The women’s basketball team (3-6) defeated the College of the Holy Cross (4-4) Sunday afternoon in Worcester, Mass. After scoring the first two points of the game, the Bears never let the Crusaders take the lead and held on for a 57-55 win.
Holy Cross came into the matchup with the edge in momentum, as the Crusaders had won their previous three games, while the Bears had not played in a week. Brown’s game against the University of New Hampshire (3-4), which was scheduled for last Wednesday night, was postponed “out of caution for COVID-19 related concerns,” according to a statement by Brown Athletics.
Forward Mya Murray ’24 opened the game’s scoring with a layup off her offensive rebound, and the Crusaders quickly responded. But Brown went on a 15-0 run with scoring contributions by forward Amanda Latkany ’25, guard Kyla Jones ’24, guard Isabella Mauricio ’25 and guard Charlotte Jewell ’24. Latkany, who was recently named Ivy League Rookie of the Week, finished the game with a team-leading 15 points and seven rebounds.
Head Coach Monique LeBlanc said Brown’s “great defensive effort” fueled the offensive spurt after the Bears forced six turnovers in the quarter. Holy Cross struggled to score against the Bears, and Brown converted off the misses and turnovers it forced on the defensive end. But the Crusaders finished the quarter on an 8-2 run, which included a three-pointer at the buzzer, to bring their deficit down to nine points.
“It was really great to see that we won this game on the defensive end of the floor,” LeBlanc said. “I think that is going to be how we win most of our games this year.”
Latkany answered a Holy Cross layup with a tough shot in the paint to put the Bears on the scoreboard for the first time in the second quarter. After a Jones steal and transition layup, the Crusaders scored six straight points to bring them within five of the Bears. Murray broke the Holy Cross scoring streak with a basket in the paint, but the Crusaders scored five more points to cap an 11-2 run that brought Holy Cross within two points of Brown.
The Bears struggled to score and started to turn the ball over as halftime approached, and an and-one layup by the Crusaders tied the game at 28. After Jones attacked the defense to score two, Jewell scored a putback layup to beat the buzzer and give Brown a four-point lead going into halftime. In addition to her 13 points in the game, Jewell led the Bears in rebounds and assists, with nine and four respectively.
“One of the big reasons we were able to give this effort throughout the game was just because we hadn’t played for a week,” Jewell said. “We experienced how something we love can be taken from us so quickly, so it put the game and the team into perspective and developed a greater appreciation for playing hard.”
Both teams struggled to score to open the second half, but Brown responded whenever Holy Cross found offensive success. After a Crusader layup, Latkany knocked down a mid-range jumper.
Though it had chances, Holy Cross could not convert opportunities to take the lead. A Jewell three-point shot gave the Bears a seven-point lead. When the Crusaders narrowed their deficit to three, Jewell answered with a mid-range shot. Holy Cross brought the deficit to three points again, but guard Maddie Mullin ’23 sank a three-point buzzer beater to end the third quarter. Brown held onto a 46-40 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Latkany and Jones gave the Bears an eight-point lead early in the final period, but a subsequent 8-0 run by the Crusaders tied the game at 50.
Forward Dani Short ’23 made her first basket with five minutes left in the game. Holy Cross tied the game, but Latkany made two free throws to retake a two-point lead. Both teams failed to convert good looks, and the score stayed at 54-52 for two minutes.
Mauricio stole the ball with 25 seconds left in the game, and the Crusaders were forced to foul Jewell, who went one out of two at the line to put Brown up three points. Holy Cross missed its initial three-point attempt, but the team grabbed the offensive rebound and hit a three with six seconds left to tie the game at 55. Latkany then drew a foul and sank both free throws to take a two-point lead with under three seconds remaining. The Crusaders could not make their attempt at a game-winner, and the Bears secured the victory.
“We were really motivated to get a win, especially against a good team like (Holy Cross),” Latkany said. “We just kept pushing ourselves to the best of our ability.”