled at first to suppress Marshall — the Ivy League’s third leading scorer — but after a while, solid defensive efforts forced her to venture further away from the basket, leaving her niche on the post.

Though Bruno’s play in the back court has at times faltered, periods of tough defense from the Bears often resulted in either a jump ball or a turnover by the Big Red. Throughout the game, Brown forced Cornell to commit 22 turnovers.

In spite of the home squad’s efforts on both ends of the court, the Big Red claimed its sixth consecutive victory with the 65-52 win over the Bears.

Fortunately for Bruno, Saturday night’s matchup against Columbia was almost nothing like the contest against Cornell. Though the Lions claimed a 12-2 lead early in the game, efforts from various members of the home squad brought the Bears back in the game, and a three-pointer from Sharpe at the 7:40 mark put Brown on top.

After establishing the lead at the end of the first half, the Bears would not let Columbia come within eight points, in spite of some questionable calls from the referees. Strong offensive play and a full-court press worked in Bruno’s favor, and the home team was able to notch its first conference victory of the season.

“I’m really proud that we were able to bounce back from Friday’s loss,” Sharpe said.

The junior guard was one of three players to record career highs in points during Saturday night’s game. Sharpe chipped in 19 points, and her tenacious defense resulted in four steals. Megan Reilly ’18 and Martin also notched new bests. Reilly scored 13 points and had six assists — both career highs. Martin also made tremendous contributions with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Sophie Bikofsky ’15 led the squad in scoring with 23 points. The senior sharpshooter made six shots from behind the arc on Saturday. She is now only four treys away from breaking the program record of 203 career three-pointers, set last season by Lauren Clarke ’14.

“It was a complete team effort,” Sharpe said. “Every player on the team made an impact, and that’s what it takes for us to win.”
The Bears hope to put the past behind them and maintain the momentum from Saturday’s morale-boosting win when they hit the road and take on Harvard (8-10, 1-3) and Dartmouth (10-8, 1-3) this weekend.

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