Providence, RI- Powered by Lauren Clarke's 15 points, four assists and three steals, the Brown women's basketball team earned a 57-49 home-opening victory over Bryant University on Tuesday evening at the Pizzitola Sports Center. The Bears improved to 2-2 on the year, while the Bulldogs dropped to 0-4.
The Bears came out ready to play tonight as the squad made its debut at the Pizzitola Center after being on the road for three straight games. Brown used a 42 percent field goal percentage in the first half to gain an immediate lead over the Bulldogs, a lead in which it never relinquished.
Brown gained a 10-4 advantage after the first five minutes of the game, but a jumper by Danielle Douglas and a layup by Meredith Soper cut Bryant's deficit to just two at the 13:05 mark. The Bears shot back up to a six-point lead after three pointers by Clarke and junior captain Hannah Passafuime just two minutes later, but the scrappy Bulldogs continued to fight and came within one, 20-19, after a jumper by Lindsey Hudspeth at the 7:54 mark.
The Bears went on a 10-0 run in the next three minutes from the help of sophomores Lindsay Nickel, Caroline King and Sheila Dixon gaining an 11-point lead with just 4:16 remaining in the first half. Both teams went basket-for-basket the next few minutes, as the Bears cruised into halftime with a 32-25 advantage.
Nickel and Dixon led the attack with eight points apiece, while both Clarke and Passafuime netted seven each.
After the half, Bryant came out to score the first four points after jumpers by Caitlyn Bassett and Mary Kate Tierney to come within six. However, Passafuime hit a three pointer and Dixon put in a layup to push its lead back up to 11 just two minutes into the second stanza.
Bryant picked up its intensity as the Bears struggled offensively in the next few minutes. The Bulldogs held Brown scoreless for the next six minutes as Bryant was able to cut its deficit to four with 4:45 remaining in the game, but Nickel broke the Bears' silence with a three pointer, and Dixon followed with a jump shot to give Brown a six-point lead.
Clarke then scored the next eight points as the Bears buckled down on defense to gain a 57-45 lead with 40 seconds remaining. Siamone Bennett hit a jumper with 17 seconds left and Katie Whittington put in a jumper with nine seconds left on the clock, but the Bears came away with the win, 57-49.
The Bears had four players score in double-figures tonight, with Clarke leading the way with 15 points on 4-of-11 shooting from the floor and a 5-for-7 effort from the charity stripe. Dixon threw in 12 points, brought down six rebounds and handed out three assists, and Nickel added 11 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The Bears shot 33 percent from the field for the game, and went 9-for-12 from the free throw line.
Bryant was led by Siamone Bennett's 13 points and nine rebounds, followed by Meredith Soper's double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Bryant out-rebounded the Bears 52-45, but shot just 28 percent from the field.
The Bears are back in action at the Iona Thanksgiving Classic this weekend. On Saturday, Nov. 27, the Bears will take on Iona at 3:30 p.m., followed by a 1:00 p.m. game against UMBC on Sunday.