November 27, 2009

Blackbirds Soar to 68-55 Victory over Brown in LIU Turkey Classic

Long Island’s Chelsi Johnson and Heidi Mothershead combined for 32 points to lead the Blackbirds (3-2) to a 68-55 defeat over the Brown women’s basketball team (2-3) in the first game of the LIU Turkey Classic. Brown seniors Natalie Bonds and Christina Johnson both tallied 10 points as junior Sarah Delk brought down a game-high eight rebounds.

The Blackbirds got off to a great start and jumped out to a 9-0 lead after the first three minutes of the half. Head Coach Jean Burr then made a big change by subbing in five new players, and that group stepped up to not only slow the Blackbirds on offense but they also scored 12 points to bring Bruno within three, 15-12, at the 13:10 mark.

The Bears and Blackbirds traded baskets for the next few minutes, but LIU extended its lead back up to five midway through the half. A jumper from the top of the key from Hannah Passafuime and a jumper in the paint by Delk cut the deficit to one shortly thereafter, but Long Island began to pull away and extended the score to 34-27 at the half.

Brown was able to out-rebound the Blackbirds 23-21 and both teams tallied eight turnovers while going 2-of-4 from the free throw line. LIU’s Heidi Mothershead led the scoring in the first half with 12 points, as Ashley Palmer added 10. Brown’s Aileen Daniels and Delk both chipped in five points to lead the Bears’ offense.

The Bears scored the first four points of the second half to make the score 34-31, but the Blackbirds got hot and took a 10-point lead three minutes in. Brown’s next eight points were all free throws, but Long Island was still able to maintain a 10-point lead with 10:52 remaining in the game. Chelsi Johnson scored the next nine points for the Blackbirds to tally the team’s 26th point in the paint, and that led them to their biggest lead of the afternoon, 58-42.

Long Island continued to pick apart the Bears’ defense, taking a 61-44 lead with five minutes remaining. Brown began to start a comeback in the final four minutes of play when it made an 8-2 run to bring the deficit back down to 13 points. Natalie Bonds scored six and Christina Johnson added two during the rally, but it was just too little too late as the Bears eventually fell 68-55.

Johnson and Bonds led the scoring for Brown with 10 points apiece, followed by Hannah Passafuime with eight.   Delk brought down a game-high eight rebounds, and Bonds followed with seven. Three Blackbirds tallied double-digit scoring, as Chelsi Johnson had 17, Heidi Mothershead put in 15 and Ashley Palmer added 10 to lead the LIU attack.  Brown ended the game 10-of-12 from the free throw line, and LIU went 15-of-23 there while finishing with a 43-40 advantage in rebounds.

The Bears will now play in the consolation game of the LIU Turkey Classic Saturday at 2:00 p.m., and will take on the loser of the Georgia Tech/Seton Hall game.