Free Throws Down the Stretch Help NJIT to 70-66 Victory over Brown

Newark, NJ- The Brown women's basketball team's late run fell short as the NJIT Highlanders (1-0) defeated the Bears 70-66 at the Fleisher Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon. Junior guard Sheila Dixon (Schenectady, NY) led the team in scoring with 19 points and eight rebounds, while senior co-captain Hannah Passafuime (Soquel, CA) added 18 points and five rebounds as the Bears dropped to 0-2 on the year.

The Bears used a 12-0 run in the final 2:47 of play, which included seven points by Dixon and two clutch free throws by sophomore Lauren Clarke (Colts Neck, NJ) with 14 seconds remaining to even the score at 66-66. But with just one second on the clock, the Bears were whistled for a foul as NJIT's Kimberly Dweck was throwing up a deep trey in desperation.

Dweck gave the Highlanders a one-point lead after sinking her first free throw before a technical foul was handed out to the Bears' bench for protesting the suspect call. NJIT was awarded two more free throws, which Sarah Olsen sank giving NJIT a 68-66 lead. Dweck finished her free throws to earn the Highlanders their first win of the 2011-12 season, 70-66.

The Bears got off to a great start in the first half and had a five-point lead seven minutes into the game. NJIT chipped away at its deficit and evened the score 12-12 at the 11:23 mark after a layup by Melanie Griffin, but the Bears regained possession of the lead after a layup by Dixon with 6:48 left in the first gave Brown a 20-18 advantage.

The Bears went on a 7-2 run over the next two minutes to extend their lead to seven, 27-20, with 4:09 to go in the first, but just as quickly as the Bears gained the lead, NJIT took it back and headed into the locker room with a 34-31 advantage at the intermission.

The Highlanders used an 11-1 run in the first four minutes of the second half to increase their lead over the Bears to 45-32. But the Bears were able to cut their deficit to just three with the help of two treys by rookie Nelly Weledji and free throws by both Maggie Smith and Sophie Beutel. NJIT took a 10-point lead with 2:47 left in the game before the Bears made their final push that came down to the final seconds of the game.

In addition to Dixon's team-high 19 points, she added eight rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block, while Passafuime knocked in 18 points, and five rebounds. Also chipping in was Lauren Clarke with eight points, four rebounds and a steal, and both Weledji and Smith with six points apiece. The Bears shot 33 percent from the field and went 23 percent from beyond the arc. They out-rebounded their opponent 42-37, but committed 17 turnovers to NJIT's 16.

Leading the Highlanders this afternoon was Sarah Olsen with 25 points and eight rebounds, followed by Melanie Griffin with 14 points and eight rebounds. Also, Kimberly Dweck followed with 13 points and four rebounds.

NJIT went 38 percent from the field and just 17 percent from beyond the arc. However, the Highlanders went 24-29 from the charity stripe (82 percent).