March 1, 2013

Brillant Team Effort Lifts Brown Over Cornell, 58-51

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's basketball team ( 9-16, 3-8 Ivy League) carried its momentum from last weekend into tonight's game at the Pizzitola Sports Center, taking the lead from the early moments of play and never looking back to earn a 58-51 win over a solid squad from Cornell (11-13, 3-7 Ivy League).

Tri-captain Sheila Dixon (Schenectady, NY), who just reached the 1,000 point mark in last Saturday's win over Dartmouth, led Brown in scoring, tallying 14 points, 12 of which came in the second 20 minutes of play. The senior was 6-of-12 shooting from the field and 100 percent from long range, while also contributing an impressive seven rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Sophie Bikofsky (Newton, MA) had 13 points on the evening, marking her fourth consecutive game in double digits, and junior Lauren Clarke (Colts Neck, NJ) had 11 of her own, in addition to four assists. Senior tri-captain Caroline King (Valencia, PA) had a team-high eight rebounds.

In spite of the loss, Cornell players earned game-highs across the board, a true testament to the team effort that went into Brown's win. Stephanie Long was the game's leading scorer with 18 points, Allyson DiMangno was best on the boards with 14 rebounds and Spencer Lane contributed six assists.

The teams traded baskets to start the first half, with King nailing a lay-up to earn the first two points for the Bears. With the score tied 6-6 and 15:35 left on the clock, the home team went on an unanswered nine point run, holding the visitors scoreless for over nine minutes.

Two sunk free throws brought the Big Red back into the game, and they proceeded to go on a seven-point run of their own to come within two of the Bears with 2:25 left to play in the first. A three-pointer by Clarke and a lay-up by freshman Ellise Sharpe (Tipp City, OH) preserved Brown's lead however, sending them into the locker room with a 24-17 advantage over Cornell.

Brown shot 45 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of action while playing a defensively strong game, keeping Cornell to just 25.9 percent and 20 percent from beyond the three-point arc.

The Big Red narrowed the Bears lead at the start of the second, but Brown stayed in control and Dixon caught fire in the half, maintaining the team's edge. Two lay-ups by junior Sophie Beutel (Toronto, Ontario) and a jumper by Dixon stopped the Cornell surge, helping Brown to build a nine-point advantage with 11:37 left to play.

Coming to within two, the Big Red made things interesting down the stretch, but four points from Dixon and a nailed jump shot by Sharpe reasserted the Bears' authority in their own gym. Down by nine with just 1:17 left to play, Cornell made one final push, powered by two consecutive long-range baskets by Long, narrowing the gap to three with less than 60 seconds on the clock.

Foul trouble hindered the Big Red comeback however, as they sent both Clarke and Bikofsky to the line in the final seconds where each sunk two free throws, sealing a 58-51 victory for the Bears.

Brown shot an impressive 47.8 percent over the course of 40 minutes, nailing 13-of-26 in the second half alone. The Bears were also 57.1 percent from the free throw line. Defensively, the squad held the Big Red to just 34.5 percent shooting in the game.

The team will return to the Pizzitola Sports Center tomorrow evening to take on the Columbia Lions at 6:00pm. The contest is Brown's final one at home for the 2012-2013 season, and the Bears will take time before tip-off to honor the three members of the Class of 2013.