Women’s Basketball Returns Home to Host Cornell, Columbia

Women’s Basketball Returns Home to Host Cornell, Columbia

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University women's basketball returns home to the Pizzitola Sports Center to host Cornell University on Friday at 6:00 p.m. (ILDN/ESPN3) and Columbia University on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. (ILDN) in its first full home Ivy League weekend of the season.

Vs. Cornell: Live Video (ESPN3) | Live Video (ILDN) | Live Stats | Tickets
Vs. Columbia: Live Video (ILDN) | Live Stats | Tickets
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Game Notes: Brown vs. Cornell, Columbia 

Video of all home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on ILDN.TV/BROWN. Fans can subscribe and view games by purchasing yearly, monthly, weekly or daily packages. 

The inaugural Ivy League men's and women's basketball tournaments will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 11-12, 2017, at The Palestra in Philadelphia. The top four teams will earn berths in the tournament, with the semifinals on Saturday and the championships on Sunday. All six games will be broadcast live on ESPN's networks. For more information, visit IvyMadness.com

Brown (11-6, 2-2 Ivy) will battle with Cornell (11-6, 2-2 Ivy) and Columbia (11-6, 1-3 ivy) for positioning in the Ivy League standings with the Bears and Big Red sitting in a tie for third and the Lions following closely in sixth. The weekend will feature the Ivy League's top five scorers with Brown freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) ranking second with 18.5 points per game and sophomore guards Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) tying for fourth with 14.2 points per game. Columbia's Camille Zimmerman leads the Ancient Eight with 21.6 points per game while Cornell's Nia Marshall ranks third in the league with 15.4 points per game. 

As a team, the Bears lead the Ivy League in points per game (73.1) while ranking second in the league in field goal percentage (41.8) and free throws made (238). Brown ranks second in the league and 29th in the NCAA in 3-point field goal percentage (36.5 percent). The Bears carry three of the Ivy League's top five scorers in the backcourt triumvirate of freshman Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) and sophomores Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.), averaging 18.5, 14.2, and 14.2 points per game on the year respectively. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) has scored in double figures in all eight games since Dec. 22 after missing the better part of seven games due to injury. Over the last eight games, she has scored 20.5 points per game and ranks second in the Ivy League with 18.5 points per game. She stands third in the conference in field goal percentage (52.1), second in field goals made per game (6.7), and fifth in free throws made per game (3.5). In games in which she has played more than one minute, she is posting 20.3 points per game. In her first two Ivy League games, she posted 28.5 points per game while shooting 59.5 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from 3-point range, and 75.0 percent from the line. 

Sophomore guards Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) and Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) stand among the top five scorers in the Ivy League, having scored 14.2 points per game apiece to tie for fourth in the league. Will ranks first in the conference with 4.4 free throws made per game while Mehta and Will rank tied for sixth with 1.8 steals per game. Mehta stands fifth in the conference with 5.1 field goals made per game while playing 32.6 and 31.9 minutes per game apiece. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) scored 19.5 points per game over her first two collegiate contests before sustaining an injury in the first minute of the Bryant game. She made her return from injury against St. Peter's, totaling 14 points and seven rebounds. After pouring in 30 points against Rhode Island College, she netted a career-high 33 points at Princeton before scoring 24 points at Penn and 17 points vs. Yale at home. Gaziano posted her first collegiate double-double behind 19 points and a season-high 12 rebounds against Morgan State after dropping in 16 points at VCU. She netted a game-high 22 points in a win over Sacred Heart. In the second half against SHU, she totaled 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from 3-point distance. She scored 17 points in her collegiate debut in a win over Howard. 

Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) has scored in double figures in 14 of 17 games this season, has averaged 14.2 points per game and connected on 38.7 percent of her 3-point shots. In the Bears' Ivy home opener vs. Yale, she posted 20 points and seven rebounds for her third game this year with 20 or more points. She netted 17 points in Brown's Ivy opener at Princeton and scored a season-high 29 points in a win at Binghamton, netting 21 points in the second half. Her 19-point, 11-rebound double-double helped lead Brown to a win over St. Peter's. Mehta totaled another double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds against URI and followed that with 13 points vs. Providence in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game. Mehta posted 21 points at Bryant, notching 16 points in the second half. She opened the 2016-17 season with 18 points in a win over Howard. In Brown's trip south, she scored in double figures at VCU (15) and at Morgan State (13). As a freshman, Mehta won Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors unanimously, ranked second on Brown with 13.6 points per game, and stood second in the Ivy League in 3-point field goal percentage (41.1 percent). 

Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) has averaged 14.2 points per game and has eclipsed 20 points three times this year. In Brown's Ivy opening weekend, she scored 11 and 10 points respectively at Princeton and Penn. In the team's Ivy home opener vs. Yale, she totaled eight points, seven rebounds, and five assists. She poured in 22 points in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. Providence and netted 15 points in the semifinals vs. URI. Will scored 18 points against Binghamton and held Imani Watkins, America East's leading scorer, to five points in the second half. She tallied a career-high 25 points at Bryant and scored a team-high 20 points in a win over Howard in the season opener. Will eclipsed double-figures for the first time in her career against the Bison, sinking 12-of-15 free throws. She scored 18 points at VCU, 17 points vs. St. Peter's, 15 points vs. Colgate, and 14 points vs. Sacred Heart. She has substantially increased her productivity from last season after averaging 1.7 points per game as a rookie. 

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) earned Ivy League Rookie of the Week and USBWA National Freshman of the Week honors after averaging 29.0 points per game and leading Brown to a 98-88 win over Princeton on Jan. 13. She scored a career-high 33 points on 13-of-22 shooting at Princeton and followed that with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field against Penn. Earlier in the week, she poured in 30 points against Rhode Island College on 11-of-17 shooting. Her 33 points against Princeton tied for the eighth most in a single game in program history and tied for the third most against an Ivy opponent in school history. 

Brown earned its first win on the road at Princeton since March 1, 2003 when the Bears topped the Tigers, 98-88, on Friday, Jan. 13. The Bears scored their most points ever against an Ivy League opponent in the victory. Brown scored over 80 points for the sixth time on the season, distributed a season-high 26 assists, and committed a season-low seven turnovers. The effort earned recognition as the Hero Sports "Offensive Performance of the Week" for Division I women's basketball. 

Sophomore forwards Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) and Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) have anchored the Bears' frontcourt. Steeves has averaged close to a double-double with 11.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She has tallied five double-doubles on the year and ranks eighth in the NCAA in defensive rebounds per game (7.8). Butler has added 4.5 points and 4.7 boards per game and logged her first collegiate double-double with 14 points and 11 boards in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. PC. 

Sophomore forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) has posted five double-doubles this season – with four coming in a span of six games from Nov. 20 to Dec. 8 – and ranks eighth in the NCAA and first in the Ivy League with 7.8 defensive rebounds per game. She has averaged 11.9 points and 9.2 rebounds per game on the year. In Brown's Ivy home opener, she notched her first double-double in Ivy play with 10 points and 12 boards vs. Yale. Steeves nearly posted a double-double at Yale, finishing with 15 points and nine boards. She scored in double figures in both games over Brown's Ivy opening weekend with 11 and 10 points at Princeton and Penn respectively. Steeves powered the Bears against URI, scoring a career-best 22 points with 10 rebounds. She totaled a double-double with a career-high 18 rebounds and 18 points in a win at Binghamton. She posted additional double-doubles against Vermont (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Colgate (16 points and 11 rebounds). She scored 15 points at VCU, registered 11 points and nine boards at SHU, and tallied 10 points and eight boards at Bryant. She opened the year with a game-high 11 rebounds alongside nine points vs. Howard. As a freshman, Steeves won three Ivy Rookie of the Week awards, led Brown with 6.1 rebounds per game, and scored 8.0 points per game. 

Brown sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) garnered Ivy League Co-Player of the Week honors for the second time this year on Jan. 23 after leading Brown to a 76-73 win over Yale on Jan. 20. Mehta recorded 20 points and seven rebounds in the Bears' Ivy home opener. She shot 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from 3-point distance, and 4-of-4 on free throws. She added three assists in the Bears' first win over the Bulldogs since Jan. 19, 2013. 

Brown is set to have three Ivy League games broadcast on the radio in Southern New England on WPRV-AM 790 as part of doubleheaders with the Bears' men's basketball program. WPRV-AM 790 will broadcast Brown's games at Yale on Friday, Jan. 27 at 5:30 p.m., at home against Penn on Friday, Feb. 17 at 5:30 p.m., and at home against Princeton on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 3:30 p.m. Fans can listen to the game over the air in Southern New England on WPRV-AM 790, online at 790business.com, or via the TuneIn App nationwide. Scott Cordischi and Russ Tyler '71 will handle the commentary. 

Brown head coach Sarah Behn will appear on the Brown Bears Men's Basketball Coaches Show three times this season as part of the show's "Women's Basketball Report featuring Head Coach Sarah Behn." Coach Behn will make three cameos on the show on Jan. 18, Feb. 15, and Mar. 8. The show airs each Wednesday from 6:00-7:00 p.m. until Mar. 8 live from the Hilton Garden Inn at 220 India Street in Providence, R.I. Fans can engage in the show in a variety of ways including over the air on WPRV-AM 790, online at 790business.com, via the TuneIn App, on Facebook Live on the Brown Athletics Facebook page, or on the Ivy League Digital Network

Brown won the inaugural Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament, defeating Rhode Island, 76-65, in the semifinals on Dec. 3 and topping previously undefeated Providence College, 77-70, in the championship game. Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) earned Tournament MVP honors after leading all scorers with 18.5 points per game, and sophomore forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) gained All-Tournament Team accolades. 

Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) won Ivy League Co-Player of the Week accolades on Dec. 26 after recording her second double-double of the season on 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Brown to an 80-71 win over Saint Peter's. She shot 7-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line while adding three assists and one steal. 

Sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) won Ivy League Co-Player of the Week on Dec. 5 to go with Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament MVP accolades after leading all scorers at the tournament with 18.5 points per game. She scored a game-high 22 points in the 77-70 title game win over Providence, hitting 3-of-4 shots from 3-point distance. She posted 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists in a 76-65 semifinal win over Rhode Island. 

Sophomore forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) earned Ocean State Tip-Off All-Tournament Team honors after recording her first career double-double with career highs in points (14) and rebounds (11) in the title game vs. Providence. Butler grabbed a team-high seven boards in the Ivy opener at Princeton. She added nine points and six boards in the Ocean State semifinals vs. URI. Butler corralled a career-high 11 rebounds in a win at Sacred Heart, chipping in seven points and four assists. She logged eight points and eight boards vs. Colgate. She has averaged 4.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this season. Butler played in all 28 games in 2015-16, making 10 starts with seven coming in Ivy play. She posted 3.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a freshman. 

Junior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) will serve as Brown's captain in 2016-17, bringing the Bears veteran leadership as the team's only member of the junior or senior class to play the entire season. Reilly has played in 71 career games with 26 starts. She ranks fourth in the Ivies in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.3) and has started eight of the Bears' last 12 games. She passed out a career-high eight assists at Princeton. She grabbed a career-high eight rebounds with five points and five assists vs. URI and came back with seven points and three assists vs. Providence. Reilly netted a season-high eight points vs. Manhattan and tallied five points and five rebounds in the season opener vs. Howard. She came up with a team-high four steals with five points and three assists in a win at Binghamton. 

Freshman guard Abby O'Keefe (St. Louis, Mo.) and freshman forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) have provided the Bears with a spark with both rookies making their first collegiate starts against Manhattan. O'Keefe has averaged 6.4 points and 2.2 rebounds per game and tied her career high with 12 points at Princeton. She scored a season-high 12 points in the Ocean State Tip-Off title game vs. Providence and netted 11 points vs. Yale. She logged nine points against St. Peter's, Vermont, and Howard, eight points vs. RIC, Manhattan and Binghamton, and seven points and five assists at SHU. Ryan has posted 4.9 points and 1.8 rebounds per game while connecting on 40.8 percent of her 3-point shots, ranking fifth in the Ancient Eight. She scored a season-high 13 points at Morgan State and netted 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point distance at Vermont. 

Brown and Cornell have met 74 times on the hardwood with the Bears holding a 49-25 edge in the all-time series and a 27-11 record in home games. The two teams split last year's two meetings with the Bears winning 91-69 in the regular season finale on Mar. 5 and with the Big Red taking an 85-70 decision in Ithaca, N.Y., on Feb. 5. 

In 60 all-time meetings, Brown holds a 41-19 lead in the all-time series with Columbia including a 22-8 mark in home games. The Bears swept last year's season series taking a 73-63 victory on the road on Feb. 6 and gaining a 91-64 win at home on Mar. 4. 

Cornell enters the weekend with an 11-6 overall record and a 2-2 mark in Ivy League play. The Big Red have defeated Columbia twice while falling to Harvard and Dartmouth. Nia Marshall leads the team and ranks third in the Ivy League with 15.4 points per game and also paces the squad with 6.4 rebounds per game. The Big Red regularly feature five seniors in their starting lineup. 

Columbia brings an 11-6 overall mark and a 1-3 Ivy League record into the weekend. The Lions dropped a pair of decisions to Cornell to open Ivy play before falling to Harvard and then defeating Dartmouth in quadruple overtime. Junior Camille Zimmerman leads the Ivy League in both points per game (21.6) and rebounds per game (10.1) while playing a league-high 37.2 minutes per game. 

Brown will have at least six of its Ivy League Digital Network broadcasts simulcast on ESPN3 over the course of the season. The Bears will appear on the "Worldwide Leader in Sports" four times at home – vs. Yale (Jan. 20), Cornell (Feb. 3), Penn (Feb. 17), and Dartmouth (Feb. 24) – and twice on the road – at Harvard (Feb. 10) and Columbia (Mar. 3). Additionally, the semifinals of the Ivy League Tournament, set for 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Mar. 11, will appear on ESPN3 with the championship game, set for 4 p.m. on Mar. 12, scheduled for ESPNU. 

Brown will compete for the opportunity to play in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament at The Palestra in Philadelphia, Pa. from Saturday, March 11 to Sunday, March 12. The top four teams in the regular season standings will earn berths in the tournament with the tournament's champion gaining the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Championship. Saturday's semifinals will take place at 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3 with Sunday's championship game set for 4 p.m. and ESPNU. 

After hosting Columbia on Friday, Brown plays at Harvard on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:00 p.m. (ILDN/ESPN3) and at Dartmouth on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 6:00 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.