The women's basketball team took two hits during the opening weekend of its 2011-12 campaign, falling to the University of New Hampshire in their season opener Friday and to the New Jersey Institute of Technology Sunday afternoon.
UNH 62, Brown 57
For the team's opening game, the Bears were ready to see what they could do after a tough week of practice, said guard Sheila Dixon '13.
"We went in very confident," she said. "We were very pumped about what we could do against New Hampshire, since we beat them last year."
But the Wildcats barely gave Bruno a chance Friday evening at the Pizzitola Center. Though the final score was close, the Bears never led in the entire 40 minutes of play. Four minutes into the first half, the Wildcats were up 7-0. Dixon put up 10 points in the first half, but the Wildcats' initial lead gave them the edge, and the Bears walked off the court at halftime trailing 26-22.
The second half began like the first half ended. The teams traded baskets, with UNH consistently a few points ahead. At the 13:53 mark, the Wildcats poured in 14 points in a four minute span to give them their biggest lead of the night, 48-30.
"We scouted them well," Dixon said. "But we didn't capitalize on our strengths and their weaknesses."
But the Bears were not ready to give up. An offensive charge, led by co-captain Hannah Passafuime '12, pulled the Bears back within three points with two minutes remaining in the game. Passafuime put up nine points in Bruno's six-minute run and earned 17 points for the game.
But Brown did not have enough to push past UNH. In the last 1:30 of the game, the Bears missed three crucial layups. Despite a three-pointer by Dixon with four seconds remaining, the Wildcats walked away with the win, 62-57.
"We were making some good defensive plays as a group," said Head Coach Jean Burr. "But we were playing a good team and we just needed a little bit more time on the clock."
Passafuime, Dixon and Wildcat Kelsey Hogan tied for leading scorer with 17 points each.
NJIT 70, Brown 66
The Bears started off strong against the Highlanders, holding a five-point lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the first half. The teams then began to match basket for basket until NJIT evened the score 12-12 at the 11:23 mark. Less than a minute later NJIT took their first lead, 13-12.
Passafuime and Dixon teamed up with six and eight points respectively, and the duo put Bruno ahead 27-20 with four minutes left in the half.
But the Highlanders did not concede. In the final two minutes of the half, they went on an offensive charge and entered halftime with a three-point lead, 34-31.
The Highlanders slowly extended their lead in the beginning of the second half and by the 12:32 mark, had increased their advantage to 13.
With a pair of three-pointers from rookie Nelly Weledji '15, the Bears launched a second attack late in the half. At the 2:36 mark, Brown went on a 12-2 run that tied the game with just 14 seconds remaining.
"I was really happy to see our bench come in and take charge," Burr said. "With our foul trouble, a few people came off the bench and made a contribution."
But with only one second of play remaining, Highlander Kimberly Dweck lobbed up a deep three-pointer, hoping for a miracle finish. She missed, but point guard Lauren Clarke '14 was whistled for a foul on the shot.
After Dweck netted the first free throw attempt, Burr came on to the court to protest the call, drawing a technical foul. The combination of infractions gave NJIT four free throw attempts. They put in three, walking away with the 70-66 win.
"We would have taken them into overtime," Dixon said. The referee's call "made the game."
The Bears will be back in action this Saturday evening, as they take on the University of Albany at the Pizzitola Center in search of their first win of the season.