Women’s basketball heads to New York in search of .500 Ivy record

White’s ’18 return from injury could tip scales in Bruno’s favor against Columbia, Cornell

Senior Staff Writer
Friday, February 20, 2015

Looking to reclaim the positive momentum it had several weeks ago, the women’s basketball team will face off against Columbia and Cornell on the road this weekend. The Bears (9-13, 3-5) have battled every Ivy League squad at least once this season, and this weekend’s games are the first in a series of conference rematches. The young squad has constantly refined its style of play throughout the season and has continued to improve with each game.

“The last couple weeks have shown how good our team really is,” said Ellise Sharpe ’16.  “We started the season with too many close games that we seemed to let slip away. We have learned how to play an entire 40 minutes and how to come away with a victory.”

But other teams have undoubtedly improved as well. Despite earlier outcomes, Bruno must remain vigilant, as any team is capable of emerging victorious on any given night.

Last weekend, the Bears faced the conference’s top two teams and — though it was not readily apparent in the final scores — Bruno managed to hold its own against the Ivy League elites. The weekend featured the best shooting and rebounding performances for the team in all of its conference contests.

In order to be successful, the Bears must continue to generate effective offense and not allow its opponents to dictate the pace of the game as they head to New York. Columbia (7-15, 1-7) and Cornell (14-8, 5-3) present different styles of play, as Cornell sits in the upper echelons of the Ivy League while Columbia rests at the very bottom of the conference. In preparation for both contests, Sharpe said the squad has worked on transition defense and communication.

“We’ve really worked hard all week,” said Rebecca Musgrove ’17. “We’ve gone through our scout of both teams and watched plenty of film. I believe we are prepared for both teams and look forward to the matchups.”

First up for Bruno is Columbia. Since the squads’ last meeting three weeks ago, the Lions have finally been able to make some noise in the conference, though they remain in last place. Last weekend, Columbia came up short in an overtime matchup against Dartmouth but managed to claim its first Ivy win against Harvard. The Lions will look to continue this upward trend as they take on the Bears.

Last season, Bruno demolished the Lions the first time the teams battled but the rematch did not turn out well. The Bears will hope history doesn’t repeat itself this weekend, having defeated Columbia earlier this year.

The Bears’ work on the defensive end will be very useful when they take on an offense-driven Cornell squad. The Big Red currently sits just behind Princeton and Penn in the conference and has the Ivy League’s leading scorer in its arsenal. The last time Bruno saw Cornell, four Big Red players each contributed at least 10 points toward their team’s victory. 

Bruno’s strengths lie in its offense and a full-court press that the squad has improved upon and successfully employed in its last few games. Also beneficial for the Bears is the potential return of Janie White ’18. The forward last saw action against Harvard Feb. 6, but she left the game after under a minute of play due to an injury. White led the Bears with nine rebounds in the earlier matchup against Cornell.

Bruno is currently tied with Harvard for fifth place in the Ancient Eight, and it hopes to sweep this weekend and continue to fight its way up the conference rankings.

“I know I speak for everyone when saying that we believe the preseason poll is wrong, and we plan to keep fighting our way back to .500,” Sharpe said. “The Ivy League needs to prepare for Brown because we are not eighth in the league.”

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