NEW YORK, N.Y. – Freshman Shayna Mehta scored a game-high 22 points – all in the second half – and Jordin Alexander netted 20 points to propel Brown University women's basketball to a 73-63 win at Columbia University on Saturday night at Levien Gymnasium.
"I was really pleased with some of the improvements we made on defense tonight," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "We handled ball screens better, and they responded to some of the things that we tried to correct from last night."
The Bears (13-7, 1-5 Ivy) took the lead early in the third quarter with a 9-0 run and held the lead the rest of the way to earn their first Ivy League win of the season over the host Lions (12-9, 1-5 Ivy).
"I thought that our interior game was better tonight," Behn said. "We had scoring inside as well as the perimeter. We didn't have that third quarter lull, and that was everything. It was the opposite of last night – it was close at halftime then we came out and pulled ahead."
Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) hit 9-of-10 shots from the field and all three of her free throws in the second half to score half of Brown's 44 points in the second 20 minutes. She scored over 20 points in a game for the third time this season.
Alexander (Fishers, Ind.) eclipsed 20 points for the second time – and topped double-figures for the 18th time – this season on 9-of-16 shooting and added six rebounds.
Sophomore Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) totaled 11 points, a team-high eight rebounds, and four blocks, junior Rebecca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y.) notched 11 points, and freshman Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) posted eight points and seven rebounds.
Brown gained the victory behind a 42-20 advantage in points in the paint. The Bears converted 29-of-50 shots (58.0 percent) from inside the 3-point arc.
Defensive pressure helped the Bears rattle off nine unanswered points early in the third quarter as the team force three turnovers in the half's first 1:45. Mehta closed the run with a conventional 3-point play after baskets from Butler and Musgrove off turnovers.
Brown maintained its edge with Butler, Mehta, Alexander, and White all scoring, and Mehta connected on the visitors' only 3-pointer of the game to give the Bears a 53-45 lead with 1:50 to go in the third.
Leading 57-50 after a Mehta elbow jumper, Columbia pulled within 57-55 before Alexander answered with a jumper in the paint. A Mehta shot from the free throw line extended gave Brown a 64-57 edge with 5:20 to play, and her turnaround jumper on the block pushed Brown ahead 68-59 with 3:04 left. The Bears hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The two teams played within an eight-point window throughout the first half as neither side held a lead larger than four points. The first 20 minutes witnessed nine ties and five lead changes.
Alexander hit a pair of jump shots to put Brown on the board early, and White converted a breakaway layup after a block to tie it at 6-6 at the 4:37 mark of the first quarter. A layup from Butler on the secondary break helped the Bears remain within 12-8 after the first.
The Bears opened the second quarter with six straight points inside of the period's first two minutes on two buckets from Musgrove and a post-move from Butler.
Brown tied the score at 16, 18, and 20 before White sank a turnaround jumper and Alexander hit a mid-range shot to put Brown up 24-20 with 3:48 to play in the half. Alexander tied it at 28-28 on a driving lay-in prior to the Lions bringing a 31-29 edge into the locker room.
For Columbia, Camille Zimmerman logged a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Tori Oliver and Devon Roeper scored 11 and 10 points respectively.
Next, Brown hosts Harvard on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. (ILDN/ESPN3) and Dartmouth on Saturday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m. (ILDN).
Tickets for all Brown women's basketball games can be purchased online, by calling the Brown Athletics Ticket Office at (401) 863-2773, or by walking up to the box office located in the Pizzitola Sports Center, open Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.