Brown Women Earn Spot in the Inaugural Ivy League Tournament

Brown news release…

ITHACA, N.Y. – Sophomore guard Shayna Mehta scored 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting to lead Brown University women’s basketball to a 67-46 win over Cornell University at Newman Arena on Saturday night, earning the Bears a spot in the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.

The Bears (16-11, 7-7 Ivy) used a 16-2 run in the third quarter to turn a 27-25 lead into a 43-27 advantage with 3:40 to go in the frame en route to the win over the Big Red (16-11, 7-7 Ivy). Brown held Cornell to 10 points over a 21:07 span from the 8:40 mark of the second quarter to the 7:33 mark of the fourth.

As the No. 4 seed, Brown will play in the first semifinal of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament on Saturday, March 11 at 11:00 a.m. on ESPN3 against the conference’s No. 1 seed Penn. The Bears are the only team in the four-team field to not be selected as a top-four team in the Ivy preseason media poll.

“This is one of the best feelings that I have had as a coach,” Brown head coach Sarah Behn said. “To play with as much courage as we did both nights, and as young as we are to go out and win by wide margins – I could not be more proud.”

Mehta (San Francisco, Calif.) connected on a career-high 11 field goals while making 4-of-5 shots from 3-point distance. She eclipsed the 20-point plateau for the sixth time this season and for the 11th time in her career along with six rebounds.

Freshman guard Justine Gaziano (Natick, Mass.) netted 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting, and sophomore guard Taylor Will (Arlington Heights, Ill.) added 10 points.

Sophomore forward Erika Steeves (Montreal, Quebec) notched eight points and six rebounds while hitting 2-of-3 shots from beyond the arc, and sophomore forward Mary Butler (Bangor, Maine) tallied seven boards and four assists.

“I’m glad we made history for Brown tonight,” Behn said. “I knew what a daunting task it was because this conference – you can beat or lose to anyone. We did it, and I’m just so proud of our girls, our leadership, and our courage.”

Brown – a team with no seniors swept the season series from Cornell – a team that started five seniors in 25 games this year – for the first time since the 2010-11 season.  The Bears completed their first road sweep of Columbia and Cornell since the 2005-06 season.

The Bears hit 8-of-13 (61.5 percent) shots from 3-point territory and 24-of-46 (52.2 percent) from the field overall while holding the Big Red to 1-of-9 (9.1 percent) shooting from distance and 19-of-67 shooting (28.4 percent) from the field.

After Cornell opened the game with a 12-5 lead at the 4:29 mark of the first quarter, the Bears closed the opening stanza on an 11-4 run. Mehta scored seven points during the run, including a 3-pointer from the wing and two jumpers along the lane, to tie the score at 16-16 after one.

The Big Red went ahead 20-16 with 8:41 to go in the second quarter before the Bears held the hosts scoreless over the next 8:15. The Bears scored 10 unanswered points during that stretch to pull ahead 26-20 with Mehta and Gaziano starting the streak with back-to-back 3-pointers. The visitors then took a 27-23 edge into the break.

After Cornell sliced the margin to 27-25, Brown went on a 16-2 run to gain a 43-27 edge with 3:40 left in the third quarter. Mehta scored nine points, including a wing 3-pointer, during the run while Steeves converted on a 3-pointer from the top of the key and a hook shot.

The Bears brought a 46-30 edge into the fourth quarter after junior Megan Reilly (Norwood, N.J.) sank a 3-pointer before the shot clock buzzer with 38 seconds to go in the frame.

Brown used another 16-2 streak to capture a 59-32 advantage with 4:37 remaining and built their margin to as large as 30 points with 1:56 to go.

For Cornell, Nia Marshall scored 13 points, and Nicholle Aston grabbed 11 rebounds – eight offensive.