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Bears eclipse Penn in last-second women’s basketball thriller

Kyla Jones ’24 breaks 1000 career points, scores game-winner for Brown

<p>The Bears' last-minute win was secured by Kyla Jones '24, who achieved her thousandth career point earlier in the game.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Athletics </p>

The Bears' last-minute win was secured by Kyla Jones '24, who achieved her thousandth career point earlier in the game.

Courtesy of Brown Athletics

On Saturday evening, the women’s basketball team (14-9, 5-5 Ivy League) secured a 61-59 win over the Penn Quakers (12-11, 4-6). 

Coming into the contest, the Bears and the Quakers were both tied for fourth place in the Ivy League — a crucial position, as only the top four teams move forward to March’s Ivy Madness tournament. Brown’s victory knocked Penn down to fifth place and garnered the team sole possession of the final spot, with four games remaining in the regular season. 

“Every game is a really big game trying to make it to Ivy Madness,” Head Coach Monique LeBlanc said in an interview with The Herald. “I think this game was really important today so that we didn’t have a head-to-head tiebreaker with Penn over us. But now we’re both going to keep clawing to get into that tournament.” 

Saturday also marked a historic achievement for Ivy League Player of the Week, Kyla Jones ’24. Entering the contest with 999 career points, it took her less than two minutes to cross the 1,000-point threshold, a feat met by only 22 other women in program history. Jones didn’t let her individual accomplishment slow her down, going on to drop a team-high 22 points.


“I was thinking (about hitting 1,000) a lot going into this game,” Jones said in an interview with The Herald. “I was only one point away. But after I got that first basket … I just went with the flow of the game.”

For the Bears, finding their flow meant scoring early. “One of our downfalls when we lost to Penn (two weeks ago was that) we didn’t get out to a good start in the first quarter,” Olivia Young ’27 — who totaled 13 points, along with three rebounds and three steals in this Saturday’s game — told The Herald.

When the Bears found themselves trailing by six points halfway through the first quarter, it was Young who staged the comeback. After stealing the ball, she drove down the length of the court, sidestepping a defender beneath the rim to score her first points of the day. Less than a minute later, she followed up from distance, hitting an open three. Now in gear, the Bears rallied, and after a defensive stand, Isabella Mauricio ’25 connected to claim a 12-11 Bruno lead. 

But despite the 7-0 run, the Bears were unable to maintain their advantage, entering the second quarter down 21-18. By halftime, they trailed 28-24. 

“In the second quarter we played zone predominantly, and I thought we did a great job of slowing Penn down,” LeBlanc said after the game. The Bears held the Quakers to 2-18 from the field in the second quarter. But “at the same time, we were having a hard time scoring too.” 

“We’re doing a great job defensively, we’ve slowed them down offensively,” LeBlanc told the team during halftime. “Let’s stay patient. We don’t have to take bad shots … Let’s be committed to getting a good look and continuing to cut and pass.” 

LeBlanc’s message hit home, with the team coming out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. Less than a minute into the quarter, back-to-back scores by Mauricio and Jones tied the game at 28-28. The rest of the quarter was a close affair, with both teams trading shots, but in the waning minutes, a clutch steal by Young led to a Jones layup that claimed a 43-42 lead for the Bears. 

Still, Penn’s offense was relentless and with two and a half minutes left in the fourth, the Quakers held a 57-51 advantage. In a high-pressure bout, the Bears swiftly responded:  Two quick buckets by Grace Arnolie ’26 and Jones made it a one-possession game. With a minute left, Ada Anamekwe ’26 tied the game and forced a Penn timeout. 

Coming out of the timeout, the Bears were able to rebound a missed Penn three point attempt, and the team capitalized, with Jones bodying a defender beneath the rim to claim a 59-57 lead. However, with only six seconds remaining in the game, Penn tied the score.

Brown took its final time-out before gearing up for a final push. With the game on the line, the Bears once more looked to Jones. As the last seconds on the clock ticked by, Jones stood outside the free throw line with the ball in hand. She then confronted her Penn defender at the key, faking inside before hitting a spin move and shooting. The 500-strong crowd rose to its feet as they watched the ball go in. With one second left in the game, Jones claimed the lead and secured the Bruno victory. 


“In moments like that, I (remind) myself that these are the types of shots that I can make,” Jones said after her game-winner. “I know that these are the moments that I excel in.” 

The Bears now look to solidify their playoff position against Harvard next Saturday in Cambridge, MA. The 2 p.m. matchup will be streamed on ESPN+. 

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Lydell Dyer

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.

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