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Women's basketball learns from mistakes after winter break losses

The team’s 1-5 winter break concluded with the squad’s first Ivy League game, a loss to Yale

It was a winter break of bad breaks for the women’s basketball team. The Bears lost two overtime games as well as a nail biter at the New Jersey Institute of Technology on their way to a 1-5 record for the recess.

But Bruno guard Sophie Bikofsky ’15 said there are still positive takeaways from the team’s play over break.

“Anything before Ivy play is a learning experience, and we were close in a lot of games,” she said. “Experience in tight games is important, and over break we learned from all of them.”

The six-game stretch opened with two games at the Georgia Tech Christmas Invitational in Atlanta Dec. 29-30 in which the Bears (6-9, Ivy 0-1) fell 71-50 to Hampton University (14-4) and 82-81 to Alabama State University in overtime. Bruno led much of the way against Alabama State (9-7) but coughed up the lead late in the second half. Trailing by two points with three seconds left in regulation time, Bikofsky misfired on a go-ahead three-pointer, but Lauren Clarke ’14 secured a buzzer-beating putback to send the game to overtime. The Bears tried two desperate shots at the end of overtime to no avail, finally ceding the one-point loss.

Bruno returned home to open the new year against the University of New Hampshire Jan. 3 and the University of Vermont Jan. 6. The Wildcats (10-7) handed the Bears their second consecutive overtime loss despite a career-high 26 points from Clarke. The 77-74 decision saw the Bears score the last seven points of regulation to force overtime. But UNH’s Kristen Anderson scored nine of her game-high 30 points in overtime to propel her team to victory.

Bruno finally put one game in the win column against Vermont 61-51 thanks to a 40-point first half led by 10 points from Jordin Alexander ’16 and nine from Bikofsky. The Bears also played stifling defense, holding Vermont (5-13) to a dismal 22 percent shooting from the field.

After a 48-43 heart-breaker at NJIT, Bruno opened its Ivy League season Friday against Yale (7-8, Ivy 1-0) at the Pizzitola Center. The Bulldog bench contributed 32 points in the 70-53 Yale win. A jumpshot by Natalie Ball ’16 brought the Bears within four points with eight minutes to play, but the Elis outscored the Bears 24-11 down the stretch to hand Bruno its first Ivy loss.

Bruno hopes to right the ship quickly, as all of its remaining 13 games come against conference foes. The Bears have a chance at redemption Friday when they travel to Yale.

Bruno is not expected to make a lot of noise in the Ancient Eight, but Bikofsky said the squad feels good about its chances to win a number of games.

“A lot of teams will see us as an underdog,” she said. “We know we can score. If our defense is able to get stops, the rest will come to us.”


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