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Women’s basketball loses third straight game in high-scoring affair at Columbia

<p>The Bears both scored and surrendered more points against Columbia than in any of their previous Ivy matchups.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics</p>

The Bears both scored and surrendered more points against Columbia than in any of their previous Ivy matchups.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

The women’s basketball team (8-10, 1-5 Ivy League) fell to Columbia (16-3, 5-1) in New York on Saturday afternoon by a final score of 94-74. The Bears have now lost three straight games after earning their first win in Ivy play against Dartmouth earlier this month.

The Bears both scored and surrendered more points against the conference-leading Lions than in any of their previous Ivy matchups this year. Bruno’s offense was led by guard Kyla Jones ’24, the team’s top scorer who currently sits third in the conference in points per game. Jones filled up the stat sheet with 22 points, five assists and seven rebounds.

“Getting to the rim is something that has been working for me all season long and it continued to work for me on Saturday night,” Jones wrote in an email to The Herald through Brown Athletics. “As I started knocking down shots it caused the defense to collapse, making my teammates more open for easy kick outs and dump off passes.”

“Kyla has been excellent all season,” Monique LeBlanc, head coach of the women’s basketball team, wrote in an email to The Herald through Brown Athletics. “She's a great finisher and has an attack mindset, and that really helps set the tone for our team.”

Jones is one of a few key Bears starters who have missed time amidst the team’s current losing streak — she was sidelined in previous matchups against Yale on Jan. 16 and Princeton on Jan. 14. Bruno was also without regulars Charlotte Jewell ’24 and Mackenzie Leahy ’26 for the second straight game on Saturday.

“With some of our rotational players injured there has been opportunity for others to step in and play more minutes,” LeBlanc wrote. “They've been ready for their number to be called, and they've done a very good job.”

Isabella Mauricio ’25, the team’s top three-point shooter, also had an impressive, though atypical, offensive showing. She racked up 15 points but went just 1-for-6 from behind the arc, missing her first five attempts.

“Columbia was really good at denying the easy pass on the perimeter and my shot wasn’t falling,” Mauricio wrote in an email to The Herald through Brown Athletics. “So I tried to back door a lot more and was able to get some success that way.”

Jones and Mauricio helped the Bears shoot 46% from the field, their highest field goal percentage in Ivy play to date.

But Columbia’s offense — ranked first in the Ivy League in points per game, field goal percentage and three-point percentage — proved too powerful for Bruno. With the game tied at nine apiece after two and a half minutes of play, the Lions went on a 19-8 run to take a commanding lead which the Bears were unable to overcome.

Five different Lions posted double-digit scoring efforts, including Abbey Hsu — the Ivy League’s top scorer and second in three-pointers in the NCAA — who had 26 points, three assists and six rebounds, with seven buckets coming from behind the three-point line. Hsu, who totaled 20 points in Columbia’s previous game against Cornell, was named player of the week by the Ivy League on Monday and by the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association on Tuesday.

“We definitely needed to do a better job at preventing (Hsu) from getting such open looks to keep that score lower and have a shot at winning,” Mauricio wrote.

The Bears were also outrebounded 49-26 by the Lions, who scored 26 points on second-chance attempts.

“What sticks out the most to me is the fact that we gave up 21 offensive rebounds,” Jones wrote. “When you play a team as talented as Columbia, we just can’t afford to give them so many extra possessions on offense.”

“We'll need to do a better job limiting their three-point attempts and second-chance opportunities next time we play them,” LeBlanc wrote.

The Bears will look to snap out of their three-game slump in front of a home crowd against Cornell on Saturday afternoon. The matchup will mark the conclusion of the first half of Ivy play for Bruno.

“We are really focused on playing great basketball against Cornell on Saturday to get back in the win column,” LeBlanc wrote. “Our team is at our best when our defense is fueling our offense. We know that we have to be really strong on that end of the floor, including being a great rebounding team, on Saturday.”

Cornell is “a win we must have, and know we can get,” Mauricio wrote. “Hopefully once we get a win, we can carry that momentum into the second half of Ivy play.”

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