The women’s basketball team swept the competition in its final weekend, beating Columbia and Cornell at home by a combined 49 points. A day after defeating Columbia (12-17, 1-13 Ivy) 91-64 on Friday night, the Bears (15-13, 3-11) rode the crowd’s energy on Senior Night to overwhelm Cornell 91-69. This was the first time in program history that the team scored over 90 points in back-to-back games.
Beating Cornell proved particularly rewarding: The win helped Bruno avoid finishing last in the Ivy League. But more than that, the victories gave the team a positive result to take into next season after a challenging year that saw on-court struggles and three players quit as Head Coach Sarah Behn integrated her first recruiting class. Two of Behn’s first recruits, forward Erika Steeves ’19 and guard Shayna Mehta ’19, led the team in scoring over the weekend contests, offering hope for the 2016-17 season.
The team came into the weekend with a clear goal: win both games and move up the Ivy League standings.
“We did not want to get last in the Ivy League,” said Ellise Sharpe ’16. “The year did not go exactly as we had planned, and we could have won more games during league play.”
The team exploded out of the gate against Columbia, grabbing a 42-24 halftime lead thanks in large part to a 14-0 run to end the second quarter.
The win was particularly special for guard Jordin Alexander ’16, who scored her 1,000th career point as part of a campaign that included 12 points and five assists.
“To get 1,000 points in college in three — almost two and a half — seasons is pretty remarkable,” Behn told Brown Athletics. “Jordin is a great player. I’m really proud of her, and I feel fortunate to have coached her.”
Alexander had plenty of help from her teammates: Forward Rebecca Musgrove ’17 and Mehta each poured in 18 points, while Steeves added 14 points, six rebounds and four steals.
After falling victim to Harvard’s lethal three point shooting the weekend before, Brown enjoyed similar success beyond the arc against Columbia, knocking down a season-high 13 threes. Steeves, Mehta and Musgrove combined to shoot a deadly 11-for-18 from three-point range, while Bruno shot 54 percent from the field overall.
The team rode its hot shooting into its Senior Night against Cornell, shooting 50 percent from the field and 65 percent from three, en route to a comfortable 91-69 victory. In a pre-game ceremony, Bruno honored Alexander, Sharpe and Natalie Ball ’16 for four years of service to the program.
Going into the game Brown knew it needed a win or a Columbia loss to avoid a last-place finish.
“Senior night was a blast,” Sharpe said. “We were all very excited for our final game and (for) going out with a win.”
The rookies once again stepped up for Bruno: Mehta scored 24 points while Steeves recorded a double-double on a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. Both players were on fire from downtown, making a combined nine-for-12 shots from deep.
Brown jumped out to an early lead for the second straight night, finishing the first quarter on a 13-3 run driven by seven quick points from Mehta. Cornell failed to mount any significant comeback, falling to a 54-30 deficit after halftime.
A raucous crowd helped energize the team and maintain its intensity throughout the entire game.
“We had a bunch of family and friends in attendance, and it was a fun crowd for our last game,” Sharpe said. “The band was also there, and they killed it, so that was also pretty fun.”
In her final game as a Bear, Alexander continued to climb the program rankings, tying for 17th all-time in career scoring with 1,018 points. She also added seven assists, bumping her season averages to 14.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
Despite the departure of their seniors, a strong finish to the year and the continued contributions of young stars like Steeves and Mehta set the Bears up to take another step in the 2016-17 season.