The women's basketball team came out of this weekend's homestand with its second victory of the season, its first such win in the Ivy League. The Bears, 2-20 overall and 1-7 in the league, showed a balanced scoring effort in their win Friday over the University of Pennsylvania (4-18, 1-6 Ivy), 72-59, before being out-muscled Saturday by Princeton (5-18, 2-5 Ivy), 70-56.
Brown started off the game hot on Friday night against Penn and never looked back. The team attacked the basket and mixed in some outside shooting while taking a 29-8 lead with 4:26 left in the first half. Shae Fitzpatrick '10 led the way for the Bears in the first half with 11 points and five boards. The team headed into the locker room with a lot of momentum for the second half of play and a 36-21 advantage.
"We made the extra passes and moved the ball around," said Sadiea Williams '11. "It felt good to win our first conference game."
The Quakers played a much better second half, putting more defensive pressure on Brown. Penn pulled to within eight with 14 minutes left in the game, but that did not stop the Bears. Brown kept the lead from shrinking further with the help of buckets by Fitzpatrick, Williams, and Ashley Alexander '10. With six minutes remaining, the Bears had a 52-44 advantage.
Both teams began a fouling frenzy in the second half, accounting for a majority of the 51 fouls called. Brown made its last field goal with 4:13 left and stayed on the charity stripe for the rest of the game. Bruno attempted a season-high 42 free throws, going 59.5 percent for the game. The Bears were also helped by a season-low seven turnovers, which was a sharp turnaround from their previous effort. In the Bears' last game, against Harvard, they had 25 turnovers, leading to 28 Crimson points.
Fitzpatrick was the high scorer for the Bears on the night with 15 points, all but four coming in the first half. Williams remained scoreless in the first half but finished the game with 10 points and seven rebounds. Alexander led the way in the post with nine points and five boards.
The team put together its best offensive game of the season, scoring 72 points, which exceeded its previous best of 65 points, achieved in its lone win over Howard. The Bears outscored the Quakers' bench, 28-19, with Christina Johnson '10 contributing eight points. This was one of the first times all season the team put out a balanced scoring effort, with nearly four players reaching double figures.
"The offense worked. Everybody took their turn and got involved," said Assistant Coach Katie Toole. "There was a scoring threat on the floor at all times tonight. The bench stepped up for us."
The team had a lot of momentum going into the next matchup on Saturday night after winning its first conference game, but thanks to two stellar performances from Meagan Cowher and Whitney Downs, Princeton knocked the Bears back down from their winning high.
The Tigers gained a quick lead, 24-11, in the first seven minutes of play, led by Cowher's nine points during that span. Princeton shot a strong 53.6 percent from the field in the first half. Johnson scored six consecutive points in a stretch late in the first half to cut the Bears' deficit to 35-19. Brown went into halftime with the score at 37-23.
Princeton returned from the locker room and extended its lead to 47-31 with 15 minutes left to play. Johnson livened up the game when she hit a three-pointer from the left wing, then stole the ball and took a pull-up jumper that fell short, but provided a nice lob to Natalie Bonds '10, who finished the play. The Tigers called a time out to stop the bleeding and prevent the Bears from coming any closer than nine points.
"I just wanted to bring a lot of energy - intensity on offense and defense (coming off the bench)," said Johnson. She led the way for the Bears with 11 points.
Princeton came out of the time-out in control for the remainder of the game, finishing it off at 70-56. Cowher, the leading scorer in the Ivy League at 17.2 points per game, finished with 24 points and nine boards. Her teammate Downs scored 19 points, a one-two punch the Bears could not stop, to pick up the win. Princeton finished 48.1 percent from the floor while Brown was close behind at 44.4 percent. Bruno's shooting percentage was much better than the 37.9 percent it racked up the night before, but not enough to outlast the Tigers.
Williams was second on the team in scoring with 10 points and five rebounds, while captain Ann O'Neal '08 finished with seven points, three assists and four rebounds.
The Bears have seen each league opponent once, so the team is ready to begin the second half of conference play.
"We're doing a lot better. We have some confidence after the first win," said Head Coach Jean Marie Burr. "We're taking it one game at a time."
The Bears continue league play next weekend when they face Columbia and Cornell at the Pizzitola Center on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m., respectively.