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Women’s basketball loses chance at Ivy Madness despite defeating Cornell

Arnolie erupts for 25 points in 75-66 victory

<p>The Bears needed to defeat Cornell — and hope for a Penn loss — to have any chance at making the upcoming Ivy Madness tournament.</p><p>Courtesy of Emma Marion via Brown Athletics</p><p><strong></strong></p><p></p>

The Bears needed to defeat Cornell — and hope for a Penn loss — to have any chance at making the upcoming Ivy Madness tournament.

Courtesy of Emma Marion via Brown Athletics

As their playoff hopes hung in the air, the women’s basketball team (15-11, 6-7 Ivy) entered the Pizzitola Sports Center for their Saturday afternoon matchup against Cornell (7-18, 1-12 Ivy). 

The Bears needed to defeat Cornell — and hope for a Penn loss — to have any chance at making the upcoming Ivy Madness tournament. 

With the postseason on the line, clutch performances by Grace Arnolie ’26 and Mya Murray ’24 helped Bruno secure a 75-66 victory over the Big Red. Yet even as the team won their contest, they lost out on the playoffs, as Penn (15-11, 7-6 Ivy) claimed the fourth and final spot in the tournament after upsetting Harvard (15-11, 8-5 Ivy) 69-67. 

“We can’t control what other teams do,” Arnolie said while Penn battled it out with Harvard. “But we can control how we play.” 


The Bears came out firing, converting the opening tipoff into an Isabella Mauricio ’25 bucket just five seconds into the game. But a quick nine-point burst by Cornell extinguished Brown’s blazing start, and the Big Red overwhelmed the Bears 11-5 halfway through the first quarter. A timely three by Arnolie helped contain the onslaught of red, and Bruno managed to escape the first down 17-13. 

As play resumed, the Bears blossomed, going on a 7-0 run to kick off the quarter. Brown attacked with clinical precision, spearing into the paint and drawing either fouls or points in the process. 

“Our team did a good job drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line,” Head Coach Monique LeBlanc wrote in a message to The Herald. That “reflects our goal to play strong.” 

On the defensive end, Alyssa Moreland ’26 put on her best bouncer impression, and Murray’s 6’2’’ frame grew into a wall the Big Red could not overcome. The dominant duo combined for 18 rebounds, two blocks and two steals over the course of the contest.

“I knew it was going to be a physical game,” Murray said. “That’s what the big emphasis was going in. It was about matching their physicality and then exceeding it” on both sides of the ball.

As the final two minutes of the half drew to a close, both teams were pitted in a tight contest, going shot for shot with each other. But following a key defensive stand, Arnolie found a hole in Cornell’s defense and took an open three to claim a 31-27 advantage. Seconds later, she doubled down, stealing the ball and scoring on the offensive glass to force a Cornell timeout. On the backdrop of her 16-point first-half performance, the Bears entered the locker room leading 36-31. 

During halftime, “my coaches let me know that they thought I could get downhill a lot more off the drive,” Arnolie said. “They thought I could attack (Cornell’s) defense off the dribble … And once I started doing that, it started opening up my three-point shot as well.” 

That’s exactly what Arnolie did, erupting the Bears’ offense at the next whistle. Kyla Jones ’24’s play in transition, Arnolie’s precision in the paint and Olivia Young ’27’s nothing-but-net three-point shooting catapulted the Bears’ advantage to 50-35 in the first four minutes of the half. 

What had started out as a quiet afternoon in the wake of a loss turned into a raging rink of excited cheers and explosive plays. Energy pulsed through the Pizz as Arnolie delivered a 25-point performance, tying her career-high. An impossible rebound by Moreland as she lay on her back capped off the electric quarter, and the crowd burst from their seats with the Bears ahead 58-44. 

Two minutes into the fourth, a Mauricio free throw secured Brown’s largest lead of the day, 64-46. But just when the game seemed almost over, Cornell went on a fourth-quarter surge. With only one minute left, the Big Red clawed their way back to a slim six-point deficit. 


“We knew that today was a really important game,” Murray said. “We had to come in ready to go.” 

While Cornell prayed for a late upset, Brown chewed the clock. With the ball in her hands, Young watched the seconds tick, hitting a demonstrative three-pointer as the shot clock expired to put the game away. With only thirty seconds left, Cornell couldn’t come back, and the Bears took a resounding 75-66 victory. 

But winning was not enough for the Bears to reach Ivy Madness, as Penn bested Harvard and punched their ticket to New York.

“All we can do is focus on the next game,” Arnolie said. “No matter what, we’re going to try and finish the season off strong.” 

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The Bears are set to take on Yale at home next Saturday at 3 p.m.

“Winning Saturday after the disappointment of getting bounced from Ivy Madness would be a testament to our team’s character and toughness,” LeBlanc said. “Our team continues to move on an upward trajectory and we intend to keep that going in the future.”

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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