In spite of pessimistic preseason polls, the women’s basketball team will look to finish in the top half of the Ivy League standings this weekend, as the squad faces Dartmouth and Harvard at home in the final games of the season.
The Bears (10-16, 4-8 Ivy) have dropped five of their six conference matchups since sweeping both teams a month ago, but Bruno will look to wrap up the season on a high note with a pair of gratifying wins at home. That sweep was the first time Bruno had bested both teams on the road since 1993.
“The team is really excited for this weekend,” said Jordin Alexander ’16. “It’s senior weekend and we all really want to send the seniors out with some wins. Both teams are very beatable teams, but they are both going to be a fight.”
Last weekend, Bruno battled against conference heavyweights No. 13 Princeton and Penn. Though the Bears dropped both contests and displayed an uncharacteristically stagnant offense against the Quakers, they managed to hold their own against the undefeated Tigers.
A key factor in Bruno’s ability to stay fairly close to its opponent was the squad’s greatly improved offense. Alexander led the Bears with 25 points — the eighth time this season the guard has finished a game with over 20. Sophie Bikofsky ’15 also contributed to the offensive effort with nine points and five assists. To top off her performance, the team captain scored her 1,000th career point.
Bruno must summon its offensive abilities for one more weekend in order to pull out wins against the Big Green (13-13, 4-8) and the Crimson (12-14, 5-7). The quick and well-balanced Bears perform at their best when they are able to dictate the pace of the game on both ends of the court.
“We need to keep playing together like we have been,” Alexander said. “We’ve been running the floor very well and pushing the ball, which should be effective against Harvard and Dartmouth.”
First up, Bruno will take on Dartmouth. The Bears are currently tied with the Big Green for sixth place in the Ivy League. The last time the teams saw each other, Bruno struggled offensively, going 0-7 from behind the arc and shooting just 30 percent from the field. Fortunately for the Bears, lockdown defense and Dartmouth’s poor response to pressure enabled the squad to eke out a close victory.
Bruno must bring the same intensity in the backcourt this Friday, as the Big Green boasts the conference’s leading scorer, Fanni Szabo. Szabo averages 17 points per game and the 6-foot-1 sharpshooter’s range makes it difficult for teams to shut her down.
Bruno will play its final game of the season Saturday against Harvard. The Crimson sits just above Dartmouth and Brown in fifth place and has been marred by inconsistency for the duration of the season. While the squad excels on the glass, Harvard gives up an average of 70 points per game: the most in the Ivy League. In order to claim a victory, the Bears will look to employ their fast-paced offense and capitalize on the Crimson’s generosity in the contest.
Before tip-off Saturday night, Bruno will honor the team’s three seniors — Bikofsky, Nelly Weledji ’15 and Christine Rush ’15, a former Herald staff writer.
“We all love our seniors so much and they have all contributed so much to this program, on and off the court,” Alexander said. “Watching them play their last games here is going to be hard.”