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Bruno edged by cross-town rival

Despite four of five starters netting double-digit points, Bears come up short against Friars

The women’s basketball team suffered its first defeat of the season Tuesday 78-69 to cross-city foe Providence College.

The Friars (1-2) started the game strong, jumping to a 10-2 lead less than three minutes into the game. But the Bears (1-0) overcame the early deficit, responding with a 13-4 run and finishing it off with a shot beyond the arc from Sophie Bikofsky ’15.

Bikofsky’s three-pointer gave the Bears their first lead of the contest, but it did not last long. The rest of the half showcased a constant battle for the lead, as both teams refused to be overtaken. But a last-second jump shot from Megan Reilly ’18 Bruno a 33-31 advantage heading into the second half. Jordin Alexander ’16 and Rebecca Musgrove ’17 topped the game’s box score at intermission with 10 and nine points, respectively.

The second half featured another quick start, but this time the Bears got the best of the Friars with a 9-2 run. With help from Bikofsky and Alexander, the squad captured its largest lead at 42-35 with 17:58 left in the half. A pair of jumpers from Reilly held the lead, keeping the Bears up by seven with a little less than 14 minutes to go. But the Bears were limited to just three points over the next six minutes of play, while the Friars tallied 13 points of their own. Providence College’s Sarah Beal tacked on six points and nearly widened the margin to 10 single-handedly with just two minutes left in the game.

“I think we came out real strong in the beginning of the second half, but towards the end of the second half we had trouble getting some shots off,” said Natalie Ball ’16. “PC changed up their defense from (man-to-man) to zone toward the middle of the second half, and it rattled us a little bit.”

The Bears quickly demonstrated that they were not going down without a fight, as Bikofsky responded with a pair of treys that closed the lead to six at 1:02. But this final push was to no avail — the Friars’ Beal scored seven points for her team to keep Bruno out of reach. The game concluded in a 78-69 loss for the Bears.

“We became more complacent with regards to defense in the last 10 minutes, so PC scored 36 points just in those 10 minutes,” Ball said. “We played tough defense for 30 minutes of the game, but didn’t play tough, aggressive defense in the last 10 minutes.”

Alexander led the Bears in scoring with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, while reigning NCAA three-point percentage leader Bikofsky tacked on 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc. The Friars’ Beal poured in a game-high 24 points, including a strong 12-of-14 shooting from the free throw line.

“I think the biggest thing our team needs to improve on is defense,” Ball said. “We have to be able to put pressure on both the outside and the inside, and we need to play tough defense for 40 minutes. I think our defense has improved since preseason, but as we saw with PC, if we don’t play aggressive defense the whole game, we will let games slip away.”

The Bears will travel north Saturday to take on the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (2-0) before the first home game of the season Tuesday against the Bryant University Bulldogs (2-0) .



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