Bikofsky ’15 breaks record en route to win

Bears extend winning streak to three, gain momentum with sweep of Dartmouth, Harvard

Contributing Writer
Monday, February 9, 2015

It was all smiles for the women’s basketball team this weekend, as it defeated Ivy League rivals Harvard and Dartmouth to improve its conference record to 3-3. The two victories mark the first time Bruno (9-11, 3-3) has completed an away sweep of the Crimson (9-11, 2-4) and Big Green (10-10, 1-5) since 1993.

“We have been working hard all season and gotten really close, and haven’t been able to close it out, so these two games were huge,” said Captain Sophie Bikofsky ’15. “We really learned a lot from the earlier games in the season and it felt good to come out on top.”

On Friday night in Cambridge, Bikofsky broke a school record for career three-point field goals and Ellise Sharpe ’16 dropped 19 points en route to an 83-80 victory. Also adding to the mix were newcomers Megan Reilly ’18 and Kennedy Martin ’18, who put up 13 and nine points, respectively. 

The game got off to a rough start when Janie White ’18 left the contest just nine seconds in due to injury. But the Bears responded nicely, hitting nine of their first 12 shots and riding the hot streak all the way to a 40-37 lead at the halfway mark.

The second half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team leading by more than five points at any time. In keeping with this trend, the game came down to the wire. With just 38 seconds left, the Crimson — clinging to a 77-76 lead — had the ball, only to see the Bears force a turnover on the inbounds play. On the ensuing possession, Sharpe capitalized with a three-point play. Once Bruno took the 79-77 lead, it didn’t look back, making all four of its final free throws to seal the win. The victory broke a streak of eight consecutive losses in Cambridge for the Bears.

Bikofsky, whose four threes on the night pushed her past Lauren Clarke’s ’14 previous school record of 203, said she was thrilled to come away with the win. Yet she was quick to put aside her personal feat and recognize the stellar play of both Sharpe and Martin as keys to the Bears’ success.

“Martin stepped up big time this weekend,” Bikofsky said. “She was so effective in the post and showed a lot of heart.”

On Saturday, Bruno made sure that there would be no let down, defeating Dartmouth by a final score of 50-47. The Bears had their fair share of struggles shooting on the night, but a lockdown defensive effort proved to be enough. Leading the way were Sharpe, who scored 19 points for her third consecutive game, and Natalie Ball ’16, who posted a career-high 14 rebounds.

Sharpe largely credited her recent hot streak to a shift in the team’s mindset. “We’ve been focusing on making the extra pass, playing as a team and trying to make our teammates better,” she said. “And that has really allowed me to get some extra drives and shots.”

The second game had a much different style than the first, as Bruno failed to connect on a single three-pointer. But defensively, the Bears were at their best, as they scored 22 points off turnovers. As the game progressed, they built a 43-30 lead late in the second half, only to see the Big Green go on a 14-2 run and cut the lead to one. Free throws proved to be the decisive factor again and Bikofsky made three of four to hand Bruno its second win of the weekend.

The Bears now look ahead to a matchup with No. 18 Princeton (21-0, 5-0), which has dominated all comers this year.

Though it will certainly be a big test for the young and improving squad,  Bikofksy said the team is ready for the challenge. 

“We have to prepare for them like any other opponent, we can’t think about their record,” she said. “With both teams in the Ivy League, I think it can go either way any night. There are upsets all the time.”

The two wins will certainly give the squad some momentum heading into the toughest contest of their season, Sharpe said. “We have a lot of confidence right now, and it’s nice to have some more wins under our belt.”

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