After having their five-game win streak snapped on Wednesday evening by College of the Holy Cross, the women’s basketball team (6-3) bounced back to take a 68-52 victory over the University of Hartford (0-8) on Saturday afternoon at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
The Bears held the lead for nearly the entire game, relinquishing it only for a brief moment in the middle of the first quarter when they were down 9-8. Momentum seemed to be swinging the Hawks’ way with a nine-point run in the second quarter, cutting the Bears’ lead to 28-24, but after calling a timeout the Bears responded with three straight layups to go back up by 10.
“Our team is really hungry to win,” said Head Coach Monique LeBlanc. “Those timeouts were just a reminder of, ‘hey, we have our own standards for how we want to play defense. Let’s really tighten up and let’s be better.’ ”
“What I like about the team is they typically respond when challenged,” LeBlanc continued.
The Bears played without Kyla Jones ’24, their top scorer this season, who was sidelined with a minor injury. The team on Saturday was led offensively by Isabella Mauricio ’25, who recorded 18 points, including five three-point shots.
“All my teammates (were) just pumping confidence into me in practice, saying I’m gonna hit shots and they finally fell,” Mauricio said.
The game also featured standout performances from center Gianna Aiello ’25 and forward Elizabeth Nelson ’26, each of whom finished with nine points, as well as forwards Mya Murray ’24 and Alyssa Moreland ’26, who each tallied nine rebounds. Moreland’s nine rebounds and eight total points each marked career highs.
“I was doing the things that I do really well – crashing for offensive rebounds, using my size and my strength … finding my shooters after I get an (offensive) board,” Moreland said. “I think the team did great today and we had a lot of energy.”
“A typical basketball rotation is going to be eight or nine players, but we have double that (who) are working hard and doing what they can to help the team get better,” LeBlanc said. “You know that players are ready for when their moments are called." She added that Moreland, Mauricio and Grace Kirk ’24 “really stepped up and played some great minutes and gave us great energy today.”
The Bears have now improved their record to 6-3 this season, matching their win total from the 2021-2022 season in which they went 6-20 overall and just 1-13 against Ivy League opponents. With three games remaining before Ivy play kicks off against Penn on Jan. 2, the Bears are poised to continue building momentum.
“I'm a real process-oriented person, and I think the results will typically take care of themselves,” LeBlanc said. “Our goal is to get better every day. The team is really hungry to get back in and continue having great practices.”
“We’re gonna build the wins,” Mauricio said. “Hopefully we can start another streak.”
The Bears will be back in action on the road against Providence College on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Clarification: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this story used an incorrect pronoun for Monique LeBlanc.