Providence, RI- The Brown women's basketball team will look to vie for the Ivy title on the strength of second team All-Ivy selection Sheila Dixon '13 and All-Rookie team member Lauren Clarke '14, along with co-captains Aileen Daniels '12 and Hannah Passafuime '12, who will provide leadership to Brown's 2011-12 squad.
Head Coach Jean Marie Burr, who enters her 24th season at the helm of the program, and is the winningest coach in Brown basketball history (men's and women's). She will welcome back all five starters from last season, with no players lost to graduation.
The four newcomers, Sophie Bikofky (Newton, MA), Katie Mahoney (Colchester, CT), Maddy Page (Irvine, CA) and Nelly Weledji (Overland Park, KS), will join the 11 letterwinners to help the Bears continue its upward trend in competing for the program's seventh Ivy League crown.
Sophomore point guard Lauren Clarke '14 (Colts Neck, NJ) will lead the backcourt again this season after a successful rookie campaign where she earned a spot on the Ivy League's All-Rookie team. Clarke started and played in 26 games for the Bears last season and averaged 9.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. She lit up for a career-high 24 points against Rhode Island on Dec. 8 going 6-of-8 from beyond the arc to rank second all-time in Brown's record books in three pointers made in a game.
Dixon, the team's Most Valuable Player and leading scorer and rebounder last season with 11 points and 6.3 rebounds per game will be a major offensive threat for the Bears. She earned four double-doubles last season and led the squad in scoring and rebounding nine times. Her team-high 15 points and seven rebounds led the Bears to a 56-50 victory over the visiting Florida Gators.
An Academic All-Ivy selection, Passafuime is a two-time team captain, who started in all 28 games. She ranked second on the team in scoring at 9.4 points and third in rebounding with 4.8 per game.
Lindsay Nickel '13 (Los Altos, CA) is a very versatile guard/forward for the Bears. She shot 34 percent from beyond the arc and made 1.68 treys per game to rank fourth in the Ivy League. She scored in double figures 14 times, including a career-high 20 points against Iona on Nov. 27. Earned All-Tournament Team honors at both the Brown Bear Basketball Classic and at the Iona Thanksgiving Tournament.
Adding depth to the backcourt will be Bikofsky, Mahoney, Jacqueline Schoninger '14 (New York, NY), and Weledji.
Burr will look to two-time team captain Aileen Daniels '12 (Waldwick, NJ) to power the Bears' frontcourt again this season. One of the Bears most consistent performers on the floor, the 5-foot-10 forward started in all 28 games and received the team's Defensive Spark Award. She shot 41 percent from the field and scored in double figures 10 times, with a career-high 20 points against NJIT.
Making an immediate impact during her rookie season, Sophie Beutel '14 (Toronto, ON) will be expected to pick up where she left off in the 2010-11 season. Named the team's Most Improved Player, Beutel pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds against the University of Albany and competed in all 28 games for the Bears. Beutel shot a team-high 52 percent form the field and grabbed 90 boards on the year.
Both Caroline King '13 (Valencia, PA) and Jordin Juker '14 (Boise, ID) saw action in over 22 games for the Bears last season and will look to contribute more this season. Adding depth to the lineup will be Maggie Smith '14 (Lilburn, GA), Carly Wellington '14 (Lake Oswego, OR) and Page.
The Bears open up this Friday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center in a doubleheader with the men's team. The men will open their season at 5 p.m. against Johnson & Wales, while the women will host New Hampshire at 7:30 p.m. Live stats, video and radio broadcasts will be provided for all home games. To view Brown's 2011-12 complete schedule, click here.