The women’s basketball team went on the road this weekend to take on Harvard and Dartmouth. Bruno (14-7, 4-4 Ivy) fell to Harvard (18-3, 6-2) in Cambridge 69-59 and bested Dartmouth (6-15, 1-7) in Hanover 65-62.
With a snow storm shutting down much of the Northeast, the games were pushed back to Saturday and Sunday, rather than their initially scheduled Friday and Saturday times.
The Bears were able to have an additional productive practice on Friday because of the delay, said Shayna Mehta ’19. “We just had another day to prepare and go over Harvard’s sets and players and personnel,” she added.
The first game was one with serious implications in the fight for the Ivy League title, as Brown and Harvard entered the matchup locked in a three-way tie with Princeton for second place in the conference standings going into the contest.
The beginning of the game was competitive and the two teams were knotted at 16 after the first quarter. Bruno showed its ability to share the ball, as six Bears scored in the initial stanza.
Superior rebounding by the Crimson and a slow Brown offense hurt the Bears in the second quarter, and Harvard built a lead. But back-to-back threes from Janie White ’18 and Justine Gaziano ’20 cut the lead to 36-33 before the halftime break.
The third quarter saw Bruno take the lead, but Harvard responded with six unanswered points in the final 1:46 of the frame. Bruno entered the final ten minutes of play down 53-48.
Brown found late success in fouling Harvard’s Jeannie Boehm, a first-year forward who is shooting 19.2 percent from the line this year. “She’s a very good player inside, so whenever she got in we knew we had to just foul her,” Mehta said.
The strategy worked to an extent, but the Bears shot poorly from the field all night and were unable to take advantage of Harvard’s missed free throws. Bruno’s offensive woes were especially apparent in the final frame — in which Brown posted only 11 points and shot 0-7 from three. Bruno shot 33.3 percent on the night and 16.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Unable to overcome the deficit, the Bears lost 69-59, posting their second lowest point total of the season.
“We didn’t move the ball well enough, and we only had seven assists last night as a team,” captain Megan Reilly ’18 wrote in an email to The Herald. “In games when we’ve had 15 or more assists, we have gone 7-0. So we definitely get better looks on offense when we are sharing the ball, getting good looks and knocking down shots.”
Gaziano led all Bears with 16 points in the contest, Taylor Will ’19 added 13 points of her own and Mehta recorded a double-double with 12 points and ten rebounds.
While Dartmouth was last place in the Ivy League standings coming into Sunday’s game, the stakes were just as high as the night before, Mehta said.
Dartmouth was sluggish come game time, and Brown sped out to a 17-8 lead after one quarter.
In the second quarter, the roles reversed, and the Big Green poured in 21 points while holding Brown to only 10. Dartmouth held a narrow 29-27 advantage at half in a low scoring contest.
Brown tallied 19 points in each of the final two quarters and held Dartmouth to 17 and 16 in the third and fourth, respectively, eventually edging out the hosts 65-62.
Bruno shot better from the field than it did Saturday at 40.3 percent but continued to come up short from beyond the arc, connecting on only 17.6 percent of their attempts. Brown only served up five assists as a team in the victory.
Erika Steeves ’19 scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the win. Gaziano and Mehta added 16 points each.
Brown now holds fourth place in the Ivy League — the final spot that would allow them entrance to the Ivy League Tournament at the end of the season.
Next weekend, the team squares off at home against the top two teams in the league: Penn (14-6, 7-0) and Princeton (11-9, 5-2), respectively. Both the Quakers and the Tigers are on five game winning streaks.