PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior guard Shayna Mehta scored a game-high 28 points, and junior guard Taylor Will posted her first career double-double to lead Brown University women's basketball to a come-from-behind 82-78 win over Holy Cross on Wednesday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
The Bears (5-1) trailed 39-32 at halftime, but outscored the Crusaders (3-3) in the third quarter, 29-16, to gain a 61-55 lead before breaking a 77-77 tie inside of the final minute with a second-chance basket from junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) and three free throws down the stretch.
"We did a little bit better job at the end getting out on the shooters, but they had a huge game from the three-point line," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "I'm so proud of the kids – when a team shoots that way and you can still squeak out the victory, I'm pleased."
Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) netted her 28 points on 11-of-21 field goals and 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point distance along with a career-high seven steals and three assists. She scored over 20 points for the second time in the last four games and for the 15th time in her career.
"We haven't been in this position yet this year," Mehta said. "It was pretty tough, but we knew we had to give it everything we got. They were shooting well so we knew we needed to buckle down on defense and let the game come to us, keep on shooting, and be confident."
Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) notched her first collegiate double-double on 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds with three assists. Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) tallied 16 points and five rebounds, hitting 3-of-5 shots from 3-point distance and 5-of-6 free throws.
Senior forward Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) totaled 12 points, six rebounds, and four blocks, Butler finished with six points on 3-of-3 shooting and a season-high seven rebounds, and junior forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) dished out a team-high five assists.
The Crusaders made a school-record 14 treys, connecting on 51.9 percent of their shots from behind the arc, but the Bears countered with 58.6 percent shooting from the field in the second half. For the game, Brown hit 11-of-15 free throws (73.3 percent) while Holy Cross shot 10-of-17 (58.8 percent) from the charity stripe. The Bears converted 15 Crusader turnovers into 21 points, outscoring the visitors 21-10 in points off turnovers.
With the game tied at 77-77 with under a minute to play, Butler corralled an offensive rebound and finished a layup to put Brown back in the lead 79-77. A pair of free throws from Gaziano with 31 seconds to play and one more free throw from Will with six seconds left sealed the win.
Trailing 39-32 at the break, Brown worked its way back into the game, using a 13-0 run to pull ahead 51-46 with 4:47 to go in the third quarter. During the run, Mehta and White netted five and four points apiece. The Bears did not trail the rest of the way though the Crusaders knotted the score twice in the fourth frame. A 3-pointer at the buzzer from Mehta gave Brown a 61-55 lead heading to the fourth.
Brown took its largest lead at 67-57 with 8:11 to play after a 3-pointer from Steeves, but the Crusaders responded with a 12-2 streak to draw level at 69-69 with 5:26 remaining. Baskets from Butler and Mehta kept the Bears in the lead before Holy Cross tied it again at 77-77 with 1:17 to go.
In the first quarter, Brown opened the game with a 13-9 lead behind a pair of 3-pointers from Gaziano. The Bears trailed the Crusaders 17-16 at the end of the opening stanza.
After Holy Cross gained a 23-18 edge, Brown netted eight straight points including two steal-and-scores from Mehta to pull ahead 26-23. The Crusaders outscored the Bears 16-6 the rest of the quarter to take a 39-32 advantage at halftime.
For Holy Cross, Lauren Manis scored a team-high 20 points to lead four Crusaders in double figures. Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, Madalyn Smith, and Tricia Byrne netted 15, 13, and 12 points respectively.
Next, Brown opens play at the second annual Ocean State Tip-Off Tournament with a semifinal match-up at Providence College on Saturday, Dec. 2 at noon.
Brown defeated Holy Cross for the first time in program history. The Crusaders took the first five match-ups in the all-time series … Brown scored over 80 points for the second time this season … Shayna Mehta scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and 48th time in her career. She now has 926 career points. Her seven steals tied for the fifth most in a single game in school history … Taylor Will has scored in double figures in all six games this year and 26 times in her career … Justine Gaziano scored in double figures for the fifth time on the season and the 26th time in her career … Janie White scored in double figures for the second straight game and the 18th time in her career … With its 5-1 record, Brown has started the season at 5-1 through six games for the fifth time in program history and for the second time in the last three years.