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Northern trip ends in narrow defeat for women's basketball

Three-point misses in final seconds doom Bruno to close loss, drop Bears’ record below .500

The women’s basketball team fell just short, 60-57, in a nail-biter on the road Saturday against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats to record its second consecutive loss of the season.

With baskets from Natalie Ball ’16 and Sophie Bikofsky ’15, the Bears (1-2) came out strong with a 5-0 lead. But the Wildcats (3-0) countered quickly with a 9-0 run of their own. The first half featured low team field-goal percentages from both teams — the Bears shot 7-of-32 from the field, a 21.9 percent rate, while the Wildcats shot 10-of-35, good for 28.6 percent. The game remained a tight race for the upper hand with the Wildcats taking a marginal lead, 26-23, into intermission.

“Normally, as a team we knock down more shots, and had we done that, the result may have been different. We know, as hard as we played, we can always play harder,” Bikofsky said. “You can always improve on your effort and intensity, and our goal is to do that in every game.”

The second half showcased another early run by Bruno as field goals from Rebecca Musgrove ’17 and Janie White ’18 brought the squad within two points of the Wildcats. For the rest of the half, each time the Bears drew close to the lead, New Hampshire would find a way to pull away. But with two minutes left, four consecutive points from Musgrove brought Bruno within two points of the lead again.

The ensuing Wildcat possession was prolonged by a pair of offensive rebounds. New Hampshire kept possession of the ball from 2:05 to 0:55 as a result of these rebounds, ultimately pressuring the Bears to foul. The Wildcats’ Elizabeth Belanger capitalized on one of two free throws, putting her team up 58-55. With 32 seconds left, Ellise Sharpe ’16 scored a layup to put the Bears within a point of the Wildcats at 58-57. The Bears then fouled yet again, but Belanger made both free throws this time around, placing the score at 60-57.

Coming out of the timeout, the Bears were looking to knot the score with a three-pointer. Jordin Alexander ’16 missed the shot, but White came down with the rebound. Bruno had a second shot at the equalizer, but Sharpe’s three-point attempt was also unsuccessful.

“In those situations, we are trying to get the best shot we can and we trust our coaches and our teammates to give us the best chance to win,” Bikofsky said. “Of course we are very upset that we didn’t get that win, but I know we will bounce back on Tuesday.”

Saturday’s loss marks the Bears’ second consecutive defeat of the early season.

“I am very proud of the team for all of their fight and heart, particularly in the end of each game,” Bikofsky said. “We need to work on bringing that same effort and intensity for the entire 40 minutes.”

Up next, the Bears return to College Hill to face the Bryant University Bulldogs at the Pizzitola Sports Center Tuesday at 7 p.m.

“We are really looking forward to having our first home game of the season on Tuesday and hope everyone will come out to support us,” Bikofsky said.



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