March 3, 2006

Second Half Surge Lifts Princeton Past Bears, 72-55, In Race For Ivy Title

March 3, 2006

Princeton, NJ - The Brown women's basketball team (17-9, 11-2) saw its nine game win streak come to an end on Friday at Princeton (19-6, 10-2) as the Bears fell by a score of 72-55. A win would have secured at least a share of the Ivy League Title for the Bears but instead, they now hold just a half game lead over Dartmouth, which won in overtime at Columbia tonight, and Princeton. The Tigers outscored Brown 40-26 in the second half as the Bears shot a dismal 30.4 percent. Senior Sarah Hayes led Brown with 15 points and nine rebounds.

Brown rolled out to a 4-0 lead with two lay-ups in the early going and kept the lead until a Katy O'Brien three tied the game up at 11 all at the 14:35 mark. With 12:17 to go, freshman Catherine Schaper gave the Bears their biggest lead thus far with a three from the top of the circle but Princeton's Meagan Cowher came alive to get the Tigers to within three, 18-15, with 11:24 left in the half.

A three by Caitlin O'Neill gave Princeton its first lead of the night, 25-24, at the 6:18 mark. The Tigers extended that lead to five, 29-24, with 5:29 to go, stringing together an 11-2 drive.

With five free throws, Brown was able to tie the game up at 29 with 1:06 left until halftime but O'Brien struck for another three with 42 second left to send Princeton into the locker room with a three point lead, 32-29.

Hayes and senior Colleen Kelly combined to score 20 of the Bear's 29 first half points while Schaper added five and junior Lena McAfee added the other four. Cowher led Princeton, which shot 50 percent from the field, with eight points. Brown shot 45.8 percent but was held without a field goal for the final 6:39 of the half.

Junior Ashley King-Bischof made it a two point contest early in the second half with a three but the Tigers held the momentum with the home crowd behind them. Brown committed five early fouls before Princeton was charged with any as Hayes found herself with three fouls with 16:43 still left to play.

Princeton exploded for a 16-3 drive to take a 55-39 lead with 11:32 left. The Tigers registered two three's along with two three-point plays courtesy of Becky Brown during the span. With the exception of senior Jackie Vocell's three from the far corner, the Bears fell completely out of sink, committing several costly turnovers.

Following a timeout with 11:02 left in the game, Brown cut into the big Tiger lead with a three by McAfee but Princeton continued its inside assault on the out-sized Bears in the paint, ballooning the lead out to 20, 64-44, with 6:32 left.

Things didn't get any easier for Brown heading into the final stretch as it was never able to get back into an offensive flow, trailing by as many as 25.

Princeton dominated the boards by a 33-22 margin and outscored Brown 16-6 in the paint in the second half. Kelly finished with 11 points while the duo of Cowher and Brown combined for 38 points for the Tigers.

Brown is now in a must win situation tomorrow night when it plays Penn. A win will give the Bears at least a share of the 2006 Ivy crown, depending on the results of Dartmouth and Princeton's last two games of the season.

Should a three-way tie for the title occur, a single elimination playoff game will be held next Thursday, followed by the deciding game next Saturday.