Steeves, Mehta Lead Women’s Basketball Past Sacred Heart, 102-77

Steeves, Mehta Lead Women’s Basketball Past Sacred Heart, 102-77

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior forward Erika Steeves posted a double-double on a career-high 31 points and 13 rebounds, junior guard Shayna Mehta netted 25 points, and Brown University women's basketball set a program record for points against a Division I opponent in a 102-77 win over Sacred Heart University on Wednesday night at the Pizzitola Sports Center.

The Bears (8-1) faced a 32-13 deficit at the 8:29 mark of the second quarter before outscoring the visiting Pioneers (3-5), 89-45, over the remainder of the game to register over 100 points for the first time against a Division I team.

"We have a dangerous team with a lot of weapons," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "They really followed the game plan of getting offensive rebounds. We have a pretty potent team. They work hard, really share the ball, and they are just a great group to coach."

Brown has won six straight games and at 8-1 has matched its best start through nine games alongside the 1973-74 and 2015-16 teams.

Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) scored over 30 points for the first time in her career, setting career bests for field goals made (12-of-23) and 3-pointers made (6-of-12). She posted her third double-double of the season and the 12th of her career with her 13 boards alongside four assists, two blocks, and two steals.

"We have a lot of veterans on this team, and we have been relying on them all year," Steeves said. "We just needed to trust in our style of play, and it worked out for us. Today, my teammates did a great job of finding me. I give all the credit to them."

Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) scored over 20 points for the third time this season and the 16th time in her career, netting her 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from 3-point distance. She has averaged 25.5 points per game at home this season and shot 53.7 percent from behind the arc in the Pizzitola Center.

Junior guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) notched her second double-double of the season on 19 points and 10 rebounds to go along with a career-high seven assists and three steals.

Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) finished with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor and 2-of-4 shooting from distance while senior forward Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) snagged a season-high 14 rebounds, including six offensive boards, with four blocks.

Junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) chipped in six rebounds and two blocks, and senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) dished out four assists with no turnovers.

Brown out-rebounded Sacred Heart, 56-32, grabbing 19 offensive rebounds to outscore the visitors 22-3 in second-chance points. After the first quarter, Brown outscored SHU, 89-50, and shot 53.2 percent from the field (33-of-62) and 56.0 percent from 3-point distance (14-of-25). Brown hit 15 triples in the game, coming within one trey of the program record set earlier this year.

Steeves, Mehta, Will, and Gaziano accounted for 92 of the Bears' 100 points in the game. In the second half, Brown held SHU to 30.3 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3-point distance.

A wing 3-pointer and second chance layup from Gaziano helped keep Brown within 11-9 at the 4:54 mark of the first quarter before SHU used an 11-0 run to pull ahead 22-9. Despite a jumper from Steeves and layup from Reilly, the Pioneers led 27-13 at the end of the first quarter. SHU's Erin Storck scored 16 points in the quarter.

Sacred Heart extended its lead to 32-13 with 8:29 to go in the second stanza, capping a 21-4 run. Brown responded with a 25-5 streak in a 5:09 span including 10 straight points in the final 1:36 of the burst.

Steeves hit a pair of 3-pointers and Gaziano canned a trey to help cut the Bears' deficit to 33-26. Later in the frame, Mehta netted back-to-back triples, and Steeves made a third consecutive 3-pointer to tie the score at 37-37 with 3:10 to play until the half. Brown gained a 38-37 edge before SHU took a 43-38 advantage into the locker room.

With SHU still leading 48-42, the Bears netted nine straight points, including six points from Mehta and a 3-point play from Steeves to pull ahead 51-48 with 7:17 to go in the third quarter. A Steeves 3-pointer and Gaziano baseline jumper gave the Bears a 57-50 edge at the 5:43 mark, capping a 15-2 streak. Steeves and Mehta each hit 3-pointers in the final five minutes of the stanza to push the hosts ahead 70-62 heading to the fourth quarter.

Brown outscored SHU 17-3 to open the fourth quarter to take an 87-65 lead with 6:38 to play. As part of a 20-3 run, Mehta scored 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers. Top-of-the-key triples from Will and Steeves and a 3-point play from Gaziano made the score 98-73 with 1:38 remaining. Sophomore center Haley Green (Salem, Va.) and freshman center Jenna Benzinger (Williamstown, Mass.) each scored baskets inside of the final minute to push the Bears over the century mark with sophomore center Lames ElGammal (Baldwin, N.Y.) assisting on Benzinger's bucket.

For Sacred Heart, Erin Storck led four players in double figures with 23 points. Tykera Carter (14), Jenna Silletti (11), and Candice Leatherwood (10) also scored in double figures.

Next, Brown plays at Colgate University on Sunday, Dec. 10 at noon (Patriot League Network) prior to breaking for finals. 

Game Notes:
Brown scored 100 points once before with 114 points against Division III Mount Ida on Nov. 19, 2015. The Bears' previous scoring record against a Division I opponent came with 98 points at Princeton on Jan. 13, 2017 … Steeves scored over 20 points for the first time this season and for the fifth time in her career. She grabbed 10 or more rebounds for the 15th time in her career … Shayna Mehta has averaged 28.7 points per game in her last three games at home. She now has 978 career points and 153 career made 3-pointers … Justine Gaziano has scored 21.0 points per game in three games in December … Brown has registered a 20-point scorer in all nine games this year. Two Bears have eclipsed 20 points in the same game twice this year … Brown improved to 6-3 all-time vs. Sacred Heart … Brown has scored over 70 points in eight games this season and over 80 points in three games.

Video of all Brown women's basketball home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network.

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.