The women’s basketball team (1-3) secured its first win of the season in a down-to-the-wire game at Bryant University (0-3) Nov. 16. Brown played their first home game at the Pizzitola Sports Center, but fell to Central Connecticut State University (1-2) Nov. 18.
Brown 63, Bryant 60
The Bears wasted no time getting going on both sides of the ball against Bryant. Leading scorer Kyla Jones ’24 converted on three straight drives, two of which came off Bryant turnovers. Jones finished with 16 points and a game-leading four steals.
The Bears continued to take an inside approach, with the team’s first 16 points all coming in the paint. Brown’s stifling defense forced 11 first-quarter turnovers and scored 15 points off of them. A three-pointer by guard Grace Kirk ’24 put the Bears up nine and contributed to a lead of 19-12 to finish the first quarter.
The offense found continued success to start the second quarter with three straight mid-range jumpers, two by forward Amanda Latkany ’25 and one by guard Isabella Mauricio ’25. Mauricio finished the contest with 14 points and a team-high three assists.
“Nobody likes losing, so we just wanted to come together and stick to the game plan,” Mauricio said. “I think we had a lot of energy, and that was the difference maker in this game.”
But the Bulldogs matched Brown’s defensive intensity, and the Bears were unable to convert off turnovers. Bryant took advantage of their size to out-rebound the Bears 24-9 in the first half. The Bulldogs’ edge on the glass and two threes with under a minute left in the first half cut Brown’s lead to four.
The second half opened with two Latkany baskets, but the Bears struggled to get their scoring going. Bryant capitalized off Brown turnovers and were able to score at a higher rate, but a late three-pointer by forward Mya Murray ’24 brought Brown within two points. The Bears trailed 44-46 at the end of the third quarter.
The Bears and Bulldogs went back and forth to start the fourth quarter. Brown would not settle for shots, still driving and drawing free throws to create offense. With each Brown score, Bryant quickly responded.
With one minute and 36 seconds left in the game, Mauricio drilled a stepback three to take a one point lead. The teams traded baskets again, with two points by Jones in the paint following a Bryant layup. But the Bulldogs could not answer this time and were forced to foul guard Charlotte Jewell ’24 with 16 seconds left. Jewell sank both free throws, giving Brown a three point lead.
The Bulldogs attempted a three-pointer to tie the game with three seconds left, but Latkany came up big and blocked the shot. Bryant had one more chance to go to overtime with three seconds left but missed the shot at the buzzer. Finishing with eight points, three steals and a team-high seven rebounds, Latkany credited “extra adrenaline” and “a team effort” with her end-of-game block.
“We were really hungry for a win going into the game,” Latkany said. “We were really motivated to win, so I’m so glad we pulled it off.”
Brown 60, Central Connecticut State 67
Brown opened the game with intensity, with Jones making two free throws off an offensive rebound by Jewell. Murray followed, scoring after her own offensive rebound. The Bears could not hit from deep early in the game but found success driving. CCSU was able to score well while Brown struggled to find good looks. The Blue Devils took advantage of Brown turnovers and missed shots to find offense.
The Bears looked aggressive following a timeout with an immediate Jones drive leading to two made free throws. They matched the spirit on the defensive end, with a steal by Jones and a block by forward Emma Laszewski ’24. Jewell hit Brown’s first three-pointer of the game, but the team continued to have difficulty scoring. The Blue Devils capitalized off missed shots and took a 21-15 lead to end the first quarter.
The Bears showed hustle to start the second quarter with a steal on the first play. Two offensive rebounds on the same possession led to a mid-range jumper by Latkany. CCSU answered and forced two turnovers, but Mauricio came back and attacked the defense to convert an and-one layup. Murray scored two straight baskets in the paint, but the Blue Devils were able to respond by converting off three-point looks. Every time the Bears narrowed the deficit, the Blue Devil defense forced misses and widened their lead. Brown forced turnovers and found offense at the free throw line but were down 27-36 at the half.
Mauricio opened up the third quarter scoring with Brown’s second three-point field goal of the game, while Central Connecticut State scored inside early. The Bears’ deficit grew as they failed to convert off Blue Devil turnovers. CCSU led by 19 after two consecutive threes, forcing a Brown timeout.
The Bears’ offense remained stagnant out of the timeout, and the team’s struggle to grab rebounds gave CCSU too many chances. Kirk scored off a Euro step, but the Blue Devils responded again and were up 54-35 to end the third quarter.
Brown came out with more intensity to start the fourth quarter, with defensive contributions by forward Dani Short ’23 and guard Maddie Mullin ’23 off the bench. The Bears were shooting two for 17 from beyond the arc going into the quarter, but the team’s deep shooting came alive in the fourth, starting with a Kirk three. A three-pointer by Mullin brought the deficit down to 11, but the Blue Devils started to find more consistent offense inside the paint. Mauricio, who finished with a team-high 18 points and three steals, hit back-to-back three-pointers.
With Brown down nine points and only two minutes and 25 seconds left on the clock, CCSU slowed the game down. They took a 12 point lead, but a two-way sequence by Mauricio put pressure on the Blue Devils. Mauricio drove and scored two points off a layup, quickly forced a turnover and hit a three-point shot to make it a seven-point game with 36 seconds to go.
Though the Bears outscored the Blue Devils 25-13 in the final quarter, they were working against time and could not complete the comeback. The team let “offense dictate defense for a lot of the game,” head coach Monique LeBlanc said.
“The heart and soul of this program is going to be our defense, and that’s going to be how we establish how hard we’re playing,” LeBlanc said. “We just have to do a better job with that in the first half.”