PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Senior Jordin Alexander and freshman Shayna Mehta each scored 20 points to pace a furious second-half rally, but Brown University women's basketball fell to Harvard University, 87-79, on Friday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center in its "Think Pink" game.
"That first quarter just put us in a hole," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "Our girls fought hard and gave a good second half. We rebounded a little bit better as the game went on and played with less fear so I was proud about that."
In their first home game since Jan. 22, the Bears (13-8, 1-6 Ivy) trailed the visiting Crimson (9-11, 4-3 Ivy) by as many as 23 points in the third quarter before pulling within six points with 1:29 to go in the eventual setback.
"It's still a work in progress, but they gave a good effort for most of the game," Behn said. "We just got in that hole."
Alexander (Fishers, Ind.) and Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) each broke the 20-point barrier for the second straight game and for the third and fourth times on the season respectively.
The reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week, Mehta netted 18 points in the second half and hit 5-of-8 shots from 3-point distance – her third game this season with five or more 3-pointers made.
Scoring in double figures for the seventh time in seven league games and for the 19th time overall on the year, Alexander converted 7-of-14 shots from the field and 6-of-6 free throws while dishing out a game-high six assists.
Freshman Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) registered 10 points and five rebounds, and sophomore Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) scored 10 points. Junior Rebecca Musgrove (Plainview, N.Y.) compiled eight points, five assists, and three steals while freshman Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) added eight points.
As part of their "Think Pink" game, the Bears donned pink jerseys to help raise awareness for breast cancer research.
Trailing 58-36 midway through the third quarter, the Bears began to make their move, notching an 11-0 run in a two-minute span to pull within 58-47 with 3:01 to go in the frame. Musgrove and Alexander keyed the spurt with a pair of steals each, and Steeves netted five points during the streak. Harvard answered with nine straight points to grab a 67-47 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Brown then rattled off 12 unanswered points to trim their margin to 67-59 – its smallest deficit since the first three minutes of the game – with 6:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. Mehta knocked down two 3-pointers during the run, and Alexander had a pair of baskets.
The Bears cut their deficit to eight points on seven occasions in the fourth quarter and finally came within six points, 83-77, as Mehta hit her fifth triple of the game with 1:29 to go. The Crimson made four three throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.
Harvard opened the contest with a 15-0 lead over the first six minutes before the Bears scored six straight points with Alexander hitting a pair of jump shots in between a Musgrove jumper. Steeves hit a 3-pointer to make it 19-9, and the Crimson led 24-9 after the first quarter. In the frame, Harvard held advantages in rebounds (17-5), offensive rebounds (7-1), and second-chance points (12-0).
Mehta connected on a jumper to start the second quarter before Harvard built a 34-13 edge despite another Alexander hoop. The Crimson took a 37-15 advantage – its largest lead of the half – at the 5:12 mark. White then knocked down a 3-pointer to start a 6-0 run for the Bears. Inside of the last 2:20, sophomore Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) converted a trey and Alexander made a basket before the buzzer to pull the hosts within 44-26 at the break.
At the half, Harvard led in rebounds (29-8), offensive rebounds (12-1), points in the paint (16-4), and second-chance points (14-0).
For Harvard, Kit Metoyer scored a game-high 23 points with eight rebounds, and AnnMarie Healy netted 22 points. The duo combined to shoot 18-of-26 from the field while Madeline Raster added 17 points. For the game, Harvard claimed a 45-23 rebounding advantage.
Next, Brown hosts Dartmouth tomorrow at 6 p.m.
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.