On Sunday, the women’s basketball team (4-3) faced the Monmouth Hawks (2-4) in West Long Branch, N.J. In a game that tied a career mark for Kyla Jones ’24, the Bears overcame a 17-point deficit to clinch a 59-58 victory.
“Our mindset remains unwavering,” forward Ada Anamekwe ’26, who recorded a season-high 12 points, wrote in a message to The Herald via Brown Athletics. “We display an enormous (amount) of heart when embracing the underdog role. That is the difference between other teams and Brown women’s basketball. We are a team that is infused with heart, grit and toughness.”
Brown’s late offensive stand was spearheaded by a 34-point performance from Kyla Jones ’24, tying her career-high point total in a game. “I think staying aggressive is what helped me be so effective,” Jones wrote in a message to The Herald. Jones’s performance earned her Ivy League player of the week honors.
From the onset of the game, Jones played with intensity, rebounding the ball and driving down the court to score the first points of the day for Brown less than three minutes into the game. In a quarter that featured only layups, the Bears announced how they would conduct their offense — with 50 of 59 points scored in the paint. After a combined four layups from Alyssa Moreland ’26 and Jones, the Bears entered the second quarter down 11-8.
Though the Bears’ offense began to find its rhythm in the second quarter, Monmouth’s did the same. In its best scoring quarter of the day, the Hawks recorded 25 points, pulling away from Brown 36-22 by the half.
“This team has great self-belief,” Head Coach Monique LeBlanc wrote to The Herald. “They accept challenges and always believe they can figure things out.” Coming out of halftime, “the message was that we needed to find a solution and find a way” to win.
It got worse before it got better for the Bears. An early three by the Hawks set Brown behind 17 points — the largest margin of difference in the entire game.
“Whenever we get in large deficits, we come together as a team and have an honest conversation about what we think is going wrong on the court,” Jones wrote. In addition to addressing mistakes, the Bears “play like the score is 0-0.” According to Jones, it helps them “focus on just playing good basketball rather than feeling like (they) need to hurry and make a comeback quickly.”
Over the course of the third quarter, the team did just that. In the face of what could have been a blowout, Anamekwe shone, going on a personal six-point run. With seven rebounds total and four steals, Anamekwe also used the opponent’s mistakes to her advantage, capitalizing on costly turnovers.
“The success of our offense hinges on executing the small but vital tasks that contribute to our overall achievement,” wrote Anamekwe. “Our offensive prowess is driven by our efficiency on the defensive end. … Above all, securing rebounds is paramount.”
Ending the quarter with a flourish, a turnaround jumper by Jones helped the Bears pull within five points. Brown outscored Monmouth 19-13 in the third.
Hitting their stride in the fourth, the Bears’ offense dominated. Less than a minute into the quarter, Jones traversed the court to score a layup, beginning an eight-point run as Brown pulled to within two points: 51-49. Though the Hawks scored, the Bears remained focused, going on another eight-point run. This time, all eight points were scored by Jones, enabling the Bears to claim a 57-53 lead.
With two minutes left, Monmouth rallied, scoring twice to reclaim a 58-57 edge. Now in the final stretches of the game, Jones once more took matters into her own hands. 45 seconds before the end of regulation, she made a second-chance layup to put the Bears up by one — a precious lead they defended until the clock ran out.
“We are a team that can get it done by any means,” Anamekwe wrote after the last-minute victory. “Whatever it requires of us, we will give it our all.”
The Bears will stay on the road, and are set to face Bryant University in Smithfield on Wednesday before returning home to play Johnson & Wales University on Sunday.
Lydell Dyer is a Senior Staff Writer for the sports section. A sophomore hailing from Bonn, Germany, Lydell is studying nonfiction English and political science, and if he's not off "making words sound pretty," you can find him lifting heavy circles at the Nelson.