PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior forward Erika Steeves scored a career-high 38 points – the second-highest single-game total in school history – to lead Brown University women's basketball to a 100-79 win over Johnson & Wales University in an Ocean State match-up on Friday afternoon at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
In their non-conference finale, the Bears (12-1) outscored the visiting Wildcats (6-5), 34-14 in the second quarter en route to their 10th straight win – the program's first double-digit winning streak since a school record 13-game winning streak in the 1992-93 season. Brown is now off to its best start in school history through 13 games.
"I'm grateful to Johnson & Wales for playing us in this game. With the storm, it cancelled out the fact that we were supposed to have a gym full of children, which would have made it more exciting for everyone," Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. "Some good things happened on offense, but we were sluggish to be honest, and defensively this is not how we need to play for Ivies."
Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) came within two points of tying the school record with her 38-point effort. She scored over 30 points for the second time this season and set career highs for field goals made (14-of-18) and 3-pointers made (8-of-10). She added six rebounds and three assists.
Freshman guard McKenna Dale (Storrs, Conn.) netted a career-best 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, hitting 4-of-8 shots from behind the arc. She scored in double figures for the first time as a collegiate player and chipped in four rebounds and four assists.
Senior forward Janie White (Clarksville, Tenn.) tallied a season-high 15 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks for her ninth game this year with four or more blocks. Sophomore guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) rounded out the Bears' double-figure scorers with 11 points and four rebounds.
Senior guard Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) and freshman guard Dominique Leonidas (Stone Mountain, Ga.) each dished out a career-high nine assists, while adding six and four rebounds respectively. Junior forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) and freshman center Jenna Benzinger (Williamstown, Mass.) grabbed six and five rebounds apiece.
"It's easier to play when you have really good players around you," Dale said. "I tried to seize the opportunity and do what I could. Hopefully this will motivate us to work even harder going into the Ivy games."
Brown scored 100 or more points for the second time this season and for the third time in program history. As a team, the Bears corralled 50 rebounds – their fifth game this year with 50 or more boards – and tied a school record with 29 assists – their sixth game this year with 20 or more assists. Brown hit 15-of-30 shots from 3-point distance for its fifth game this season with double-figure treys.
The Bears opened the game with a 16-4 lead behind eight points from Steeves and four points from White. A jumper and two free throws from White helped the Bears maintain a 20-18 edge at the end of the first quarter.
After JWU tied the score at 20-20, the Bears netted 10 straight points including 3-pointers from Reilly and Steeves to pull ahead 30-20. A pair of 3-pointers from Steeves, a triple from Dale, and 3-point play from Butler fueled a 13-0 run that gave the Bears a 45-25 margin with 2:55 to play in the half. Another trey from Steeves and layups from sophomore forward Kathleen Ryan (Clarence Center, N.Y.) and Gaziano allowed Brown to take a 54-32 advantage at the intermission.
Steeves and Dale each connected on a 3-pointer early in the third quarter as Brown took a 29-point lead – its largest of the game – at 66-37 with 5:04 to go in the period. An old-fashioned 3-point play from Gaziano helped Brown stay ahead at 74-51 heading to the fourth quarter.
Dale scored five straight points to give Brown a 79-55 edge early in the fourth quarter, and her 3-point play pushed the Bears ahead 96-73 with 2:03 left. Freshman forward Morgan Clausen (Algonquin, Ill.) and sophomore guard Randi Richardson (Flint, Mich.) each made two free throws to push the Bears' point total to 100.
For Johnson & Wales, Raquel Pederzani totaled 20 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds, Sarah Duryea netted 22 points, and Kristen Habbel and Bobbie Whitehead each added 10 points. The Wildcats connected on 13-of-30 (43.3 percent) of their shots from 3-point distance.
The Bears originally planned to host their Education Day as part of the game but cancelled the day's pre-game activities due to local school closures because of inclement weather.
Next, Brown opens Ivy League play at Yale on Friday, Jan. 12 at noon in a game set for broadcast on Eleven Sports, the Ivy League Network, and WPRV-AM 790.
Brown scored over 80 points for the seventh time this season and has netted 70 or more points in 12 of 13 games this year … The Bears' 12 non-conference wins are tied for the second-most in school history … Brown and JWU met for the first time … The Bears have posted a scorer with 20 or more points in all 13 games this year … Erika Steeves eclipsed 20 points for the second time this season and sixth time in her career. She has now scored in double figures 37 times in her career … Janie White scored in double figures for the fifth time this year and 21st time in her career … Justine Gaziano scored in double figures for the 11th time in 12 games this year and for the 32nd time in her career … Morgan Clausen netted her first collegiate points.
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, now available on Apple TV, Roku, and the ILN app for Android and Apple devices.
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.