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Mehta ’19 powers Bears to postseason Ivy League Tournament berth

Guard averages fourth-most conference points per game in her postseason debut Saturday

With the season on the line, the women’s basketball team entered the final week of Ivy League play knowing it had to win both of its remaining contests to keep its postseason hopes alive.

The Bears responded to the challenge and beat both Columbia and Cornell by double digits.

Bruno was powered by Shayna Mehta ’19. The sophomore guard tallied a double-double in the win against the Lions, and then dropped 28 points in the following day’s game against the Big Red. Her performances helped send the Bears to the Ivy League Tournament this weekend in Philadelphia.

Mehta averaged the fourth-most points per game in the Ivy League during the regular season, notching 15 points per contest. She also swiped the second-most steals and dished out the fifth-most assists in the conference this year.

For her efforts, Mehta has been selected as The Herald’s athlete of the week.

The Herald: How did it feel to score 28 points in the final game of the regular season?

Mehta: It was cool to be able to do it then. During the game, I wasn’t even thinking about it. The crowd was so loud —  it was their senior night — I didn’t even know how many points I had because they didn’t have a scoreboard (that displayed individual points) or anything. But it was awesome to be able to come out for my team and get the W.

What’s the team’s attitude going into the tournament?

We’re all super pumped. We know we can beat Penn — it’s hard for a team to beat another team three times in a row. We lost to Penn last time by three … so we’re all so excited. Yesterday during practice, (Athletic Director) Jack Hayes came to our locker room and congratulated us.

Did you always know that basketball was your main sport?

Not always … I used to love soccer but I grew up in a sort of basketball family where my dad was a really big basketball fan and a really big (Golden State) Warriors fan. Just growing up with all that  … I think I just veered toward basketball.

Do you model your game after any WNBA or NBA players?

Steph (Curry). That’s why I like to wear his number. He’s an undersized guard. He came into the league very small, and I think people around the league have also said I was small and undersized. But I can shoot, and I think Steph can, too. I think we have similar games — that’s why I like to wear number 30.

Do you do the Steph warm-up before a game?

I have done it. We don’t do them at practice, but over the summer I would try to do the Steph warm-up.

Do you have any siblings?

I have a younger sister (Nina Mehta). She plays basketball and she’s actually going to come here when I’m a senior for basketball.

Do you have a favorite basketball memory?

I think it would be last year when I went 7-7 from three. During the game, I didn’t realize I hadn’t missed a shot, but then after the game everyone was like, ‘Oh my god you didn’t miss a shot.’ And it was a special game because the day after I was getting surgery on my meniscus. It was the first game my dad came to, … so it was fun to do that in front of my dad.

What are the expectations going into the weekend?

I don’t think we have expectations because any of these Ivy games could go any way. We’re just hoping (to) — and we think we can — beat Penn, and then whoever else wins the other (game). I don’t think we could go in with any expectations. We have to go in trying our hardest and knowing that if we put in our all, we easily can win.

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